The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of behavioral health, senior housing, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care. To see this year’s Future Leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
Arpan Parikh, chief clinical officer of SOL Mental Health, has been named a 2023 Future Leader by Behavioral Health Business.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for behavioral health patients, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Parikh sat down with BHB to talk about his passion for psychiatry, overcoming persistent stigmas in behavioral health care and the “ flight to quality” that will define the industry in years to come.
BHB: What drew you to the behavioral health industry?
Parikh: I grew up around the behavioral health industry. My dad is a psychiatrist, and I was always interested in and intrigued by his work.
While I went into medical school with an open mind, as I progressed through my 3rd year and completed my clinical rotations, it became evident that psychiatry was the specialty for me. While I loved my pediatrics rotation (and was very close to choosing this as a specialty), the deal was clinched as soon as I completed my psychiatry rotation.
The combination of being able to sit down and spend real time with my patients to get to know them, create longitudinal treatment relationships with them, and work in a space both impacted by severe stigma and with significant (in my opinion) white space when it comes to scientific advancement, are what excited (and continue to excite) me about this field.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned since starting to work in this industry is that it’s about the patients and clinicians, always. Everything we do and build is in service of the care clinicians deliver to our patients, and if or when we stray from these two constituents, we are straying from our mission and our purpose.
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of behavioral health care, what would it be, and why?
If I had a magic wand, I’d eliminate the stigma that continues to persist when it comes to mental health in the world of medicine. While the stigma has no doubt continued to improve over the last 5 to 10 years, it is still very real and continues to impact millions of Americans daily.
Nearly every party implicated in the health care system – non-mental health clinicians, payers, and regulators – continues to perpetuate, either intentionally or unintentionally, patterns of behavior and policies that create barriers to Americans seeking out and accessing care for psychiatric disease.
What do you foresee as being different about the behavioral health industry looking ahead to 2024?
Looking ahead to 2024, I predict that there will be a flight to quality. The shifting macroeconomic environment and capital markets mean that it will be more sustainable care delivery models with a focus on outcomes that continue to attract the attention and investment necessary to scale.
While we may see a smaller number of new entrants in the field, we’ll see that those who are able to launch, build, and/or scale will be of higher quality than we’ve seen, in aggregate, over the last 3 to 5 years.
In a word, how would you describe the future of behavioral health care?
If you could give advice to yourself looking back to your first day in the industry, what would it be and why?
If I count my first day in the industry as my first day as a resident physician training in psychiatry, my advice would have been to be more intentional, earlier on, about learning the non-clinical side of medicine. It took me 7 years, from that point (including 2 years getting a full-time MBA at Wharton) to achieve this goal, and I wonder what impact I could have had if I was more intentional about understanding the health care system at large (or better yet, if this had been part of my training in both medical school and residency).
To learn more about the Future Leaders program, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.