Hamilton grad combines love of dance, medicine - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Hamilton grad combines love of dance, medicine

August 6th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Hamilton grad combines love of dance, medicine

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor


A Hamilton High School graduate with a passion for Bollywood dancing and helping others is on her way toward becoming a doctor.

Vedanshi “Vidhi” Bhargava, 22, and five other graduates of high schools in Chandler are now first-year students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and recently received their white coats.

The special ceremony marked the medical students’ entry into clinical medicine. The school has 80 first-year students.

“It felt like all my dreams came true on that day,” Bhargava said of the white coat ceremony.

She is not only working on earning her medical degree but also studying to earn her Ph.D. in clinical translational sciences with a focus on neuroscience. She earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and cognitive sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

“I’m hoping to go into academic medicine, to become a professor at some point and do research on the side,” Bhargava said.

She has known for a long time she wanted to study medicine.

“I had an existential crisis early on in life, around the age of 10, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘We’re all going to die. What keeps us going? What makes us uniquely human?’” Bhargava said.

While studying in Tucson, she engaged in research related to Parkinson’s disease. She also taught Bollywood dance to people who have the disease at Parkinson Wellness Recovery PWR! Gym. Bhargava said her mother had been a Bollywood dancer and she introduced her to the art form.

“I just really like how expressive it is,” she said. “Dancing is a whole other world. I think the whole philosophy behind the power gym is if you exercise big, your movements become bigger, and so Bollywood dancing is great for that because it’s a lot of big movements.”

Bhargava also taught dance to psychiatric patients at Oasis Behavioral Health Hospital in Chandler. She learned to modify the choreography to fit the patients’ needs.

“Eventually we found that groove that fit both of us,” Bhargava said. “It was fun. With the psychiatric patients sometimes I feel like they have their own strict schedules and regiments. When you get to combine art with exercise I think that’s just amazing. They get to get out all those frustrations.”

As a busy medical and Ph.D. student, she now is taking salsa classes two nights a week for fun and as a stress release.

Her family members and friends still live in Chandler and she visits the city often. Bhargava said she was well-prepared for college by “really great teachers and mentors” at Hamilton.

Her mother is a psychotherapist and her father is a software engineer and she is the first person in her family to pursue a career in medicine.

A record 6,784 students applied for acceptance to the UofA College of Medicine-Phoenix Class of 2022. Of those applicants, 349 were invited for interviews and 80 were chosen.

These are the other first-year medical students with roots in Chandler:

• Anthony Conforti, a Basha High School grad, earned a bachelor’s degree in health sciences pre-professional at Arizona State University. “I have many interests at this time, but I am leaning towards primary care, namely family medicine. I also want to learn more about ENT (ear, nose and throat).”

• Brandon Ngo, a Basha grad, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Duke University. Area of medicine: oncology

• Patrick Sarette, a Hamilton grad, earned a bachelor’s degree biochemistry (medicinal chemistry concentration). Area of medicine interested in pursuing: “I am interested in learning more about emergency medicine, as I hope that I can apply it as I continue my military service.”

• Blake Traube, a Hamilton grad, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and molecular/cellular biology. “I am most interested in hematology/oncology and learning more about the developing front of personalized medicine, hoping this will let us give more effective treatments to patients based on their genomes and their disease presentation.”

• Brendon Warner, a Hamilton grad, earned a bachelor’s degree in physiology and developmental biology. “I’m most interested in exploring specialized surgical specialties such as ENT (ear, nose, and throat) and urology.”

Sun Czar Belous, UOFA Media Productions

Dr. Guy Reed, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, shakes hands with first-year medical student Vedanshi “Vidhi” Bhargava, 22, at the white coat ceremony.