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Rajiv N. Rimal, PhD

  • Chair, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society
  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

624 N. Broadway
Hampton House 704
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

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PhD, Stanford University, 1995
MA, Southern Illinois University, 1991
BE, Bhopal University, 1988


Dr. Rimal’s area of expertise is in social and behavior change interventions, focusing on gender and social norms-based approaches to improving the health of women, girls, and vulnerable members of society. His work on social norms has led to innovative interventions for behavior change in the areas of alcohol consumption among college students, violence against women, family planning and use of modern contraception methods, AIDS prevention, road safety behaviors, and adolescent health. His health communication expertise has been used to evaluate work in climate communication, focusing on those who are skeptical about climate change. He is currently running a large randomized trial to reduce anemia among women of reproductive age in India. In Nepal, he is running an intervention to improve immunization rates among infants.

Honors and Awards

Everett M. Rogers Award in Public Health Promotion and Health Communication, American Public Health Association

Outstanding Teacher, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

Combined ICA & NCA Distinguished Article Award, International Communication Association & National Communication Association

Advisor to the Master's Thesis of the Year (Sarah Gibson, Advisee), Joint International & National Communication Association

Past Chair, Health Communication Division, International Communication Association

Past Chair, Health Communication Division, National Communication Association

Top-Four Paper Awards, Health Communication Division, International Communication Association annual conferences in 2010, 2009 (two papers), 2008, 2004, 2003 (two papers), 2002, 2001, 2000, 1994.

Top-Four Paper Awards, Health Communication Division, National Communication Association annual conferences in 2004, 2002.

Nathan Maccobby Award for Excellence in Communication Research, Stanford University, 1995

  • Health communication
  • risk communication
  • risky behaviors
  • adolescent health
  • health promotion
  • climate communication
  • social norms
  • gender based studies
  • anemia
  • vaccination & immunization

Recent publications

  • Bieniek-Tobasco, A., McCormick, S., Rimal, R. N., Harrington, C. B., Shafer, M., & Shaikh, H. (2019). Communicating climate change through documentary film: Imagery, emotion and efficacy. Climatic Change, 154, 1-18.
  • Ganz, O., Rimal, R., Cohn, A. M., Johnson, A. L., Delnevo, C., & Horn, K. (2019). Receptivity to tobacco advertising among young adults with internalizing problems: Findings from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Substance Use and Misuse. DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2019.1688349
  • Sedlander, E., & Rimal, R. N. (2019). Beyond individual-level theorizing in social norms research: How collective norms and media access affect adolescents’ use of contraception. Journal of Adolescent Health, 64, S31-36.
  • Sedlander, E., Bingenheimer, J. B., Edberg, M., Rimal, R., Shaikh, H., & Munar, W. (in press). Understanding modern contraception uptake in one Ethiopian community: A case study. Reproductive Health.
  • Sedlander, E., Rimal, R.N., Talegawkar, S., *Yilma, H., & Munar. W. (2018). Designing a socio-normative intervention to reduce anemia in India: A formative research protocol. Gates Open Research.
  • Reduction in Anemia through Normative Innovations (RANI) Project
  • Rejoice Architecture Meets Social Norms to Accelerate Vaccination in Nepal