Born in India, Amrapali spent part of her childhood in New Zealand before the family settled in Texas when she was ten. The narrative of her grandfather's migration during the Partition of South Asia inspired her to pursue studies of history and literature.
At Harvard, Amrapali won the Oliver Dabney Prize for her junior essay on the literature that emerged during Sri Lanka's civil war. A summer volunteering as an HIV/AIDS educator in Tanzania made her aware of how strongly stigma, domestic violence and other social variables affect the experience of illness. Returning to Harvard, she led a student-run peer counseling group and wrote her senior thesis on representations of madness in Indian literature, for which she was awarded highest honors. An accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, she also directed Harvard's South Asian Dance Company.
As a medical student at Stanford, Amrapali served as a manager of a student-run free clinic and conducted research on attitudes toward domestic violence in Bangladesh. This research stimulated her interest in addressing health care disparities, especially as they affect women who suffer from violence-related trauma. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology as well as an MD.