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When Dr. Adnan Khera turns up his boombox and starts dancing on the streets of Boston, he's not only doing it for charity, but also to hopefully make him a better doctor.
Since the beginning of May, the anesthesiology resident at Tufts Medical Center has been popping, locking and krumping around the city while dressed as a doctor, all for a good cause.
Any donations he gets during his performances are donated to a variety of charities, from animal rescue to child poverty, through his Doctor Be Dancing organization. Khera, 28, has raised about $5,000 so far and hopes to bring in $10,000 by October.
"One of the missions of this project is to show the value of individuality inside of medicine to medicine as a whole,'' Khera told TODAY.com. "What I do on the streets allows me to communicate with the population at large, whereas I feel like normally in medicine, we have trouble communicating with patients. We fail in a lot of senses to communicate with them and show what it's like to be a doctor, and what is in the patient's best interest. By expressing our individuality, we can better communicate with our patients."
Khera is no stranger to public performances, having previously done stand-up comedy and public speaking. He also is an ultra-runner, so dancing is another way for him to stay fit with a busy schedule.
"I've wanted to be a street performer for 2 to 3 years now, so (in May) I thought, 'Well, the snow has just melted, so it seems like as a good a time as ever,'' he said.
He tries to go out about twice a week in Boston, and also has done performances while visiting his parents in Arizona.
"I've always been walking around dancing in public, so it never felt that crazy to me,'' he said. "A lot of people ask me, why busking? They figure I'm a doctor and I can just work a shift and donate to charity that way. The economic model of busking is that you're going on the street and giving away your talent for free, so the idea is that you see the value in what I'm providing you and choose to donate. It seems only natural I would take a charitable economic model and give to charity."
He also realizes his public dancing goes against the usual straitlaced demeanor of doctors.
"I feel like the fact that it's for charity makes it hard to speak against it,'' he said. "I imagine some doctors could think it's unbecoming of a physician, but I've never met anyone adamantly opposed to it. Overall the goal is to have an impact, and also show the value of individuality."
Khera doesn't have a specific spot where he performs and does not have a signature song. He will take requests or just scroll through his phone and see what moves him at that moment.
"It's ad-libbed, which is great because I don't get bored,'' he said.