Smisha Agarwal, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.H.

Headshot of Smisha Agarwal
  • Research Director, Johns Hopkins Global mHealth Initiative
  • Joint Appointment in Medicine


Dr. Agarwal holds a joint appointment in the Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health and is the Research Director for the Johns Hopkins Global mHealth Initiative.  Broadly, she is interested in research to understand interventions that can advance maternal and child health outcomes. Dr. Agarwal's current research work seeks to understand how clinical decision support systems, especially when used by community health workers can advance adherence to clinical protocols and improve primary health care outcomes in communities. Recognizing the extensive use of online health forums and patient "chatrooms" to access health information and social support, she is working to develop natural language processing backed conversational agents to support families through their reproductive journeys. 

Dr. Agarwal has previously worked as a researcher with FHI360, MEASURE Evaluation and Population Council. She has served as a technical advisor to several global health agencies including World Health Organization, USAID, and GSMA. She has led a series of systematic Cochrane reviews that have been leveraged by the WHO to develop global guidelines on the use of digital tools to strengthen health services. more


  • Research Director, Johns Hopkins Global mHealth Initiative
  • Joint Appointment in Medicine

Departments / Divisions



  • M.P.H.; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland) (2009)
  • M.B.A.; Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business (Maryland) (2009)
  • Ph.D.; University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health (North Carolina) (2017)

Research & Publications

Selected Publications

Agarwal S, LeFevre AE, Lee J, L’Engle K, Mehl G, Sinha C, Labrique A. Guidelines for reporting of health interventions using mobile phones: mobile health (mHealth) evidence reporting and assessment (mERA) checklist. BMJ. 2016 Mar 17;352:i1174.

Agarwal S, Perry HB, Long LA, Labrique AB. Evidence on feasibility and effective use of mHealth strategies by frontline health workers in developing countries: systematic review. Tropical medicine & international health. 2015 Aug;20(8):1003-14

Agarwal S, Labrique A. Newborn health on the line: the potential mHealth applications. JAMA. 2014 Jul 16;312(3):229-30

Agarwal S, Lasway C, L’Engle K, Homan R, Layer E, Ollis S, Braun R, Silas L, Mwakibete A, Kudrati M. Family planning counseling in your pocket: a mobile job aid for community health workers in Tanzania. Global Health: Science and Practice. 2016 Jun 20;4(2):300-10

Agarwal S, Tamrat T, Glenton C, Lewin S, Henschke N, Maayan N, Fønhus MS, Mehl GL. Decision?support tools via mobile devices to improve quality of care in primary healthcare settings. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018(2)

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