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Student Highlights: Sannidhi Shashikiran (NHS '22)


Sannidhi Shashikiran is a junior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies studying Healthcare Management and Policy on the administration track and minoring in Disability Studies.

Involvement in Research:

Sannidhi is passionate about improving vulnerable populations' health literacy. Her interest began in Professor Joan Riley's class titled “Health Promotion and Disease Prevention”, where she was introduced to the significance of health literacy. Inspired by what she learned, Sannidhi was determined to put her newly-acquired knowledge into practice. After having spent the previous year and a half interning at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Sannidhi was prepared to begin her project. While she previously studied midbrain D1 and D2 receptors, Sannidhi pivoted her latest work to focus on health literacy in the adult English language learning community. Partnering with the Alaska Literacy Program, Sannidhi, classmate Janessa Mendoza, and Professor Riley collaborated in the creation of sixteen modules tailored specifically for English language learners, covering topics such as approaches to reading pharmaceutical labels, American health insurance, and COVID-19 safety.


Plans for growing this project are underway as Sannidhi works on a manuscript that reflects the lessons from the modules and examines the project's success with community building. In this new work, Sannidhi wishes to discuss the social aspect of health education. As she notes, high-quality education does not simply involve the recitation of information to others, but is more so characterized by the ability to deliver said information in an accessible, effective, and practical manner. For the English language learning community, this means taking an individual's needs for literacy and social interaction into consideration. In addition to working on her manuscript, Sannidhi plans to continue assisting Dr. Carolyn Ecelbarger with PCR testing at Georgetown University Hospital's Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Passion for health equity is abundant in this young researcher. Sannidhi’s ability to ascertain the social, lingual, and educational causes of inequity in healthcare is a clear reflection of her intellect and potential. Sannidhi says that creating an “engaging and comfortable” atmosphere with her curriculum is a priority. Her compassionate and empathetic approach is what distinguishes her not only in her work but also by her character. 

Written by Alanna Cronk