2012 Emerging Public Health Professional Award

Priya Agrawal, MPH '06

With contributions that span the spectrum of women’s health, Dr. Priya Agrawal is passionate about embracing and driving innovative, cross-disciplinary approaches to public health science and practice, and the evaluation of novel strategies to improve the delivery and quality of health care. Her creativity and range of skills benefit both the scientific and programmatic communities working in maternal health. Her efforts have been tireless in transforming both the field and the people, always looking for new ways to support frontline workers and embrace the ‘patient’ as part of the healthcare team.

In 2009, Dr. Agrawal was invited by Dr. Atul Gawande to help develop the WHO’s Safe Childbirth Checklist, and she ran the pilot study in India as part of her PhD on a Wellbeing of Women Fellowship, pushing both for simple, real-world implementation and use of new yet robust methods for evaluation. Subsequently, she led the development of a checklist for pre-eclampsia on a combined HMS/HSPH grant, and has been working with a WHO-housed global network of patients to develop the first mother-held checklist leveraging mobile technology.

In addition to continuing as a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in the UK, last year Dr. Agrawal collaborated with Dr. Ana Langer to develop the Women and Health Initiative at HSPH, and she’s been a hands-on medical director of Jacaranda Health, dedicated to safe motherhood in East Africa. Most recently she was asked to be Executive Director of Merck for Mothers, a $500 million, ten-year commitment to improving maternal survival globally.

Dr. Agrawal uses speaking engagements at schools and universities, and her endless energy and dedication as teacher, advisor/supervisor to students and informal mentor to countless others all over the world, to plant the seed and foster passion for global health in the next generation.