Harsh Trivedi, a physician who serves as president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt Health System, has long sought to help improve health in his community. 

Driven by a desire to “fundamentally impact people’s lives,” Trivedi gravitated toward classes on population health early in his advanced medical training. He wanted to have an impact not just on the patient in his office, but to improve the health and well-being of his entire community. He chose to specialize in child psychiatry as this was the field of medicine with the greatest shortage of physicians. 

“Making even a small difference in a child’s life can lead to a completely different trajectory for that individual over the course of a lifetime,” Trivedi said. “Our ability to impact social determinants of health can similarly change the trajectory of an entire community's health and well-being.” 

At Sheppard Pratt, an organization with more than 350 sites of service and thousands of employees, he’s focused on making health care more reliable and effective.

“We are a health system that has integrated deeply into the community, well beyond the walls of our hospitals,” Trivedi said. “We are advancing behavioral health, delivering innovative programs, and helping people live, work and thrive.” 

Trivedi sees his role on the AHA board as a continuation of that service, an opportunity to help hospitals and health systems navigate the opioid crisis, the nation’s rising suicide rate and numerous other behavioral health challenges facing the field.

“My hope, and my goal over my time on the AHA board, is to help hospitals across the country think about the right solutions for their communities in addressing the very real challenges that exist regarding behavioral health,” he said.

Because the solutions to these issues vary based on a community’s specific needs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, Trivedi said. 

“We can help member hospitals understand the needs in their communities, and then empower them to bring about the specific solutions for their communities,” he said.

The AHA’s resources already go a long way, he said.

“Advancing behavioral health involves a complex set of solutions,” Trivedi said. “The AHA can create a toolbox to assess what your community needs. It can create a change package to move the needle on issues your community is facing, and it can advocate for policy changes at the federal level to empower change.”

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