Abhishek Dhar: Doctor/Advocate

by Shivani Nanda '23 for Silver Quest

Doctor, engineer, advocate, and advisor to Congressional candidates — Magnet alumnus Abhishek Dhar ‘06 has no shortage of professional experience.

In 2010, Dhar received his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and technology from Northwestern University. From there, he obtained his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh Medical College (UPMC) and completed his residency at Baylor College of Medicine. Now, he is a doctor specializing in internal medicine and pediatrics.

For Dhar, the most rewarding element of his professional experience has been practicing medicine in a non-traditional setting. As an advocate for immigrant rights and healthcare access, he recently worked near the southern border in El Paso, Texas to provide immigrants with medical attention.

“I worked with undocumented and unaccompanied children in detention centers and wrote letters to help immigrants in ICE custody, so they can be released to seek appropriate medical care,” Dhar explains. “I also performed the initial medical exams for asylum seekers.” He was also responsible for the immigration and healthcare policy for major party candidates for the U.S. Congress.

Regarding his experience working with the months-long [COVID-19] crisis in the international epicenter, Dhar mentions that “one of the most frustrating aspects about treating COVID is the fact that there are a limited number of things you can do to help.” Some people were able to talk and walk around exhibiting minimal symptoms, but a couple of days later, he would find out that they had passed away. “It was particularly depressing given the fact that the people in charge of the policy decision making were privileged and had access to whatever healthcare they needed,” he reflects, considering the equity of medical treatment. ”The people of El Paso, who were disproportionately Latinx, poor, and uninsured, suffered the consequences.”

Dhar was not always interested in the medical field. In fact, he thought that he wanted to pursue a Computer Science or Engineering degree in the early stages of high school, but he found his passion for biology as he started to explore more biology-related classes at Blair. “I needed a bit more direct contact with the people I’m trying to help and serve, which definitely got me on the road to becoming a doctor,” he explains.

Even at Blair, Dhar intentionally sought connections between STEM and the social sciences. For his Senior Research Project, he worked at the Department of Psychology in Georgetown to analyze racial biases in middle school students.

Overall, Dhar thinks his Magnet experience prepared him for the professional world through its unique emphasis on group projects. “The school projects were hard enough without having to keep in mind others' personalities, which is also a skill that not a lot of people get at other high schools,” Dhar says.

He also stresses the importance of self-reflection and continual growth, especially given the academic pressure magnet students often face. “In an environment like Blair, it’s easy to lose yourself or parts of your identity that are beyond schoolwork,” he cautions. “High school is the part of your life where you start to figure out who you are as a person, what you want to be, and your priorities, like how you want to impact the world.”