2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Dr. Divya Venkat
“Everyone is human. The only thing we can do is make Pittsburgh better for everyone.”
DR. DIVYA VENKAT (31)
Co-Director, Center for Inclusion Health RIvER Clinic; Co-Director, Perinatal Hope Program, Allegheny Health Network
During her residency in internal medicine at Allegheny Health Network, Dr. Divya Venkat recalls seeing a patient from the Allegheny County Jail. Liver cancer had spread throughout his body.
“Every time I think of him, I know it could have been prevented,” she says. “He couldn’t advocate for himself.
“The things that stood out to me were how vulnerable people are when they enter health care, how vulnerable they are when they don’t have a voice to advocate for themselves.”
Giving a voice to marginalized populations motivated Venkat to establish the region’s first post-incarceration clinic, known as AHN Rethinking Incarceration and Empowering Recovery (RIvER), to help support the health and well-being of former inmates. She also co-directs Perinatal Hope, a pregnancy and substance use disorder program at AHN, and is active with Prevention Point Pittsburgh, a needle-exchange program, and a number of other drug-prevention and support programs.
“Everyone is human,” she says. “The only thing we can do is make Pittsburgh better for everyone.”