Shobhana Nagraj: International Women's Day 2019 Profile

Trained as a medical doctor, with a diverse clinical background in paediatric surgery, primary care, medical education, and health services research, Shobhana Nagraj joined The George Institute for Global Health in 2017 to work on global maternal child health.

Shobhana is passionate about providing high-quality, evidence-based care to rural populations and vulnerable groups globally. She is particularly interested in how low-cost technologies, together with appropriate training, can be harnessed to change the delivery of healthcare in low-resource settings.  

“Having lived and worked in rural India, I am inspired by the joy I have seen when rural communities feel cared for and listened to, and how happy they are when sharing their talents and skills with other people.”

“Well-conducted, high-quality research in these settings helps to give a voice to rural populations, and has the potential to influence the delivery of healthcare and shape policy for rural communities.” 

Through her current work on the development and evaluation of The George Institute’s SMARThealth Pregnancy program, Shobhana hopes to have a positive impact on the health of rural women and their children.  

“I hope to build upon this work in the future and make a significant contribution to the field of global maternal child health.” 

As digital health and technologies become more embedded into the health systems of countries around the world, Shobhana believes the governance and evaluation of these complex interventions need to be better represented on the research agenda.

“I feel we need to develop innovative study designs to answer the important questions in this growing field of research. The methodologies and trial designs required to show the effects of digital technologies may not fit nicely into the existing paradigms of research methods and trial designs.” 

Shobhana believes supportive mentorship and appropriate leadership are key to achieving more gender balance in the research sector.

“I think having confident, secure and supportive female role models to aspire to, and be guided by, is really important for early career researchers. It is essential for those at the top to nurture talent and enthusiasm in younger researchers, and demonstrate that it is possible for women to get to the top, whilst maintaining a balanced life.”

Reflecting on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BalanceforBetter, Shobhana says having a sense of fulfilment is necessary to achieve a balanced life.

“I see balance as having time to recharge your energy to be able to give the best of yourself in all aspects your life, including work. For me, this is about making time to be able to remember the "Why?" of what I am doing.” 

Read more from Shobhana on Twitter at @ShobhanaNagraj