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Asha George

Departmental Affiliations

Health Systems

Contact Info

Research Interests

Qualitative research, human resources for health, accountability, governance, community, sexual and reproductive health and rights, child health, gender analysis, health systems

Experiences & Accomplishments
Harvard University School of Public Health
Sussex University, Institute of Development Studies
Georgetown University

Asha George is engaged with the social analysis of the frontline interface of health systems from a governance, gender and human rights perspective, as a part of policy and implementation research to improve equitable health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. She collaborates on mixed methods studies, drawing on her expertise in ethnography, rapid qualitative assessments, participatory and action research, as well as case study research. Her current research examines the socio-political processes underpinning frontline community and provider interventions. She supports implementation research on strengthening village health committees in India and on understanding how facility governing boards function in Ethiopia. She leads a network on gender analysis in health systems research across three DFID supported research consortia ( She serves on the Guidelines Development Group for WHO’s review of health promotion encapsulated by the ‘Individuals, Families and Communities’ Strategy and leads the corresponding review on the promotion of human rights to increase access to maternal health services. She led the development of a new graduate course on ‘Health System Research’ and supported capacity development on health systems research across seven Schools of Public Health in sub-Saharan Africa through the Africa Health Alliance. She is an editorial advisor for three journals (Reproductive Health Matters, Human Resources for Health, Health Reform) and a co-editor with Gita Sen and Piroska Ostlin of Engendering International Health: The Challenge of Equity (MIT Press 2002) and with Kabir Sheikh of Health Providers in India: On the Frontlines of Change (Routledge 2010). She is an Indian national, fluent in Spanish and with a working knowledge of French, Portuguese, Kannada and Malayalam.    

Honors & Awards

Advising, Teaching and Mentoring Award, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 2013

Young Researcher Award, Alliance for Health Systems Policy and Research, 2002

Overseas Research Scholarship, Higher Education Funding Council for England, 2001-2005

Saltonstall Graduate Associate, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, 1998  

Partial Tuition Merit, Harvard School of Public Health, 1997

Summer Research Award, Harvard School of Public Health, 1997

William Manger Thesis Award, Georgetown University, 1993 

Select Publications
  • George A, Iyer A. 2013. Unfree markets: Social relations, linkages and motivations viewed by informal health providers in northern Karnataka, India. Social Science and Medicine. 96: 297-304.

  • Colvin C, Smith H, Swatrz, A, de Heer J, Marraccini T, Opiyo N, Kim J, Ahs J, George A . 2013. Systematic review of qualitative studies regarding household recognition and response to child malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea in sub-Saharan Africa. Social Science and Medicine. 86:66-78.


    Scott K, McMahon S, Yumkella F, Diaz T, George A. 2013. Navigating multiple options and social relationships in plural health systems: a qualitative study exploring health care seeking for sick children in Sierra Leone. Health Policy and Planning. Mar 27.


  • George A. 2009. 'By papers and pens, you can only do so much’: Views about accountability and human resource management from Indian government health administrators and workers. International Journal of Health Planning and Management. 24 (3): 204-24.

    1. George A. 2008. Nursing, community health workers and home carers: Gendered human resources compensating for skewed health systems. Global Public Health. 3 (Supplement 1): 75-89.


      Future Health Systems: Health Services for the Future
      Public Health Foundation of India
      Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs): Building Stronger Health Systems