The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation honored Ritu Bhatnagar, MD, MPH, with the Superhero of Medicine Award during its Annual Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction in Madison on April 5. The Superhero of Medicine Award is presented annually to a physician nominated for having superpower-like attributes and using them to go above and beyond the call of their profession.
Doctor Bhatnagar is an addiction psychiatrist and medical codirector of the NewStart addiction service within UnityPoint Health-Meriter in Madison and is a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Psychiatry. She is an active member of the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine (WISAM), is the WISAM representative to the Council on Legislation for the Wisconsin Medical Society and is a member of the University of Wisconsin Opioid Treatment Task Force.
To support patients beyond clinical care, she has initiated and maintained a Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Group at NewStart over the last three years. She also volunteers for various organizations, including Safe Communities of Madison-Dane County, where she seeks to develop innovative ways to address the impact of substance use and mental health disorders.
Doctor Bhatnagar was nominated for the award by Nameeta Dookeran, MD, an addiction medicine colleague, who praised her efforts to “improve patient access to treatment and increase clinician engagement in addiction care beyond addiction specialty settings and across different health systems.” Doctor Dookeran also cited Dr. Bhatnagar’s leadership in developing and implementing a continuing medical education webinar series on evidence-based treatment of substance use disorders to empower primary care clinicians to treat substance use disorders—especially those providers in rural areas of Wisconsin.
“Doctor Bhatnagar has shown dedication to building treatment capacity and improving access to care,” said Dr. Dookeran. “She is not just a ‘hero,’ she is a tireless champion for the underserved and for capacity building in health care. I cannot think of a more outstanding member of our Wisconsin Medical Society to be nominated for this award.”