WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Medical Association (AMA) presented Rahul Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., FACP, with the AMA Award for Outstanding Government Service. The first physician to serve as Director of National Drug Control Policy and lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Dr. Gupta is the senior most drug policy advisor to President Biden.

The AMA strongly supports Dr. Gupta’s work to emphasize evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and embrace harm reduction approaches, such as broad distribution of naloxone and syringe service programs, as essential tools to keep people safe and advance them toward treatment. His compassionate voice was instrumental in the recent enactment of legislation that allows all physicians who are registered to prescribe controlled substances to prescribe medications to treat opioid use disorder. Under Dr. Gupta’s leadership, President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy rightly emphasizes substance use disorders as a treatable illness and focuses on both treatment and harm reduction, using evidence-based approaches.  

“As the first physician to lead ONDCP, the AMA appreciates Dr. Gupta’s deep understanding of the causes and tragic outcomes of the overdose epidemic, and greatly supports his patient-centered approach to ending it, emphasizing treatment and harm reduction in alignment with AMA advocacy,” said AMA Board Chair Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, M.D. “In a challenging job at an extremely difficult moment, Dr. Gupta is doing the right things on policy because he’s personally seen them work on a clinical level. It is an honor to present Dr. Gupta with the AMA Award for Outstanding Government Service.”   

An X-waivered and board-certified internal medicine physician, Dr. Gupta has been practicing primary care for more than 25 years, and has served in private practice and public health in towns as small as 1,900 residents and cities as large as 25 million residents. He previously served as a local public health official and as the West Virginia Health Commissioner under two governors, where he brought together public health, law enforcement, health care, faith-based leaders, and business partners to solve public health challenges in novel ways.   

At age 21, he completed medical school at the University of Delhi followed by subspecialty training in pulmonary medicine. He earned his Master of Public Health from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and global Master of Business Administration from the London School of Business and Finance. Dr. Gupta still takes the time to see patients in charity care settings. 

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The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.