Asim Shah, M.D., has been appointed as the inaugural vice chair for Community Psychiatry in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Shah is currently chief of psychiatry for Ben Taub Hospital/Harris Health System, and the director of Community Behavioral Health Program for Harris Health System. His service is the largest outpatient mental health provider in Harris County, with over 100,000 visits a year. He is also the director of Mood Disorder Research Program at Ben Taub and the executive director of Psychotherapy Services for Ben Taub. He is a professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Community and Family Medicine.
Under Dr. Shah’s leadership, behavioral health services at Ben Taub Hospital/Harris Health System have been significantly expanded and strengthened. The volumes at the dedicated psychiatric ER have increased from 4,000 in 2013 to now about 10,000 visits. Ben Taub hospital has a 20-bed inpatient psychiatric unit that discharges about 1,000 patients a year with the lowest readmission rate in the area. It also has a med psych unit with over 1,500 psychiatric consults a year. DSRIP funding during 2013 enabled Dr. Shah to expand mental health services across Harris County, which currently stands at 20 affiliated clinics. The psychiatry service at Harris Health has 44 psychiatrists, 5 psychologists and 20 therapists working in the department.
All three academic missions have benefitted from Dr. Shah’s exceptional administrative skills. For example, the Ben Taub Mood Disorder Research Program has completed over 15 studies and is currently enrolling for five. Harris Health also supports approximately 19 stipends for learners through GME and two psychology fellow stipends in addition.
Dr. Shah has been called upon to make numerous media presentations to national and international radio/TV/newspapers on a wide range of clinical and public health topics. He has received multiple awards for clinical care and teaching, including one for Teaching in 2012 and second for Educational Leadership in 2014. He won the faculty of the year award in 2013 from Baylor’s Psychiatric residency program, and in 2014 from Baylor’s Psychology Internship Program. He also received the Rising Star Clinician Award from Baylor in 2014 and was named by Houstonia magazine in their Top Doctors list for Houston in 2013, 2014 and 2015. His current research focuses on pharmacological approaches to treatment resistant depression.
In his new role, Dr. Shah will assist and advise the chair in the further development of Community Psychiatry as he continues to perform his current duties at Ben Taub/Harris Health System. He will remain responsible for overseeing the integration and functioning of this large service and the point person for the department’s commitment to the underserved population.