People of the U: Dr. Saurabh BhardwajPublished on Wednesday, January 8, 2020By: Kate RoyalsDr. Saurabh Bhardwaj saw a lot of addiction – including opioids, alcohol and tobacco – during his medical residency at the University of Pittsburgh after graduating from medical school in India. He became very interested in treating those patients – and in particular, treating them with compassion.“It was a good way to provide a public service. These patients are in such dire need and minimal to no help is available for a lot of them,” Bhardwaj, assistant professor of psychiatry, said.He points to a statistic from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office that in the United States, only about 11 percent of patients who are diagnosed with an addiction get any form of treatment.“This is usually because of the stigma (associated with addiction) and lack of resources,” he said. Bhardwaj’s passion led him to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in August of 2018 to be medical director of its new addiction clinic, which is open four days a week at the Jackson Medical Mall. There, he works as an outpatient psychiatrist for patients with addiction – in addition to seeing general patients, teaching residents and medical students and doing some research the rest of the time.“Half of my work is running the addiction clinic which we do in collaboration with the psychology department. We provide comprehensive addiction services, which includes diagnostic testing and treatment, including medication-assisted treatment and contingency management based treatment,” or treatment that involves using incentives, he explained. “We try to provide evidence-based care and match the standards of care that are going on elsewhere.”Before the new clinic, UMMC’s addiction services were limited to mostly psychosocial individual therapy.“Now, we treat a broad scope of addictions – alcohol, methamphetamine, opioids” in new ways, he said.When Bhardwaj is not seeing patients, teaching or doing research, he can be found spending time with family, watching Formula 1 auto racing or, as a self-described “avid amateur astronomer,” peering through his telescope at nebulae, star clusters and planets. ParkerDr. Jeff Parker, director of the clinic and professor of psychiatry, said he and patients have noticed the care and compassion Bhardwaj shows in his work.“Dr. Bhardwaj approaches each patient with compassion and individually tailors their treatment. I frequently hear spontaneous comments from patients about how nice he is and how much he’s helped them,” Parker said.Every institution is rich with personal stories. We want to know ours.Do you know a student, staff, volunteer or faculty member at the University of Mississippi Medical Center whose story would make an interesting feature or deserves to be recognized?Know someone who you think more people should know about because of his or her commitment to his or her job and/or the people he or she works with or for? Who has a fascinating hobby? Who participates in a remarkable group? Who has accomplished something amazing?We want to learn more about each individual who makes up our extraordinary UMMC Family, and we want to share what makes each person unique and special in the People of the U section of our dynamic new UMMC Intranet.To nominate someone to be considered for a People of the U feature, just complete and submit this short form. If that person is picked for a feature, a member of the Communications and Marketing staff will contact him or her to learn more about his or her personal story.Soon, the rest of the Medical Center will know why your nominee is an outstanding reminder of what makes this place so special – the People of the U.