Parker alumna seeks to bridge the information gap between culture & medicine 

By Matthew Piechalak | [email protected] 

Snigdha Nandipati ’16 has always had an affinity for the written word. 

From winning the 2012 National Spelling Bee as a Middle School student, to the subsequent fame that came in its wake, to her newest endeavor, an award-winning book, the Parker alumna and Yale graduate has always used her words to learn and grow. 

Her debut book, “A Case of Culture: How Cultural Brokers Bridge Divides in Healthcare,” published by New Degree Press, recently garnered two accolades––a Firebird Book Award in the category of medical nonfiction and a Gold Medal in the Humanities category of the Reader Views Literary Awards. 

“It’s a book about how patients from different cultural backgrounds navigate the challenges of Western medicine with the help of cultural brokers,” says Snigdha. “A cultural broker is a middle person who serves as a bridge of information between two parties.”    

“A Case of Culture” focuses on the need for these brokers in the medical field as an important means of helping patients understand the value of medicine––as well as to help health care providers understand and appreciate the unique, traditional healing practices within various cultures. 

After graduating from Yale University in 2020 with a degree in neuroscience, Snigdha began working as a medical assistant in a free clinic in the Bay Area, where she would consistently see similarities between many of the immigrant patients and her own cultural background as an Indian-American.

She began writing short-form articles discussing what would ultimately become the focus of her book.   

“Within the book, I share stories of those either in the healthcare field or seeking care and the different challenges they’ve encountered,” says Snigdha. “There really isn’t much [published] about culture in the field of medicine.” 

The primary audiences for “A Case of Culture” include health care providers––anyone working the field––and immigrant families and their children, who often serve as informal cultural brokers for their elders and can relate to the families described in the book, Snigdha says. 

Last month, Snigdha and Dr. Hasan Gokal, of Houston Methodist Hospital, held an online seminar related to her new publication, which was attended by her former Parker teachers and friends from her alma mater. This summer, she will begin medical school at Virginia Tech. 

Snigdha enjoyed writing her first book and says the awards recognition is really exciting. 

“It helps solidify my point that this is a topic that resonates with a lot of people and that was really meaningful,” she says. 

 She hopes to publish a follow-up in the future. 

“I will wait a few years to build up my knowledge base, but I hope to continue along the topic of culture and medicine and explore the spirituality aspect, which I briefly discuss in this book,” she says. 

To purchase a copy of Snigdha’s book, click here.