Law student Dr. Praveen Saran’s Residency in Preventive Medicine and Public Health has taken him to the front lines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working at the Southern Nevada Health District, Dr. Saran’s group was tasked with the responsibilities of providing guidance to the general public, screening and testing patients at the Health District, and working with other organizations to provide screening and testing for the homeless population in Las Vegas.
Dr. Saran and colleagues quickly established an outdoor “MASH Clinic” at the Health District that saw patients from all parts of Las Vegas. They also visited shelters for the homeless in the city, and ensured that when needed, residents were placed in quarantine or isolation units or admitted to the hospital.
There also was a need to establish a safe place for COVID-19 patients who could be discharged from hospital care but who still needed to be isolated before returning to their homes. As Medical Director of Crossroads of Southern Nevada, a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, Dr. Saran helped set up a 33-bed isolation unit for the patients, thereby freeing up needed beds in the hospitals while preventing further spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Dr. Saran also has dealt directly with the collateral effects of COVID-19. With the huge disruption of normal life, highest-in-the-country high unemployment, and serious financial stress, substance abuse and relapse rates have skyrocketed. As one of the few board-certified addiction medicine specialists in a major metropolitan area, Dr. Saran’s services have been needed more than ever.