Yusra Shawar
Yusra Shawar

Yusra Shawar, PhD

  • Assistant Scientist

Departmental Affiliations

  • International Health (Primary)
    • Division: Health Systems

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E8132
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

P:  410-502-8950
E: yusra.shawar@jhu.edu

Twitter: https://twitter.com/yrshawar?lang=en
ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yusra_Shawar


PhD, American University, 2016
MPH, University of Virginia, 2009
BA, University of Virginia, 2008


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 and honors

International Studies Association, Global Health Section Best Early Investigator Paper Prize, 2019

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


Select publications

  • 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, Ruger JP. (2018). The World Bank: Contested institutional progress in rights-based health discourse. In Human Rights in Global Health: Rights-Based Governance for a Globalizing World (Eds. Meir, B.M, Gostin, L.O.). UK: Oxford University Press.
  • 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: https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czx065
  • 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31574-4
  • 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.