Rajiv N. Rimal, Ph.D., M.A.

Rajiv N. Rimal, Ph.D., M.A.

Professor and Chair of Prevention and Community Health

  • Phone: 202-994-3570
  • Fax: 202-994-3601
  • Email: rrimal@gwu.edu
  • Office Address:
    950 New Hampshire Avenue
    302 - Floor 5
    Washington, DC 20052

Dr. Rajiv N. Rimal is Professor and Chair of the Department of Prevention and Community Health in the School of Public Health at George Washington University. He has served as Chair of the Health Communication Divisions of both the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association. He is the recipient of the Everett M. Rogers Award in Public Health Education and Health Promotion, awarded by the American Public Health Association. Dr. Rimal has 20 years of experience in health communication and risk communication research. His work seeks to understand how individuals process risk information and how societal norms affect human behavior. His most recent work focuses on developing, implementing, and evaluating HIV prevention interventions through the use of mass media, mobilization of community resources, and promotion of interpersonal communication in sub-Saharan Africa. He is also investigating the role of public policy in tobacco control efforts in India. His recent work has investigated how stigma toward people living with HIV and AIDS can be reduced through the media, how media and community efforts can empower young girls in Africa to remain healthy, and how communication theory can be used for effective HIV prevention. He is conducting or has recently completed research in several countries, including Ethiopia, India, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Uganda and the United States.


Bachelor's of Engineering (Electrical Engineering), Bhopal University, India, 1988 Master's of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, USA, 1991 PhD in Communication, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, 1995


Dr. Rimal's research focuses on the use of social and behavioral theory for disease prevention. His research in health communication investigates the role of various factors that prompt people to take up healthy behaviors, given up unhealthy ones, and maintain the changes they have adopted. Of particular interest to him are structural, social, and psychological concepts that prompt behavior change. These include access to resources and care; social norms; risk perceptions; and people's beliefs about their own abilities. He is currently working on an HIV prevention project in Malawi, and he is evaluating the implementation of anti-tobacco policies in seven states in India.

Community Service

Dr. Rimal serves as a peer reviewer or a member of the editorial board for a number of journals in psychology, public health, and communication. He also serves as a mentor to instructors and students from Jimma University in Ethiopia.


  • Global Health
  • Health Communication
  • Program Evaluation