Alumni Profile: Asim Rizvi M.D. ’00
Asim Rizvi, MD ’00 is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Orbit Health Telepsychiatry. His practice combines supportive therapy, diagnosis, and medication management. From his home office in Pennsylvania, he works with patients all over the country, with a particular emphasis on under-resourced communities in California.
Before joining Orbit Health, Rizvi was a staff psychiatrist with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, working out of the Rancho Cucamonga field office. There, he was integral in building the telepsychiatry division. He vividly recalls the launch of FaceTime in 2013 and knowing that it would change the world, shaping the future of care and interaction. Fast forward to 2020 with the world shifting to online communications, Dr. Rizvi was well prepared having already been treating patients in this manner for several years.
Orbit Health offers telepsychiatry services for medical practices, schools, employers, lawyers, correctional facilities, and other institutions across the State of California, and believes that access to care should extend across all 50 states. Dr. Rizvi works with clients from Kaiser Oakland all the way to the Mexico border. One of his largest client bases is out of the Imperial County Behavioral Health Services in El Centro, Calif., a remote location with limited access to local mental healthcare. This community in particular has struggled with substance abuse issues and the associated mental health challenges.
Rizvi also supports residential juvenile treatment facilities that serve as turning points for children and youth at risk of entering the prison system. One of the largest hurdles people face in seeking treatment. “So many cultures have stigma around mental health,” Dr. Rizvi says. “Part of my job is to educate against that shame. Why should you show your brain any less love than the rest of your body?”
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has heightened demand for mental healthcare. Stressors are real and have permeated every corner of the world as we work to balance professional, school, and family commitments, all while ensuring public safety. Dr. Rizvi treats children and adolescents aged 4 to 18 and has seen cases that range from moderate zoom fatigue, to feelings of isolation and suicidal thoughts. “The name of the game is ‘function,’” he says. “We all experience anxiety, but when your ability to function is compromised, that’s when you should ask for help.”
But the pandemic has also opened more doors for practices such as his and allowed more people to receive treatment. “This model will only increase access to care,” he says. “People now understand what a viable option [telepsychiatry] is, and we will see how many people return to in-person sessions.”
Rizvi counts Javier Valera (World Languages) and Mark Thompson (History) among his most influential teachers. As a senior, he received the E.T. Price Award in History and was a strong asset on the Varsity Football team. After graduating from Webb, he studied Communications at the University of Southern California and completed his Doctor of Medicine at Shifa College of Medicine in Islamabad, Pakistan. He lives outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania with his two daughters.