Ishita Ghai

Ishita Ghai
Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND, and Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.B.A. in marketing, business analytics, University of California, Davis; Ed.M. in international education policy, Harvard University; B.Tech. in bioinformatics, Vellore Institute of Technology


Ishita (Ishi) Ghai is an assistant policy researcher at RAND and a doctoral candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She is interested in exploring the applications, implications, and ethics pertaining to wearable technology and health IoTs from the lens of behavioral economics. At RAND, she has worked on randomized control trials (RCTs) based in Uganda and Los Angeles, with a specific focus on the evaluation of behavioral economics-based interventions to support long-term medication adherence. She has also worked on RCTs evaluating community-based interventions to support the uptake of HIV and cervical cancer screening and treatment in Uganda. Prior to joining Pardee RAND, she was a research assistant at the University of California, Davis, where she helped set up the Center for Analytics and Technology in Society at the Graduate School of Management. 

She has an M.B.A. in Business Analytics and Marketing from the University of California, Davis, an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from Harvard University, and a B.Tech. in Bioinformatics from Vellore Institute of Technology.

In a past life, she consulted with government and non-profit entities in MENA and Southeast Asia on issues concerning education policy and programming.

Selected Publications

Sarah MacCarthy, Zachary Wagner, Uzaib Saya, Ishita Ghai, Yvonne Karamagi, Mary Odiit, Barbara Mukasa, Sebastian Linnemayr2, "Food Insecurity During the COVID‑19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Mixed‑Methods Study from a Cohort of HIV Clients in Uganda," AIDS and Behavior, 2023

Chad Stecher ; Ishita Ghai; Lillian Lunkuse; Peter Wabukala; Mary Odiit; Agnes Nakanwagi; Sebastian Linnemayr , "Incentives and Reminders to Improve Long-term Medication Adherence (INMIND): Protocol for a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial," JMIR Research Protocols, 11(10), 2022

Sunita M. Desai; Jiejie Wang; Uttara M. Ananthakrishnan; Ishita Ghai; Ateev Mehrotra; Hemant K. Bhargava, "Estimation of Potential Savings Associated With Switching Medication Formulation," JAMA Health Forum, 3(2), 2022

Kimberly D. Elsbach; Ishita Ghai, "Full-cycle research in family business contexts: combining qualitative case studies and quantitative methods," Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Family Business, 2020

Honors & Awards

  • GSM Alumni Association Award, UC Davis Graduate School of Management
  • Brad Atwood Scholarship, UC Davis Graduate School of Management
  • Special Achiever's Award, Vellore Institute of Technology


Hindi; English