About Us

Itai Danovitch, MD, MBA, FAPA, DFASAM

Candidate for Director-at-Large

Biography and Statement

Itai Danovitch, MD, MBA, FAPA, DFASAM

1. How would your election would benefit ASAM and the field of Addiction Medicine?

If elected, I would bring to ASAM my unequivocal passion for our organization’s mission and values, as well as my experience navigating the practical challenges we face—improving reimbursement for addiction services, enhancing addiction education across medical training, supporting integration of research findings and best practices, and managing the financial and regulatory barriers that make it difficult for our patients to get the care they deserve.

Having served as president of one of our largest state chapters, I recognize that we need to cultivate vibrant state chapters that attract and develop physician leaders, effectively advocate to reform state level addiction policy, and serve as regional resources of addiction expertise.

Simultaneously, we need a thriving national organization that can leverage the strengths of our chapters, align common initiatives across our enterprise, leverage relationships with key national organizations to reform federal drug policy, effectively pressure health plans to appropriately recognize and reimburse evidence-based addiction services, and set the standard for what it means to deliver outstanding addiction care.

This is an incredible time for ASAM, as we are in a time of unprecedented change in health care and attention to the impact of addiction. I aim to keep us focused on our mission, to draw on my personal experience in patient care, education, and research, and to ensure that we listen to and respond to the ideas and needs of our members.

2. What are your greatest contributions to ASAM and the field of Addiction Medicine?

When I consider ‘contributions to the field,’ my thoughts begin and end with caring for patients. That being said, I have always sought opportunities to impact the “system of care” for addiction, and along those lines, I’ve had the privilege to serve in several roles that extend beyond the clinical arena.

As president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine, I worked to promote access to quality treatment of substance use disorders, to deepen our associations educational offerings, to emphasize prevention over incarceration, and to amplify the voice of patients and physicians in recovery. For specific examples, I would urge you to check out the CSAM website to look at the Scorecard Initiative (https://www.csam-asam.org/new-consumer-guide-and-scorecard-rates-covered-california-health-plans-coverage-addiction-treatment), as well as our new Committee on Integration and Access to Systems of Care (https://www.csam-asam.org/committees-list#1).

In 2016, I was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve as a physician expert on substance use disorders for the California Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), which has oversight responsibility for approximately one-third of public mental health expenditures in California. Over the past two years I have worked through the commission to implement strategies to promote quality treatment, to support recovery and resiliency, to eliminate disparities, and to improve outcomes for individuals living with addiction and mental health problems.

Finally, my first job was as associate director of an addiction psychiatry fellowship program. While my educational endeavors have evolved since that time, to this day, when I meet the residents and fellows that graduated from that program and hear and see about their contributions to our field, I feel gratitude and pride for the role I played in their careers.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Danovitch is the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

He earned his bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley, and his medical doctorate from UCLA. He completed psychiatry residency at Columbia, an addiction psychiatry fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and a Master of Business Administration at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Prior to his current role he served as Director of Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at Cedars-Sinai, where he was recognized with the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Danovitch’s research interests are focused on substance use disorders, as well as the integration of medical and mental health services. He is the author of over 50 original articles and book chapters. He was co-editor of the 2012 Psychiatric Clinics of North America special edition on addiction.

Dr. Danovitch is a Past President of the California Society of Addiction Medicine and has served on numerous committees over the past ten years, including Public Policy, Communications, Education, and Integration and Access to Systems of Care. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. In 2016 he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve as a Commissioner on the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three kids.