Her masters is in mass communication research from MCRC, Delhi, India, with some freelancing as director in TV and corporate videos. Upon moving to the US, she proposed and hosted her own radio talk show inviting nonprofit guests at a local Asian AM channel in Dallas, TX for a year, to continue her scholarly inquiry in academia with a masters in communication from UIC and a doctoral degree from Purdue at West Lafayette examining behavior change in healthcare settings.
Her undergraduate degree background is in physics (honors) from Miranda House, Delhi University, India, which she pursued in line with her meditation quest to understand the metaphysical foundations of our lived experience through the lens of Vedic philosophy and quantum physics.
My research focuses on strategic health communication in the domain of patient-provider communication in therapeutic and integrative medicine settings. In this area, my interest is in conceptualizing whole-person-centered care that integrates the therapeutic relationship approach of distinct but synergistic traditional global medical systems like Ayurveda and biomedical knowledge systems in chronic illness and chronic pain self-management, health promotion, and disease prevention.
My upcoming book proposes an ecology of wholeness model (in pre-publication): Agarwal, V. (pre-publication, 2020). Medical humanism, chronic illness, and the body in pain: An ecology of wholeness. New York: Lexington Books. More information soon.
I take an interpretive methodological approach to improving provider-patient communication to help meet patient goals for their health and healing outcomes.
Patient-Centered Care. Through my own embodied training and practice, I am particularly interested in contributing to enhancing pragmatic and theoretical knowledge of how we achieve healing alongside health outcomes for providers and patients addressing challenges in chronic care and long-term pain management. In these and related contexts, I seek to improve individual empowerment, provider understanding and communication, and patient-centered care in the provider-patient relationship and in embodied, lived contexts defining the patient’s quality of life [e.g., through a talk at a care coordinators team workshop]
My research findings contribute to informing provider-patient and health communication contexts including:
- provider use of their body in providing care;
- provider communication preventive medicine;
- CAM provider therapeutic relationship;
- pain management for CAM patients (or here);
- understanding lower income women’s maternal approaches in developing world contexts;
- breast cancer preventive behaviors;
- vaccine behaviors for infectious diseases.
Ayurveda: Most recently, I completed data gathering for a study to understand the Ayurvedic physician’s mind-body approach in chronic pain management and completed an Advanced Course in Ayurvedic Diet and Nutrition from the International Academy of Ayurved (IAA) in India. Under intensive guidance of the course experts, I gained theoretical and practical knowledge of Ayurveda’s philosophical basis of evaluating and tailoring diet and nutrition as it informs the three physiological (panchbautic), energy (doshas, agni), and cognitive (chitta) aspects of the human body and mind through universal principles (e.g., rasa, dhatus, veerya, vipaka, prabhav) as they operate in each individual (prakriti). My Ayurveda Wellness Education Training certificate helps me better understand and communicate the potential and challenges underlying the integration of the philosophy and treatment approach of traditional healing systems (including provider-patient knowledge of and communication of preventive medicine). Likewise, my Ayurveda for Health Professionals training (70 hours) certificate provides me with a unique insight into the integrative potential of Ayurvedic protocols in the biomedical model for treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, headaches, digestive concerns, and other lifestyle-based conditions.
International Academy of Ayurveda, Pune, India: Album
Ayurveda training, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA: album
Meditation: I am interested in understanding the mind-body relationship in healing at multiple levels, including patient-centered care in domains such as cancer survivorship and chronic pain management. My research examines the aspect of healing constituted through communication–whether this is in provider-patient communication or in mind-body self-reflexive communication.
I practice Vipassana meditation, India’s most ancient and purist form of meditation, and am trained in Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagi U Ba Khin at the Dhamma Giri center, completing the 10-day meditation course in one of the world’s largest meditation centers located in Igatpuri, Nasik, Maharashtra, India.
India Research Visit Ayurveda Nutrition and Vipassana Meditation 2019:
My teaching focuses on strategic communication with a specific interest in health, technology, and the digital realm.
Outside the classroom, I am enthusiastic about supporting my students in their graduate school applications, fellowship applications, and job applications. I am always willing to listen, read, provide feedback, and share advice with my students on how to engage with the learning content from class in ways that can translate to their lived contexts and support their professional and career goals.
My classes emphasize proactive preparation, civic engagement, student-driven learning driven by discussion, myriad forms of in-and out-of-class engagement, and multiple ways of application to my students’ lives and our community.
Here is a sample of student comments from my 2019 fall Health Communication class semester-long civic engagement project.
An invited talk on maintaining an academic CV for graduate students:
A few selected photographs from events I’ve organized at the departmental and university level:
Founding Director of OURCA participant in: Council of Undergraduate Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada (2016)
Nature, quietude, and family are my foundational pillars and sources of sustenance. Besides being with my family (moments here), I am happiest in quiet solitude and a life of reflection, tapas, and observation.
My interest in nourishment, including diet and nutrition as a form of sustenance, and our planet as the material, elemental, and spiritual universe that sustains us connects my professional and personal identity in important ways.
I love to hike, run trails (my Strava, at Pemberton, our second home), cook, and spend time with my three guys, one of whom is a naughty and playful chocolate lab, the second a striving undergraduate researcher in aerospace engineering at UMD, College Park, and the third a hard working, quirky, dedicated family man.
In my life, research, teaching, and relationships, I hope to embody and communicate a spirit of wholeness with a philosophy of sustainable co-existence and fulfillment of each individual’s potential (occasional musings here; Diet and wellness: Making bread etc.)
**All Rights Reserved. (c) Vinita Agarwal 2013. All content, photographs, and ideas expressed on this site and each of my sites linked from here belong to the author.