Dr. Bhagat is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Benedictine University. Her Bachelor's degree is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where her majors were Sociology and Gender & Women’s Studies, with a minor in South Asian Studies. From there, she went on to earn an MPH from Boston University in International Health and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her doctoral training is in Behavioral and Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Bhagat has experience managing large-scale research studies at an independent research company, NORC, at the University of Chicago. She is also very passionate about addressing public health issues that affect societies across the globe, and spent four years helping to develop, lead, and teach for an immersive Global Public Health program for undergraduate students.
Dr. Bhagat’s research interests include examining taken-for-granted public health “stories” from a critical lens so that we can work together to promote health in more holistic, effective, inclusive, and safe ways. For instance, it is readily assumed that overweight and obesity lead to ill-health, when in fact the connection between these two variables is hardly linear or isolated. Acknowledging this evidence, her current research project includes working with students and community partners to design and deliver a novel non-weight centered health promotion program aimed at encouraging community members to have healthier relationships with themselves, their bodies, food, and physical activity. Dr. Bhagat also serves as a faculty mentor for the Public Health Student Organization and South Asian Students Association.