DR. LESLEY BROOKS | Greeley, CO
I want to break down these systemic barriers, creating easily accessible treatment services that make everyone feel seen and heard.
I’m a family medicine and an addiction medicine physician, and these two perspectives give me a unique view into the world of addiction treatment.
I come from a full-scope family medicine background, including everything from labor and delivery to pain to substance use. While every part of medicine is equally important, I saw addiction’s impact on Black, Brown, poor, and marginalized people and families. I thought I could make the biggest impact at the intersection of substance use, mental health, and marginalized communities. There are serious issues with how addiction and treatment are viewed in society and by the medical community. First, addiction is often treated as a lack of willpower, when in fact, it’s a chronic condition much like diabetes. Second, the same structural and systemic inequalities that exist in every other part of society are amplified in addiction and mental health treatment. Treatment can feel non-inclusive for communities experiencing vulnerabilities. People from the Black, Latinx and LGBTQIA+ communities face judgment and rejection or find treatment approaches that seem to be made for anyone but them. That’s something I’m advocating to change. I want to break down these systemic barriers, creating easily accessible treatment services that make everyone feel seen and heard. Without question, this is the work that gets me out of bed in the morning, that drives me to spend my days educating, advocating, and building towards change.