News Global Health Center

Global health collaborator SPOTLIGHT: Anubha Agarwal, MD

Former Fogarty International Center Director, Roger Glass; George A. Mensah, director of The Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and Anubha Agarwal, far right, pause for a photo at the center’s recent 20th anniversary event

A frequent Global Health Center collaborator, Anubha Agarwal, MD, MSc is an assistant professor of medicine and a cardiologist in the Division of Cardiology at Washington University in St. Louis.  Her clinical training is in non-invasive cardiology and she has specific research expertise in global cardiovascular health. Clinical care of patients in the United States combined with global health field experience has inspired her commitment to improving the cardiovascular health of vulnerable populations worldwide through the dedicated pursuit of late-stage translational research as a global cardiovascular physician-scientist. For these reasons, we’re featuring Anubha in this month’s Global Health Spotlight!

What is your latest research and what do you hope to accomplish?

As a NIH/Fogarty Global Health Fellow from 2017 to 2018 in India, I led team study on the effect of a quality improvement toolkit among 1,400 participants hospitalized with heart failure in eight hospitals in Kerala, demonstrating improvement in guideline-directed medical therapy. Despite the improvement in this key outcome, more than half of eligible patients with heart failure need additional strategies to improve care such as a polypill, which combines several medications into one pill to improve adherence.

I have received funding from the NIH to gain advanced training in implementation science, clinical trial methods, and regulatory science for global pharmacological clinical trials to become an independent investigator as a global heart failure clinical trialist with expertise in cardiovascular implementation science. Importantly, the polypill for patients with heart failure has the potential to transform heart failure care through simplified care by shifting heart failure care simply by shifting how we treat patients from multiple pills to one pill a day.

Future directions of my research program include 1) implementation in other settings within and beyond South Asia, 2) evaluating additional, multilevel implementation strategies, 3) incorporating new medications into future-generation heart failure polypills, and 4) extending the polypill-based implementation strategy to other under-treated, non-communicable diseases.

*In what other ways have you/will you engage with the Global Health Center?

I work closely with Global Health Center Director, Victor Davila-Roman and co-Director, Mark Huffman, who are both key members on my faculty mentoring committee. Engaging and collaborating with the Global Health Center fosters a platform for disseminating my ongoing research and new ideas/partnerships for future research.

*What would you say is the benefit to other researchers/faculty in engaging with the Global Health Center?

Engaging with the center creates opportunities for new collaborations/partnerships and fosters interdisciplinary research.

*We understand you are an alumna of the NIH Fogarty International Center Global Health Fellows, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary?

I was an invited speaker at the 20th anniversary meeting and shared my journey from a Fogarty Fellow to current faculty member who is continuing to work in South Asia to improve global heart failure care. Read Agarwal’s Fogarty International Center biography.

I am super excited to be here at WashU pursing a creative career as a global cardiovascular physician-scientist with the academic freedom to pursue new ideas that could have meaningful impact on public health!

Anubha Agarwal, assistant professor of medicine, School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis