How Dr. Ashok Bharucha is Helping Underserved Communities Gain Access to Quality Health Care

Dr. Ashok Bharucha is an experienced psychiatrist and researcher based out of South Abington Township, Pennsylvania.

He is a graduate of the internationally renowned McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School and possesses additional specialty training in geriatric psychiatry from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

With over thirty years of clinical research experience, Dr. Bharucha’s treatment methods combine talk therapy (psychotherapy) with psychoactive medications (psychopharmacology). As a leader in his field, Dr. Bharucha has received multiple nominations for his clinical teaching and has been involved in several projects funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Science Foundation. Valuing open and collaborative dialogue, he works alongside patients to develop comprehensive treatment plans best suited to their personal needs.

  1. What is your current role?

I operate a private practice, Transformations: Adult and Geriatric Psychiatry, PC. My role is to establish a collaborative therapeutic relationship with individuals to treat a wide range of mental health conditions. My services include but are not limited to psychiatric consultation, medication management, psychotherapy, evaluation and treatment of late-life mental disorders and various forms of dementia.

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  1. What was the inspiration behind your career?

I spent almost twenty years as a part of an academic research community. While I enjoyed the academic arena, I also recognized the lack of accessible mental health care in the United States, especially in regions outside of metropolitan areas. This ultimately motivated me to establish my private practice to help underserved communities gain access to quality health care.

  1. What defines your way of treating patients?

I am a firm believer in talk therapy with a combination of psychoactive medications. I also think it is essential to conduct extensive research when selecting a psychiatrist. In my opinion, no physician-patient relationship should be established until both parties mutually agree to move forward. My intake process allows for open and collaborative dialogue, and it is a time where I will decide whether I am the appropriate person to aid the individual in his/her recovery. A physician-patient mismatch often leads to poor outcomes, so I take the necessary steps to avoid such situations.

  1. What keys to being productive can you share?

Everyone has their own system that works for them, but for me, adhering to a set schedule keeps me on track for the day. I typically start my morning with emails and meetings and the rest of the day is reserved for my patients. Once I am home, I do my best to recharge and focus on my personal obligations. It is important to set boundaries between your workspace and home life.

  1. Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

One of my long-term goals is to further expand my services. With so many underserved populations currently in the United States, I want to help make mental health care affordable and accessible. There is still a stigma associated with seeking professional help and I want to do whatever I can to eliminate this type of thinking.

  1. How do you measure success?

 I operate in a field where I need to understand my patients as whole persons. In order to help them, I need to develop a deep understanding of their family history as well as their past medical and psychiatric conditions. I measure success by the quality of lives my clients go on to live. My job is to develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on collaborative input and trust.

  1. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

That human beings are extremely complex. Never assume that you truly understand someone. Take the time to listen to their story and figure out what makes them who they are. With experience in clinical and academic settings, I do my best to bring my knowledge into my sessions and then work from there.

  1. What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

I think it is vital to have a clear approach. The medical field offers a wide range of opportunities, but it is also a very challenging and competitive space. There are many subspecialties within psychiatry, and even greater range of treatment approaches, so one must hone-in on what works best for them.

  1. What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I really enjoy the outdoors. When I am not working, I do my best to get outside as much as I can. It is a great way for me to clear my head. I find a brisk walk extremely therapeutic.

  1. What are a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend

 Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. This book provides a highly sophisticated account of a personal struggle with depression and its underlying causes. The former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Thomas Insel, has recently published a truly seminal book, Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health, that should be required reading in the field.

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