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Dr. Chakravarthy leads SafeRX to combat opioid epidemic

Bharath Chakravarthy, MD MPH
Bharath Chakravarthy, MD MPH

Dr. Chakravarthy is an emergency physician at UC Irvine Medical Center. He also serves as the Vice Chair of Research and Academic Affairs and Director of the MD/MPH program at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Dr. Chakravarthy received his BS in Molecular Biology from UC Berkley. He went on to do his MD training at Boston University where he developed his interest in emergency medicine due to the tremendous variety of experiences attainable in a single shift. He completed his residency training at the Icahn (Mount Sinai) School of Medicine where he learned from a socioeconomically diverse patient population. Dr. Chakravarthy developed his interest in population-based health as he received his MPH from UCLA. His interest in academic medicine stems from his enthusiasm for cross-disciplinary collaboration and passions for mentorship and teaching. In both 2008 and 2015, he was awarded the Michael Burns Emergency Medicine Teaching Faculty of the Year.

As the opioid epidemic grew to prominence, Dr. Chakravarthy began working with primary care, emergency, and specialty providers to spread opioid awareness and improve opioid prescription practices amongst healthcare professionals. Most recently, Dr. Chakravarthy led a project aimed at working with dentists in the community to practice safer opioid prescribing habits. He and his team are working to collect data on a county-wide scale to see how effective such an intervention might be. Dr. Chakravarthy emphasizes that the opioid issue is multifaceted and that solutions will need to be highly interdisciplinary to ensure the problem is addressed at its roots. Dr. Chakravarthy works with SafeRX OC, a collaborative project intended to promote safe, evidence-based prescription practices by allowing physicians to monitor drug prescriptions. Physicians can also see how their prescriptions rates stack up against those of their peers. Dr. Chakravarthy explained that overdoses with prescription medications account for twice as many deaths as illicit drugs do, a statistic that puts into perspective how far-reaching the effects of proper prescription practices can be.

Dr. Chakravarthy's future goals include improving the implementation of medical assistance treatment programs in Orange County. Such programs would offer patients with prescription opioids the support necessary to ensure their medication provides pain relief while minimizing the risk of long-term abuse. The hub-and-spoke model that Dr. Chakravarthy hopes to build includes several centers, or “hubs”, equipped for intensive treatments and expanded services that may be necessary at the initiation of an intervention. These hubs would be connected to “spokes” within the community that can provide on-going, general medical care. By creating a functional network of support, Dr. Chakravarthy hopes that patients suffering from addiction can find the resources necessary to live healthy lives.

Dr BC presents at opioid Hack a thon