Research Director and Board Member: Dr. Rohini Bhatia


Rohini Bhatia started with Aseemkala as a fourth year student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and has constantly tried to overlay dance with her interests throughout her education. Rohini graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in Epidemiology as a student in the combined degree program. As an undergraduate, she enjoyed interview-based fieldwork, learning from community advocates in Leh, Ladakh about a tobacco cessation program for adolescents.

She has studied Bharatanatyam classical Indian dance since the age of seven at the Natya Kala Mandir School of Dance in Baltimore, Maryland under the guidance of Smt. Vatsala Srinivas. In college, she participated in the Rochester Bhangra Competitive Dance team, further expanding her interest in dance.

In 2013, she was a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, studying to understand perceptions towards tobacco use among females in Delhi. Here, she continued to take classes to further her training at the Abhinaya Centre for Dance.  Her interests extend to refugee and immigrant health rights through Physicians for Human Rights and research on radiation oncology for global health improvement. She is passionate about exploring the expression of dance as a form of narrative medicine. One of her pieces was Chinnamasta’s DNR order, where she explored the story of a patient choosing to end her life in the ICU. This piece was performed at the Fertile Ground Showcase in 2017 and was also performed in the MODArts Dance Collective’s Collective Thread Female Choreographers of Color Showcase in 2018. It continues to inspire medical communities in multiple conferences around shared decision making regarding end of life care. Rohini is clearly passionate about this issue, as she recently returned from Botswana where she worked on a project to understand delays to accessing and receiving cancer care. 

Rohini is a resident in Radiation Oncology at Johns Hopkins where she has started her career. She continues to help direct our fellows and our research to continue to use the arts to change the ways in which we observe patient needs and rights.