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Associate Research Professor
Yusra Shawar

Departmental Affiliations

Health Systems

Yusra Shawar, PhD, MPH, studies the global governance of health and the politics of health policy processes in low- and middle-income countries.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E8132

Research Interests

Health policy; Politics of health policy processes; Low- and middle-income countries; Global health governance; Global health policy; Refugees; Power; Human rights; Qualitative methods
Experiences & Accomplishments
American University
University of Virginia
University of Virginia
Yusra Shawar MPH PhD is an Assistant Scientist in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and holds a joint courtesy appointment at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Her research concerns the global governance of health and the politics of health policy processes. She examines the role that knowledge-based communities—known as epistemic communities—play in agenda-setting processes, both at the global and national levels. Recently, she conducted research on the political prioritization of surgery, urban health, early childhood development, and rheumatic heart disease in the global health agenda, and learning in the global education agenda. She also investigates the politics surrounding the adoption and implementation of controversial and innovative health policies targeting vulnerable populations in low-income countries.

She has collaborated with local partners in Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, Mongolia, and Nigeria. Her research has been funded by Save the Children USA, the Conrad N Hilton Foundation, the Center for Global Health at the University of Virginia, the Office of the Provost at American University, Stanford University, USAID, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, and Oak Foundation. She has been involved in two Lancet series concerning early childhood development and gender norms and equality in global health. She received her undergraduate and master’s degree in public health from the University of Virginia, her doctorate from the department of Public Administration and Public Policy at American University, and she completed her post-doctoral fellowship in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.
Honors & Awards
International Studies Association, Global Health Section Best Early Investigator Paper Prize, 2019
Select Publications
Select publications
  • Shawar YR, Shiffman J. (2020). Generating global priority for addressing rheumatic heart disease: A qualitative policy analysis. Journal of the American Heart Association. 9 (8).
  • Shawar YR, Ruger JP. (2018). The World Bank and the right to health: A study of the institution’s right- based discourse. Global Health Governance. 12(1), 87-107.
  • Shawar YR, Crane L. (2017). The generation of global political priority for urban health: the role of the urban health epistemic community. Health Policy and Planning, 32(8), 1161-1173. DOI:
  • Shawar YR, Shiffman J. (2017). Generation of global political priority for early childhood development: the challenges of framing and governance. Lancet, 389(10064), 119-124. DOI:
  • Shawar YR, Shiffman J, Spiegel DA. (2015). Generation of political priority for global surgery: a qualitative policy analysis. The Lancet Global Health, 3(8), e487-e495.