Surendra Bir Adhikari, PhD, MedSoc, MA
Mental Health Administrator and Principal Investigator - Health Disparities and Equity, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Surendra Bir Adhikari is a Senior Administrator and Lead Health Equity Investigator with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS). He leads behavioral health and Tobacco Related Health Disparities translational research on diverse race/ethnicities and special populations, including refugees. One of his recent research papers was on mental health, trauma, and suicide among Bhutanese refugees in Ohio; which has been widely used nationally and internationally. As a translational effort, he coordinated technical assistance and culturally competent trainings, such as Mental Health First Aid and intergenerational conflict training supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). With SAMHSA’s encouragement, he also directed a community needs assessment study on the impact of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal on the behavioral health of Nepalis living in the United States.

Dr. Adhikari represents OhioMHAS in national health disparities networks, including the National Network on Eliminating Disparities. At the state level, among other health equity leadership engagements, he Co-Chairs the “Maternal Smoking and Other Substance Use” Action Workgroup of the statewide Ohio Collaborative on Preventing Infant Mortality. He is one of the members in New American Advisory Council, appointed by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners in Ohio. As a subject-matter expert on Asian and immigrant health, he has served on several national panels. He participated in a 2016 roundtable organized by the SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity by presenting, “Behavioral Health of Bhutanese Immigrants: Health Equity and Social Determinants Implications.” His research on the social determinants of mental health has generated multiple monographs including two papers on an environmental scan of publicly funded behavioral health housing in Ohio and a Chart Book on Mental Health Impairment. He is well published in areas of substance use and behavioral health issues among diverse race/ethnicities and special populations.

Dr. Adhikari brings along 21 years of national expertise and 15 years of international experience in public health and development in Asia and Africa. He served as a Development Economist and Socioeconomic Planner with the post-war rehabilitation international efforts of the United Nations Center for Human Settlements in Uganda. He has provided consultations to the Asian Development Bank, ILO, UNDP, UNICEF, USAID, and World Bank in Nepal. He was an invited keynote speaker in Shanghai, China in 2015 to mark the launch of a toolkit on Asian Youth Tobacco Control Advocacy.

A native of Nepal, Dr. Adhikari earned his PhD in medical sociology from the University of Akron.