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Doctoral student secures prestigious fellowship for work with women in rural India

Dr Shobhana Nagraj, a doctoral student with The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford, has been awarded a prestigious Clinical Research Training Fellowship by the UK’s Medical Research Council.

The fellowship will support Dr Nagraj’s work on the institute’s SMARThealth Pregnancy project, which examines how mobile technology can be used to identify and screen pregnant women in rural India at high risk of cardiometabolic disorders, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“This fellowship means a huge amount to me, because it recognises the importance of this work,” said Dr Nagraj. 

“Rates of hypertension and diabetes in women in India are among the highest in the world, and typically have an earlier onset than in other populations, which is why early detection and screening is particularly important in this population. Over two-thirds of the Indian population live in rural areas, where access to healthcare and screening and follow-up may be more challenging.” 

The Medical Research Council fellowship which begins 1 June 2018 will provide Dr Nagraj with three years of funding and support for the project ‘SMARThealth Pregnancy: Development of a complex intervention using clinical decision support to detect and refer high-risk pregnant women in rural India’. 

“This project could not only reduce heart disease and stroke among women in rural India, but has the potential to be scaled up and implemented in other countries around the world which face similar healthcare challenges,” said Dr Nagraj, who is supervised by Professor Stephen Kennedy, Professor Robyn Norton, Dr Jane Hirst and Dr Lisa Hinton.

Dr Nagraj joined The George Institute at Oxford as a doctoral student in October 2017.  She qualified as a medical doctor from University College London, and is a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of General Practitioners.  She has worked in both Malawi and India, where she developed her passion for global health.

Learn more about Dr Shobhana Nagraj