Rising star honoured as Young Alumna of the Year

01 March 2016
Dr Divya Dhar

Medical doctor, social justice campaigner and business woman, Divya Dhar was named as the University of Auckland’s Young Alumna of the Year recently.

A former Aucklander, Divya has an impressive work ethic and has frequently combined healthcare study, activism and business throughout her career.

“I believe innovation occurs at the cross section of multiple disciplines,” she says.

Divya is based in San Francisco and has spent the past four years in the United States where she recently completed a dual Master of Business Administration (majoring in healthcare management) and a Master of Public Administration (majoring in business and government), degree at the Wharton School and Harvard Kennedy School.

While she was at Wharton, she was also a panel director for the Wharton Health Care Business Conference on Health IT and Wharton India Economic Forum on Health, and teaching assistant for a life sciences management programme.

During her course at Harvard, she was Vice President of the Harvard Graduate Student Government and founded the ‘One Harvard Lectures that Last’ series.

Divya’s newest challenge is learning to code, in order to leverage technology for providing better access to healthcare.

She attended the University of Auckland between 2005 and 2009, gaining her Doctor of Medicine (MBChB) and serving as Vice President of the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association.

During her time with the NZMSA, she undertook policy work to combat the problem of “doctor drain” and this was subsequently adopted by the Government.

While at medical school she also founded HealtheX, the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences’ annual student research conference that gives students an opportunity to hone their presentation skills.

In the summer of 2012 in Bangalore, India, Divya was the co-founder and team leader for GIFT, or Global Innovation for Translation. She formulated the vision, wrote the business plan and raised seed capital before launching an incubator to bring together a multi-disciplinary team of Harvard students for a global health summer immersion programme.

There, she led the team of four students to identify needs in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Cath Lab and Ophthalmology in the Narayana Hrudayalaya and Aravind Eye Hospitals.

Divya spent her medical elective building houses for Costa Rica’s poorest in a flood-ridden region.

She is CEO and co-founder of Seratis, a care coordination mobile application for patients and their healthcare providers. She assembled a top talent team and launched the app at several American healthcare providers. Seratis won the $850,000 Verizon Healthcare Innovation Award in 2014 and the app has featured in several major publications including Huffington Post, Techcrunch and Boston Globe.

As founder of the P3 Foundation, the largest youth-for-youth not-for-profit organisation engaged in international development in New Zealand, Divya led a team that raised youth awareness on extreme poverty. “I always believed in the power of young people to change the course of history. Working with the team at P3 Foundation is still one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.”

She managed the budget of $100,000, gave presentations about poverty to a group of 10,000 students from 25 different high schools, and initiated a campaign through a nation-wide chain of coffee stores to raise awareness of Fairtrade issues.

Divya partnered the P3 Foundation with Save the Children and Drucker Association to teach 50 young people basic project management skills to achieve solutions for intractable problems in their communities and abroad.

She sourced funding from Ministry of Youth Development and launched the ‘Live Below the Line’ fundraiser - raising $40,000 for an international development project.

Divya was named Young New Zealander of the Year in 2010 and was the inaugural Indian New Zealander of the Year in 2011.

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