Menaka Dhingra

“I joined NHC because I wanted to learn more about community health and have direct and meaningful contact with underserved populations.”

Educational Background: Columbia University, B.A

Host Site: Patient Advocate at Philadelphia Department of Public Health - Ambulatory Health Services, Health Center 10

Why did you join National Health Corps?
I joined NHC because I wanted to learn more about community health and have direct and meaningful contact with underserved populations. I want to understand the different barriers to health that people face so that I can one day be a significant part of helping them overcome those obstacles.

What are your plans after AmeriCorps service?
I am hoping to go to medical school after serving with AmeriCorps.

Tell us about an employment, service, or research experience that was important to you.
I participated in a student run global health non-profit called GlobeMed during college, and this experience changed the way I understand and think about health. The team that I worked with and the people I got to meet helped me understand how important it is to consider the social and economic determinants of health, and how powerful collaboration and teamwork can be.

What first sparked your interest in community service?
Between elementary and high school I went to a Saturday school that focused on Hinduism and the philosophy of religion. While I'm not a particularly religious person, the idea of "worship through service" and treating other people with kindness and compassion really stuck with me, and I think that's what initially drew me to community service experiences.

What about Philadelphia excites you the most?
I love the history in Philadelphia - I could spend hours just walking around Old City and taking in the sights. I also like that it's so vibrant and exciting without being too overwhelming.

What is your favorite food?
My dad's chicken curry

Hometown: Cedar Grove, NJ