Scholar Class – 2011
Born in Kentucky, to Indian immigrants, Siddarth Puri was raised in Los Angeles, California. Watching his mother, a physician, work with patients in Los Angeles and in rural India taught him the importance of advocating for the underserved. Siddarth studied art history as an undergraduate and graduate student at UCLA to combine his interests in performance art and health education. He worked at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center as an HIV researcher and counselor while also researching how queer identity was expressed through vernacular art forms in India.
During graduate school, he received a Fulbright fellowship to study the performances of the hijra (transgender) community in India. Focusing on the alarming rates of HIV facing the hijra community, he wrote a play on HIV performed for the community by members of the community throughout northern India. Upon returning to the US, he worked as an HIV client advocate for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation where he linked and counseled newly diagnosed HIV-positive patients into medical care. He is currently attending UC Davis School of Medicine where he is a co-director of the JVMC student-run clinic dedicated to working with sex-workers and drug-users in Sacramento.
Siddarth is active in the LGBT people in medicine organization and pursuing research on health disparities faced by the transgender community both in the US and in India. He continues to strive towards integrating his cultural and sexual identities and has a special interest in supporting queer South Asians through the process of coming out to their families.