The E.R.’s Rhodes Scholar

Aakash Shah ’10


Emergency Room at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
New Brunswick, NJ


The frenetic pace of an emergency room is vastly different from the contemplative quietness of the labs and library study rooms where I conducted my research. It’s there, in those spaces at Ursinus, that my philosophy of health care took root.

I consider myself a foot soldier in the fight to ensure access to health care for those who need it most. Working in the emergency room allows me to serve on the front lines. It has taught me
that few things are more important than making a real, tangible difference in the life of another.

As an undergraduate, I spent a summer working in a clinic in India, and I saw firsthand how poverty limits health care. Academically, reading texts in the Common Intellectual Experience helped me realize the importance of blending science and policy. As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, I earned both an MBA and MSc in social policy, before becoming an M.D.
at Harvard Medical School.

One of my proudest moments was being honored last year by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for the work of my nonprofit, Be Jersey Strong, which helps New Jersey residents understand and access their health-care options.

You can draw a direct line from Ursinus to what I have accomplished. I had incredible mentors who challenged me to find how I could make my corner of the world a better place. The lessons I learned under them, such as the value of service learning, inform the very core of what I do.

My Path


Biology, Neuroscience, Inequality Studies


Chemistry, Sociology

Undergraduate Passions:
  • Forensics Team
  • Lab research on microscopic organisms
  • Study Abroad
  • Track and Field

Large Photo

Dr. Aakash Shah poses for a photograph outside Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Wednesday, November 16, 2016 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images for Ursinus College)