Gulrez Shah Azhar

Photo of Gulrez Azhar
Adjunct Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in policy analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School; M.D. in community medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, India; M.P.H. in advanced epidemiology and biostatistics, Universities of Sheffield and Copenhagen and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique; M.B.B.S. in medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, India


Gulrez Shah Azhar is an adjunct policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in public policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Previously he was a senior fellow with the forecasting team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington in Seattle. Prior to that he was an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, part of the Public Health Foundation of India. There he worked on issues of environmental health, climate change, and infectious diseases, focusing on surveillance and early-warning systems. Azhar has been with the Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. He worked on a systematic review of self-management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and on developing a prioritized research agenda for NCD research in low and middle-income countries.

Azhar completed his M.P.H. through the universities of Sheffield and Copenhagen and the École des Hautes Études en Santé Publique (EHESP) in Rennes, France. He is also a medical doctor with post-graduate medical residency training in Community Medicine from the J N Medical College, AMU, India. He is the winner of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship of the European Commission and several other research grants including from the Wellcome Trust. He has published in several journals, presented at various conferences including as an invited speaker. He has also offered and completed short courses and training in related subjects. His interests are in health, environment, population, and development issues.

Honors & Awards

  • Erasmus Mundus, European Commission
  • Eugene and Maxine Rosenfeld Dissertation Award, Pardee RAND Graduate School
  • Rice Scholar, Pardee RAND Graduate School




  • Men sleep on a temporary shade built over a drain next to a slum on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, May 28, 2015

    Mitigating India's Climate-Change Misery

    Despite years of dire forecasts, the international community has been unable to halt the steady climb in global temperatures, and it is the world's poorest who are paying the heaviest toll. As heat-related risks intensify, those living on the margins—in India and elsewhere—will need help to cope effectively.

    Oct 11, 2018 Project Syndicate

  • A man selling air coolers rests at a market on a hot summer day in Ahmedabad, India May 4, 2017

    Staying Cool—as the Globe Warms

    Studies suggest that the heat of the future will exceed humans' capacity to cope. But taking advantage of smart technology, inexpensive traditional methods of cooling that require little energy use, and innovative energy-efficient technologies could provide a sustainable path forward in heat-challenged regions.

    Apr 23, 2018 Science and Development Network

  • A man walks through a field amidst smog in New Delhi, India, February 7, 2018.

    Can Dirty-Air Discontent in New Delhi Push India Toward Greener Days?

    The downside to India's dramatic economic growth is New Delhi's off-the-charts air pollution. Public health officials have compared the harms of breathing in India's capital to smoking dozens of cigarettes a day. How bad must things become before Indians demand change and make it stick?

    Mar 22, 2018 Inside Sources

  • People displaced by drought in Somalia arrive at the Dolo Ado camp in neighboring Ethiopia and queue to be registered by the aid agencies running the camp

    Moving Countries, Seeking Refuge from Climate Change

    By the middle of this century, experts estimate that climate change is likely to displace between 150 and 300 million people. It is daunting to envision such large flows of people, but that is why the global community should start doing so now.

    Dec 19, 2017 The Conversation

  • Laborers work at a road construction site in Kolkata, India, February 27, 2017

    How Hot Is Too Hot? Rising Temperatures and the Workplace

    Climate change is here. Future extreme heat waves are a given and will likely grow in intensity, geographic reach, and duration. Plans must be made now to ensure survival of the poorest, to protect outdoor workers, and to adapt economic planning to what is increasingly becoming a hotter planet.

    Nov 16, 2017 Mint

  • Residential apartments next to the dried-up Ratanpura lake on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India May 9, 2016

    Another Casualty of Climate Change: Peace

    The connection between human conflict and climate change is no mere coincidence. Drought, temperature and tensions rise in tandem, with the implicit threat of violent conflict not far behind.

    Aug 15, 2017 Project Syndicate

  • A mother and her child walk along the Ganges river during a dust storm on a hot summer day in Allahabad, India, June 9, 2015

    Where Are India's Heat Hotspots?

    Poverty, poor sanitation, a precarious water and electricity supply, and limited access to health care make India vulnerable to heat waves. Rural and urban districts could improve their preparedness by developing and targeting local adaptation strategies.

    May 17, 2017 The RAND Blog

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave before their meeting at Hyderabad House, New Delhi, January 25, 2015

    U.S.-India Relations: Will the Obama-Modi Personal Chemistry Suffice?

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India has generated generally positive reactions from analysts. These judgments will be reinforced if the leaders' current chemistry changes Indo-U.S. policy for the better.

    Feb 3, 2015 The RAND Blog