Scholar Profiles

Aditya Raj

Campus: Duke

Hometown: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

What drew you to the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program?

I firmly believe that building a community around a purpose creates a force that exceeds a summation of individual endeavors. The group of leaders that the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program attracts appeals to me because of the endless potential we carry when we learn collaboratively from shared experiences. My interactions with scholars during my freshman year confirmed that through the RSLP, I’d find a unique environment to take risks, explore passions and learn from mistakes alongside a committed and driven support structure. I knew I’d thrive in a program that focuses on honing leadership through community service, and the RSLP offers just that. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity and plan to use the cornucopia of resources the Program provides to further develop who I am and to uplift the people around me.

How do you believe you’ll create transformational change in your communities? 

India is faced with a multitude of challenges, but behind these challenges, I see opportunities and the scope for change. As a country are still grappling with how to give voice to all the fragments our society is divided into. However, medicine plays a powerful role in how the nation is structured because of the collaboration of different perspectives, cultural backgrounds, and intellectual disciplines involved.

During the COVID-19 quarantine in India, I worked with my community’s vaccine support team to help provide up-to-date information to 2,000+ residents. I coordinated on a daily basis with Public Health Clinics to determine COVID-19 vaccine availability in our area. My role in this team of 12 people taught me about the strengths of community initiatives and gave me a much deeper understanding of what the marginalized of society go through in getting access to healthcare. I am increasingly convinced that healthcare doesn’t have to begin at hospitals; community-based basic screening and training local volunteers can keep small pockets of people healthy through community ownership and collaboration.

Now, with the freedom to take courses, join clubs, conduct research, and be introduced to new perspectives in both Duke and UNC, I’d be able to further understand how public policy impacts the lives of dispossessed populations. As I immerse myself in communities based in Durham and Chapel Hill, I hope to better understand population dynamics and how we can design health systems to efficiently serve a growing world.

Aditya Raj Headshot