Dr. Rupi Brar works with the Portland Health Society in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, providing primary care to a population with complex addictions and mental health conditions. Certified in Addictions Medicine, she also provides consults at both St Paul’s and Surrey Memorial Hospitals.
Having joined the BCCFP Board in 2015, Dr. Brar is helping to ensure that the voice of family physicians in their first five years of practice is heard at the Board, as well as working to develop more programs targeted at this segment of membership.
In the Downtown Eastside, she works closely with people affected by the opioid overdose crisis alongside an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, peer support workers and administrative staff.
She also shares her expertise with family physicians. If you have called the Rapid Access to Consultative Medicine (RACE) line for advice in managing a patient with substance use, you may have spoken with Dr. Brar.
She explains that many family physicians calling the RACE line want to know what they can do to help patients who have become dependent on prescription opioids following long-term use for chronic pain.
“I’m continually impressed by the incredibly caring family physicians across British Columbia who call in to learn about Suboxone or other means to help their patients suffering from use disorders,” Dr. Brar says.
Addiction medicine resources for family physicians
Dr. Brar notes that addictions medicine research has come a long way, and there are now excellent evidence-based treatments that can be utilized in family physicians’ offices. Examples are Suboxone for an opioid use disorder, or naltrexone for an alcohol use disorder. “The new BC Centre on Substance Use is also working very hard to develop clinical practice guidelines for physicians across the province,” she says.
For more information about managing patients in your own practice, please visit the essential resources page on our website.
First Five Years webinars
As a physician in her first five years of practice, Dr. Brar believes that the BCCFP can play an important role in supporting family physicians during this time of transition, particularly around practice management and resiliency. She is currently leading a committee to plan a series of first five years webinars that will start this June.