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Loosening the Grip of Addiction

Alumnus provides holistic care for people suffering from substance-use disorders
Kelly A. Jarrett, M.D.

Kelly A. Jarrett, M.D. ’10


uring his residency in family medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Kelly A. Jarrett, M.D. ’10, cared for patients struggling with addiction. He soon realized the difficulty of treating chronic disease without addressing substance-use disorders.

“I saw how disorganized these patients’ lives were and how they became guarded because they are constantly marginalized and stigmatized,” said Dr. Jarrett, who later completed a fellowship in addiction medicine. “I saw how substance use impacted their lives, and I wanted to make a difference.”

A consultant addiction medicine attending physician at NYC Health and Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx, an area that has one of the highest rates of opioid overdose in the country, Dr. Jarrett credits the Miller School with laying the groundwork for his career. As a student, he worked with underserved populations through the school’s Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service health fairs and free clinics. He also recalls enlightening discussions about public health policy in his courses.

Grateful for his experiences at the Miller School, Dr. Jarrett makes contributions at the annual fund level. He also appreciates lessons learned from those he considered role models, including Astrid Mack, Ph.D., former associate dean for minority affairs; professor emeritus Alex Mechaber, M.D.; and professor of medicine Pasquale Benedetto, M.D.

“I feel blessed with my life and career, and the Miller School played a big role in providing me with a great foundation,” said Dr. Jarrett. “I benefited from a scholarship at the University of Miami, and I wanted to pay it forward. I want current students to know that alumni have their backs, and we are thinking about their development as they mature as medical students.”

Dr. Jarrett, a high school science teacher before starting medical school, enjoys the opportunities he has each day to educate patients, medical students, residents, and colleagues about addiction.

“You have to meet patients with substance-use disorders where they are, connect with them, and treat them with dignity,” said Dr. Jarrett. “A large part of my job involves advocacy because there is significant stigma, even among health care workers, and I try to change not only patients’ lives, but also the attitudes of medical providers.”

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FALL 2021