Why S.Monty Ghosh is a 2021 Top 40 Under 40: Dr. Monty Ghosh is changing our social and health systems to reduce the inequities harming marginalized populations.
Early in his career, Dr. Monty Ghosh asked a physician-mentor for advice on global health work. The response: “There’s a need here. Why are you looking elsewhere?”
Today, Ghosh specializes in caring for people experiencing homelessness and addiction — providing medical care through the Calgary Drop-In Centre, The Alex Community Health Centre, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Adult Addiction Services and hospitals. He also leads research, developing national and provincial policies, creating programs and advocating for patients. Over four years, he has attracted $3 million in grant funding as a principal investigator, while projects he has been involved in as a co-lead and collaborator have attracted $6 million and $1 million in funding, respectively.
Ghosh, who was recently named deputy editor of Harvard Public Health Review, believes physicians must address the social determinants of health when caring for patients. “If someone doesn’t have housing or food security, there’s no way they can focus on their health,” he says. His motto “innovation for equity,” often leads him to try out novel approaches. One example is a program Ghosh created in 2017, now backed by funding from the City of Calgary, in which people with lived experience of addiction and homelessness help others navigate the health system.
In 2020, he was part of a team that helped lead the creation of isolation facilities for people experiencing homelessness and was named co-chair of two task forces, including AHS’s Provincial Shelter Outbreak Task Force. He designed a national virtual supervised consumption service where people using substances can call a hotline for supervision, and he co-founded Alberta’s first comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment program to help clients detox at home and get access to addiction treatment. “It is my moral responsibility to advocate for all those who don’t have my privilege and reduce barriers they may face to access our system,” he says.
“I would like to thank my parents; my maternal aunt and uncle (my second set of parents); mentors Dr. Mike Trew, Dr. Martin Labrie, Dianne Dyer; close collaborators and friends Dr. Rob Tanguay, Natalie Noble, Dr. Kerri Treherne, Dr. Van Nguyan, Dr. Lydia Vezina, Dr. Richelle Schindler, Dr. Simon Colgan, Dr. Francesco Mosaico, Dr. Mike Mulholland, Dr. Thara Kumar. Michael Beech and Robyn Mills; and close colleagues and NORS co-founders Kim Ritchie, Rebecca Morris Miller, Gord Casey, Oona Krieg. Dr. Val Taylor, Jeffrey Danielson, Dr. Stephanie Vanderberg, Ty Eggenberger, Dr. Christine Gibson, Sarah Rankin, Dr. Tito Daodu, Patrycja Vaid, Dr. Kate Bisby, and Drs. Andrew Bond and Jeff Turnbull.” – S.Monty Ghosh