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Sunny Patel, M.D., M.P.H.

Senior Advisor for Children, Youth, and Families in the Office

Dr. Sunny Patel serves as Senior Advisor for Children, Youth, and Families in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Substance Use and Mental Health. He is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, who brings passion for building equitable public health systems.

Prior to SAMHSA, Dr. Patel was appointed by President Biden as a White House Fellow and served at the Department of Homeland Security where he worked on issues at the nexus of immigration and public health. He served as an advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, the Senior Response Official of the Unified Coordinating Group for Operation Allies Welcome, and the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families.

Dr. Patel has served on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and NYU Grossman School of Medicine. At NYU, he built a collaborative care model in pediatric hematology and oncology clinics, which provided critical foundation to expansion across pediatric subspecialty settings. He also launched a comprehensive mental health response for thousands of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and volunteered as a palliative care physician at Bellevue Hospital.

He has spearheaded health interventions for vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad, including in India, Thailand, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. He spent the past decade working with refugee populations and conducted forensic psychological examinations for asylum seekers in Boston and New York in collaboration with Physicians for Human Rights.

Dr. Patel completed specialty fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU and Bellevue Hospital. He trained in adult psychiatry at Cambridge Health Alliance and was a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School. He received his M.D. from the Mayo Clinic, an M.P.H. from Harvard, and graduated with college and departmental honors from UCLA.

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