Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Pooja Chandrashekar is the daughter of immigrants from Bangalore, India who came to the United States to pursue their graduate educations. Pooja’s parents are both engineers and taught her to think critically and build solutions to problems around her, while her great-grandfather’s role as a leader in the Indian independence movement inspired her commitment to equity and public service.
As an undergraduate at Harvard College, Pooja received an AB in biomedical engineering. She pursued projects at the intersection of engineering and medicine, including developing a medical device to provide behavioral therapy for autistic adolescents and an online platform to detect environmental health hazards. After graduating, she pursued a Fulbright Scholarship in Goa, India, where she researched the impact of stigma on autistic children in rural communities. These experiences highlighted the profound impact of health inequities and led her to pursue health policy research at the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Health Service England, and Crimson Care Collaborative.
Pooja is currently a MD/MBA student at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School. Her work focuses on improving healthcare delivery for underserved populations. At CareMore Health and SCAN Health Plan, she developed recommendations for improving the care of frail and vulnerable seniors through telemedicine and home-based care. She has published more than a dozen papers in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored an upcoming book chapter on reforming the US healthcare system for older adults. Pooja also serves as the managing assistant editor for Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation, a peer-reviewed medical journal. Most recently, she started the COVID-19 Health Literacy Project to create and translate COVID-19 information into 40+ languages for non-English speaking patients sidelined during the pandemic. For her contributions and passion for advancing healthcare, she was named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 Healthcare list.
Pooja is also an ardent advocate for education equity. She is the founder and CEO of ProjectCSGIRLS, an international nonprofit dedicated to encouraging middle school girls in STEM, for which she received the Harvard Medical School Dean’s Community Service Award. To date, the organization has reached over 15,000 girls in 12 countries. Pooja speaks widely about the importance of diversity in science and has given three TEDx talks on the subject. Pooja aspires to pursue a career as a physician and leader dedicated to building a more equitable healthcare system.