Shradha Chhabria

Research Fellow 2018-2019

Sunnamedhradha is a second year medical student at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Her research interests are highly diverse. Shradha majored in International Health at Georgetown University. Her senior thesis focused on factors driving adolescent pregnancies in rural Southern Ghana utilizing GIS mapping and several in-depth interviews in the field at Dodowa Health Research Center.  She spent the last summer with Partners in Health in Rwinfwavu in Rwanda creating a formative research project on HIV-Diabetes comorbidities. She states, “I love being able to interact with and learn directly from individuals who are marginalized, and to use their stories and data to advocate for empowering changes in local and national health care and economic systems through health research.”.

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