Medscape at 25: Recognizing Medicine's Rising Stars

Becky Lang

Disclosures

December 07, 2020

Ripal Shah, MD, MPH, is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, where she leads a program to ensure diversity and inclusion in mental health research. Her work providing psychiatric care in the wake of global catastrophes has garnered international recognition.

While she was in medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Ripal Shah, MD, MPH, focused on emergency medicine and disaster relief work overseas, from Haiti to Nepal to Japan.

But she realized that emotional wounds were often overlooked in the aftermath of a disaster. That spurred her to specialize in psychiatry instead.

"We are people's entry into healthcare sometimes," says Shah. "We're their entry gate into prevention and treatment."

During her residency, which she completed in 2018, she discovered that the Western medicine framework didn’t always fit when caring for underserved populations, such as people without homes or LGBTQ+ individuals.

Some would be reluctant to take medications she prescribed. But she found that "as soon as I started to make supplemental recommendations, like vitamin D, people would take their medications and supplements," she says.

Discussing complementary medicine opened doors with her patients that previously were shut, and Shah is now working on ways to incorporate evidence-based approaches to integrative medicine into the medical curriculum. "This is one way to improve access to care," she says.

Shah is currently a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, where she leads a program to ensure diversity and inclusion in mental health research.

One bright spot of the COVID-19 pandemic is that access to care has increased for her patients, virtually. Shah says even those living on the margins can show up for their appointment when it's a phone or video call away.

"This is the wave of the future in psychiatry," Shah says. "Now it's okay if you're in your car or 4 hours away. You can still make your appointment."

As part of Medscape's celebration of our 25th anniversary this year, we're recognizing 25 young physicians who are rising stars in medicine, poised to become future leaders of their fields. View the full list here.

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