Smisha Agarwal is a population health scientist specializing in conducting impact evaluations of maternal and child health service delivery programs, including digital health interventions. She joined the Council to steer the Frontline Health project focused on harmonizing metrics to monitor the performance of community health worker programs in 7 countries and developing a research agenda to address critical gaps in scaling community health worker projects globally.
Agarwal joins the Council from the WHO where she was leading the development of a series of Cochrane Reviews to support WHO guidelines on mobile/digital health investments as well as serving on the WHO's mHealth technical and evidence review group. Prior to that, as a Faculty at the Johns Hopkins Global mHealth Initiative, she provided technical support in monitoring and evaluation to a number of digital health programs including MAMA in Bangladesh, cStock in Malawi, and MomConnect in South Africa. During her doctoral work in maternal and child health and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Agarwal supported a series of national-level impact evaluations led by MEASURE Evaluation. These include the evaluations of USAID-supported TB-HIV integration program in Ukraine, and the Smiling Sun Franchise and Mayer Hashi (family planning) programs in Bangladesh.
Agarwal completed her MPH and MBA from Johns Hopkins and then moved back home to India where she worked in the primary health care and rural development sector. At the same time, she co-founded a non-profit, Global Health Bridge, that focused on digitizing community maternal health data in real time in rural Maharashtra. As an early arriver in the digital health space, Agarwal built expertise in the field, having worked in the space as an innovator, implementer and researcher. She is extensively published in the field, including JAMA and the BMJ. In collaboration with colleagues at Johns Hopkins and WHO, Agarwal has contributed to the development of the digital health field through the collaborative development of the mHealth Evidence Reporting and Assessment (mERA) guidelines, a digital health taxonomy, and WHO’s Digital Health M&E Workbook.