Research Fellow and Board Member: Dr. Shradha-Sonia Chhabria

Sunnamedhradha is a graduate of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.  She completed her B.S. in International Health at
Georgetown University in 2016, where she completed her senior research
performing GIS mapping of adolescent pregnancies at the Dodowa Health Research
Centre in Southern Ghana. During medical school, she also received her M.P.H.
from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2021, where she studied in
the Department of Global Health and Population and completed concentrations in
Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention &Nutrition and Global Health. She completed
her practicum with the Center for Global Non-Communicable Diseases at RTI
International, working on projects related to the economic costs of obesity in low-
and middle-income countries. Her research interests and experiences are highly
diverse and increasingly focus on obesity and related non-communicable diseases
across the lifespan, at the individual patient and global public health levels. Shradha
plans to pursue training in Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at Case Western University with the goal of becoming an Obesity Medicine physician for children, adolescents and adults who is able to use epidemiology and public health research methodologies to drive
culturally-relevant social and systemic change.

What is the relationship between traditional practices and medicine?

” I took a gap year before beginning medical school and spent six months living in an ashram in Haryana, India, learning and benefitting from Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, and other traditional lifestyle and wellness practices, including yoga, pranayama (various breathing and meditation techniques) and shatkarmas (cleansing techniques) that have dramatically improved my physical and mental health, and have empowered me tremendously.

My experience of transforming my own health through traditional practices, and then of continuing these practices as a medical student in the US, has taught me how potent traditional practices can be in improving health, but also how inextricable they are from their respective cultures. This realization has made me far more passionate about discovering how medical and health care professionals everywhere can truly partner with communities to improve health, rather than imposing Western or other foreign ideals upon communities.”

– Shradha Chhabria

How do you believe research in traditional arts and traditional health practices can improve medical care?

“My vision of the combination of the traditional arts and, more broadly, traditional cultures, with medicine is that of professionals sharing power and privilege to mobilize and support communities in utilizing their traditional culture to express public health concerns, develop integrative community-based solutions to issues that arise, and be the bastions of health equity. Indigenous communities worldwide face threats to their undervalued traditional cultures and ways of life, and I think as emerging health professionals, it is out duty to ensure that we do not propagate another wave of neocolonialism that sacrifices communities’ identities in the quest to achieve international goals of health and development. “

– Shradha Chhabria

Research Project

Exploring the differences in Ayurveda as integrative and alternative medicine: A
Systematic Review

The purpose of this article is to examine the ways in which Ayurveda is used globally as
complementary and integrative medicine, and the differences between these two in the 21 st century. We will examine the definitions of complementary vs integrative medicine, and elucidate how Ayurveda is taught, practiced and utilized globally within these categories in order to better understand the future of traditional forms of healing as complementary and integrative medicine in various settings. This will be accomplished through a systematic review of existing literature describing the role of Ayurveda as complementary and/or integrative medicine globally.