Dr. Aurelio Etcheverry of Grand Junction’s Dino-Peds was voted “best pediatrician” in the valley for the past three years, yet Dr. Etcheverry remains servant-hearted and modest: “There are a lot of great doctors in the area taking care of kids. I feel very blessed and humbled to get that recognition.”
Aurelio grew up in Florida loving sports. As he went through his early medical training, he wondered if sports medicine would be a good career fit, but when he got to his residency in Children’s Hospital of Miami he realized he’d found his calling in pediatrics. “It’s a great way to live life—through the eyes of a child,” Dr. Etcheverry reflects.
It was in residency that Aurelio met his now wife, Lizette, who was working as a receptionist. After persistent pursuit, she agreed to go out with him and the couple married several years later. They decided to move to a place that reflected their values before starting a family and chose Grand Junction, though they didn’t have connections to the area. Thirty years later, they still happily call this valley home.
Upon arrival to Grand Junction, Dr. Etcheverry opened his private practice, Dino-Peds, and Lizette was his first hire. She’s worked faithfully alongside him for years, managing the innerworkings of the office where the practice’s simple model has remained mostly unchanged over the years, though it’s grown to include another provider, Dr. Tara Mercer, nurses, and an in-house allergy clinic. The practice has stayed intentionally small so as not to delude the strong relational nature and comprehensive care they aim to provide.
Good things come in small practices—“When you come to our office you always see the same doctor,” says Dr. Etcheverry, “and that continuity of care is important to some families. We get to know our parents and patients very well because of that and those relationships go a long way. Kids grow up fast and soon you’re taking care of their kids, which is an unexpected privilege.”
When the Etcheverrys expanded their family with the birth of their two daughters, who are four years apart, Dr. Etcheverry noticed the change being a dad made to his practice. “There was a totally different affinity…a compassion toward parents when their child gets sick or throws a tantrum. It totally makes you a better pediatrician, and gives you a deeper layer of understanding that you can’t get from reading a book…it’s just a different perspective.”
As he is treating children, he finds himself saying, “If this were my child…” and then filling in fitting recommendations. It’s not uncommon for Dr. Etcheverry to share his own parenting experiences and wisdom with other parents. “You’re here not just to talk about the child’s physical or mental well-being, but also their social well-being. It delves into complex matters involving divorced parents or families struggling to make ends meet. There is much more to being a pediatrician than listening to a baby’s heart or a toddler’s lungs.”
Since 1992, when Dr. Etcheverry moved to Colorado, he’s seen some changes in medicine, including the evolution of new and better vaccines to help protect children, the increase in accessibility of medical information online and the shift from paper charts to electronic record-keeping. He’s also witnessed an expansion in our community’s commitment to serve children who are underserved, not only those privileged enough to have insurance. Dr. Etcheverry is thankful for the maneuverability that has enabled these changes within his private practice, Dino-Peds. “Being a smaller practice, we’re not bogged down by the bureaucracy of the more corporate world, so we’re able to be efficient and see patients throughout the course of the day and year. When you need us you can pick up the phone and call us. We’re always available to our patients. And we do the best that we can to provide our patients with coverage all of the time.”
One of the largest areas of change over the years has come as a result of the cycles of expansion and contraction within the Grand Valley. Etcheverry explains, “Sometimes when this population flux has occurred, it’s been difficult to accommodate the community with the appropriate amount of health care providers. The smaller, private practices and primary care doctors have been engulfed by the larger medical entities.” However, these challenging shifts have not changed the heart of Dino-Peds. “We’re still private and are able to work freely. In that sense, I’m very happy and proud to say we’ve been able to survive all of the changes of the last few decades. We have been here—and will be here—for a while.”
Dino-Peds offers quality pediatric care with a wide range of services for infants to young adults. Providers at Dino-Peds have extensive knowledge and experience with children of all ages to ensure individualized, compassionate, and effective healthcare. You can reach Dino-Peds at 970-242-7060.