Dr. Starks’ interests lie in understanding the cultural and social effects of mental health conditions on patients, families and communities. He has designed programs that integrate mental health practice into home-based care, long-term care and primary care practice settings to ensure individuals with mental health and substance use disorders receive compassionate and effective psychiatric care and treatment.
He serves the University of Houston College of Medicine with roles in education, curriculum development and community partnerships. He has a passion for mental health advocacy and serving individuals and communities that have been marginalized and made vulnerable by social and institutional factors and has completed formal training in health equity. During his fellowship year in the 116th Congress he worked on the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), a drug pricing negotiation plan which passed the House in December 2019.
He completed his undergraduate medical education at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and was recognized with the dean’s award at commencement. He completed postgraduate psychiatry training at Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals Residency Program and a clinical fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Medical Center. He is a diplomate of the American Board and Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. with certifications in the specialty of psychiatry and the subspecialty of geriatric psychiatry. He is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
Why I Applied to be a Fellow
"I have become increasingly attuned to healthcare policy's profound influence on the older adults, families and communities I serve. Modern-day medical care often overlooks the interplay between clinical practice and policy. My education, training and experiences as a geriatric psychiatrist have offered a “frame of practice” i.e. they have shown me how to provide medical care within structured systems of care. However, these opportunities have been unable to offer a broader understanding of these systems and, most importantly, the skills necessary to improve them. The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program will allow me to reshape health policies that address the challenges our elderly face in receiving comprehensive mental health care – obstacles that include barriers to access, inequities in treatment and inadequate community resources. Through engagement in this program, I hope to shift my efforts at advocacy for geriatric mental health & wellness from guiding individuals to empowering communities."
U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi