Behavioral Health Group (BHG), the largest network of Joint Commission-accredited outpatient opioid treatment and recovery centers in the US, today announced the creation of its new Advisory Board, with Vivek Murthy, MD, and Leana Wen, MD, as its inaugural members. The Board will provide counsel and serve as a strategic resource for BHG as the company works to expand its best-in-class opioid treatment services and build relationships with policy leaders, payors, providers and key stakeholders.
“Quality and innovation in addiction treatment are two of BHG’s key values, which is why I’m pleased to welcome two of our country’s most distinguished public health leaders, Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Leana Wen, to our new Advisory board,” said Jay Higham, president and CEO of BHG. “They provide a strong foundation to our growing Board, which will include a diverse set of stakeholders in medicine, policy and public health who share BHG’s dedication to solving the national opioid crisis.”
The Board, for which BHG is still actively recruiting, is chaired by Dr. Murthy and will comprise health care and policy leaders across the political spectrum with experience in advancing evidence-based substance use disorder treatment. In addition to lending their knowledge, expertise and time to support the company’s growth, Board members will provide counsel on the policy and procedures needed to expand the substance use disorder treatment model to include appropriate service delivery for co-occurring mental health disorders, polysubstance abuse and other behavioral cross addictions.
“Ending the opioid epidemic has been a long-standing priority for me. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to worsen the opioid crisis, undoing our country’s progress in stemming opioid deaths and putting more lives at risk,” said Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, former Surgeon General of the United States and chair of BHG’s Advisory Board. “I am impressed with BHG’s patient-centered, comprehensive approach to opioid treatment, and I’m eager to work with them and fellow advisors to ensure people struggling with opioid use disorders get the care they need.”
Dr. Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States from December 2014 to April 2017. He was the nation’s first Surgeon General to recognize addiction as a chronic illness and issued the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health called “Facing Addiction in America.” Before releasing the report, he issued a letter to 2.3 million health care professionals, urging them to join a movement to address America’s opioid epidemic—the first time in the history of the office that a Surgeon General has issued a letter calling the medical profession to action. In 2009, Dr. Murthy founded Doctors for America, a national nonprofit focused on improving access to affordable and high-quality health care, and most recently, he authored a New York Times’ best-selling book, “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.”
“When it comes to treating opioid use disorder, we know what works—medication-assisted treatment combined with behavioral therapy and wraparound supports. BHG has proven to be a leader in this treatment approach, and I look forward to working with them to improve access to life-saving and life-changing treatment and to turn the tide on the devastating opioid crisis.” said Leana Wen, MD, MSc, FAAEM, emergency physician, public health professor at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and BHG Advisory Board member.
Dr. Wen obtained her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and studied health policy at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She served as Baltimore’s Health Commissioner from December 2014–October 2018, where she led the city’s opioid overdose prevention and response plan. The plan included street outreach teams to target individuals most at risk, a pilot of a stabilization center for addiction and mental health, and a “blanket prescription” of naloxone to 620,000 Baltimoreans that has saved over 3,000 lives in three years. In 2019, Dr. Wen was named one of Modern Healthcare’s Top 50 Physician-Executives and TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Dr. Wen is also the author of the book “When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests.”
Behavioral Health Group (BHG) is the largest network of Joint Commission-accredited outpatient opioid treatment and recovery centers in the U.S., delivering comprehensive, personalized evidence-based medical and behavioral therapies for individuals with opioid use disorder. With 117 locations in twenty-four states, BHG has more than 1,900 employees who serve more than 42,000 patients. To learn more, visit bhgrecovery.com.