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October 13, 2022

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Ritu Agarwal named inaugural Wm. Polk Carey Distinguished Professor

Why it matters:

Ritu Agarwal, a pioneer in digital health research with a commitment to social impact, becomes the first Wm. Polk Carey Distinguished Professor at Carey Business School.

A pioneer in digital health research with a commitment to social impact is taking on another innovative role, as the first Wm. Polk Carey Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Ritu Agarwal, PhD, is an expert in the application of information technology, analytics, and artificial intelligence in health care. She has devoted her research efforts to exploring how these innovations can be effective in lowering health care costs, improving health care quality, and building a more just and equitable health care delivery system.

Agarwal is the first of three endowed faculty who will hold the title of Wm. Polk Carey Distinguished Professor. The professorships were established as part of a $25 million gift from the W. P. Carey Foundation in 2020. They are named in honor of Wm. Polk Carey, whose $50 million contribution to Johns Hopkins University in 2006 was the catalyst for the founding of Carey Business School.

“We are delighted to welcome Ritu Agarwal to the Carey faculty as our inaugural Wm. Polk Carey Distinguished Professor,” said Alex Triantis, dean of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. “As a pioneer in the application of information technology to the field of health care, Ritu’s work is making a real impact in people’s lives and exemplifies the vision of our founder Wm Polk Carey for whom this professorship is named.”

“The Wm. Polk Carey professorships were created to enhance Johns Hopkins’ ability to attract outstanding researchers and academic leaders with records of significant scholarship. Professor Agarwal’s advancements in the field of technology and healthcare make her a world-class addition to the Carey Business School as it builds on its preeminence in the business of health by shaping leaders of the future,” said William Polk Carey II, chairman of the W. P. Carey Foundation. 

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Prior to joining Carey Business School, Agarwal was a Distinguished University Professor—the highest academic title conferred by the University of Maryland, and the Robert H. Smith Dean’s Chair of Information Systems at the Smith School of Business. She also founded the school’s Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS), which collaborates with public and private stakeholders to improve the design, adoption, and integration of information technologies into the health care system. In her work with CHIDS, Professor Agarwal has raised over $10 million in funding through grants, contracts, and gifts. Her work marries research with effectiveness in the classroom and in the community. She received the University of Maryland’s Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award. Twelve years ago, Professor Agarwal launched the Annual Conference on Health Information Technology and Analytics (CHITA). The leading research forum works at the intersection of technology, analytics, and health. It helps translate academic research into government, public health, and industry understanding of digital health needs and opportunities.

“Nearly a quarter of Carey’s full-time faculty study or teach in health-related fields, which is a key area of focus for our students,” said Goker Aydin, vice dean for faculty and research at Carey Business School. “Ritu is a pioneering researcher on the use of information technology in health care, an inspirational educator who excelled in teaching from undergraduates to executives, and a thought leader who has influenced practice and policy through her many collaborations, from Fortune 500 companies to government agencies. Ritu’s cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research in the business of health will further distinguish the Carey Business School as a leader in business education.”

In addition to multiple fellow designations and awards, publication in and service as editor for a rich array of highly respected journals, Agarwal has shared her expertise with federal lawmakers and health officials. She serves as a Special Advisor for the Division of AIDS at the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health and has testified before the National Committee on Health and Vital Statistics at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She has also been a member of the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council and a member of the National Institutes of Health Workgroup on Integration of Behavioral and Social Science Research.

“I am truly honored to be recognized with the first Wm. Polk Carey Distinguished Professorship. Johns Hopkins University and the Carey School provide an unparalleled setting within which to conduct research and outreach in digital health, and I am excited about the robust opportunities that lie ahead,” said Professor Agarwal.

Though she is the first endowed professor under the 2020 Carey Foundation gift, Agarwal is the seventh endowed professor at Carey Business School. Others include Bloomberg Distinguished Professors Kathleen Sutcliffe, Paul Ferraro, and Daniel Polsky; Alonzo and Virginia Decker Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship Phillip Phan; Professor and R. Clayton Emory Chair of Real Estate and Infrastructure Ko Wang; James Carey Professor Federico Bandi; and Francis J. Carey, Jr. Professor Nagpurnanand Prabhala.

Carey Business School also welcomed 10 more faculty to its full-time ranks for fall 2022. They include Assistant Professor of Practice Christina S. Black, Assistant Professor Cassandra Chambers, Assistant Professor of Practice Melanie Demirtas, Assistant Professor of Practice Linda Durnell, Associate Professor of Practice Ali Eshragh, Professor Guodong (Gordon) Gao, Assistant Professor Deeksha Gupta, Assistant Professor Suntae Kim, Assistant Professor Yuexing Li, and Assistant Professor of Practice Hooman Mirahmad.

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