Radha Dhingra

Master of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University ’19


Post-Baccalaureate Studies, University of Pennsylvania ’18
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur ‘15

When Radha Dhingra decided to register for post-baccalaureate courses at Penn, she did not imagine that one year later she would be enrolled in the prestigious Master of Public Health program at Johns Hopkins University. “I’m interested in the immunological aspects of asthma,” she says. “It’s still quite unexplored, and Hopkins has a great immunology program.” Radha’s professional interest in asthma dates back to her medical studies in India. She credits her coursework at Penn with giving her the confidence to apply to top schools and pursue her research into how and why asthma affects urban populations.

After completing her medical degree in India, Radha participated in clinical rotations in Boston, Washington, DC and Philadelphia. At Drexel University, Radha collaborated with a pulmonologist and co-authored research posters on asthma in the inner-city population of Philadelphia, rekindling her long-standing interest in the condition. Around the same time, a colleague introduced her to a Perelman School of Medicine physician who mentored Radha in preparing a manuscript. This experience gave Radha her first introduction to Penn: “I just had a feeling in my heart when I was here,” she recalls, “that this is where I would want to come back.” After a brief period of study leave in India, Radha decided to give Penn’s Post-Baccalaureate Studies program a try. It was a gamble, she admits: “I had never heard of post-bacc for general studies.”

The broad range of course offerings allowed Radha to take classes in public health to reaffirm her interest in that field, and also classes in environmental studies and biostatistics that give her an advantage in asthma research. “Having a Penn transcript helped me apply to top schools I might not have applied to otherwise,” she says, adding that recommendations from professors also played a key role in her acceptance to competitive programs. She urges prospective post-baccalaureate students to look beyond academic requirements and take advantage of the variety of course offerings. “Come with an open mind,” she advises. “The whole university is open to you. Be ready to experiment and explore.”

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