Scholar Class – 2014
Ishan Asokan grew up in Orlando, FL, and then moved to Philadelphia to study Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Penn in 2010, Ishan became interested in exploring the health of the LGBTQ community. Though Philadelphia introduced him to tremendous diversity, he felt motivated to see what the world had to offer. He began his international journey in Hyderabad, India, where he studied the impact of social networks on HIV/AIDS transmission in male sex workers. The jarring inequalities he witnessed inspired his interest to study population health and health policy.
After his time in India, Ishan went on to the University of Oxford and completed an M.S. in Global Health Science in 2011. While at Oxford, Ishan served as the Course Representative and researched suicidal distress in LGBTQ youth in Brighton, UK. He then traveled to Kenya, where he completed his Trinity Term thesis on challenges to healthcare access for Kenyan men who have sex with men, establishing his fervent mission to better capture the inadequacies impacting the world’s LGBTQ spectrum.
Ishan is a physician trainee at Vanderbilt University’s Comprehensive Care Clinic, a facility devoted to HIV/AIDS management, and he is a co-founder of Vanderbilt’s Physicians for Human Rights group. He has also been a researcher at Jordan’s King Hussein Cancer Center and written for Consultancy Africa Intelligence. Ishan’s clinical commitment to global medicine has provided him with unique insight into minority health, and he plans to devote his life’s work to this important field.