|Mr. Jasdeep Mangat graduated in 2009 from Rice University in Houston, Texas with a B.S. in biochemistry and cell biology. He is now a third year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas where his interests have expanded from biochemistry to include the fields of medical anthropology and public health. He co-founded a hands-on cooking class for medical students called Choosing Healthy, Eating Fresh. During these classes, students learn to cook multiple recipes from a renowned local chef, while also learning how different foods can address a variety of medical conditions, including diabetes, obesity and heart disease. He believes strongly in the importance of food equality and its influential effect on health. He has worked with different farmer’s markets in Houston to improve the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in communities with minimal access. Mr. Mangat also volunteered frequently in the student-run, free clinic for the homeless of Houston, learning about the difficulties of healthcare access and the numerous sociological factors that bar homeless individuals from achieving sound health. He has a strong interest in studying the way different anthropological variables affect the health of marginalized individuals and communities.
Upon completion of the Fulbright-Nehru grant, Mr. Mangat plans on finishing his medical degree and pursuing an advanced degree in medical anthropology after completing his residency training. Brought up in a Punjabi household in South Texas, he grew up influenced by two starkly different cultures. After his second trip to Punjab in 2005, he felt a strong desire to explore further the depth of his culture. Returning to Punjab again as a Fulbright scholar will allow him to pursue this desire while living off the land his parents once called home.
Mr. Mangat plans to work at All India Pingalwara Charitable Society, a home for the destitute in Amritsar, Punjab. With the guidance of Dr. Inderjit Kaur, president of Pingalwara, and Mr. Mangat’s mentors at the St. John’s Research Institute in Bangalore, he plans on examining the experiences and treatment of those patrons with mental illness in his Fulbright research project, “Pingalwara: A look at the experiences and treatment of mental illness in India”. Using a medical anthropological lens, he will examine three main variables – sociocultural influences, family/community influences, and access to health care – and how each one influences the experience of mental illnesses, specifically depression and schizophrenia.