Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan, PhD

Asst Professional Researcher
GHS - Programs

My research interests lie in investigating the social, cultural, and economic factors that underpin gender inequality, such as inequitable gender norms and violence against women, girls, and children, and understanding the pathways through which gender inequities and low empowerment of women manifest in adverse physical and mental health outcomes among women in South Asia.

My current research projects include developing and testing a life-skills and health empowerment-based intervention to reduce unintended pregnancies among newly married couples in rural Rajasthan; examining the effectiveness of a digital health intervention to improve postnatal health outcomes for women through a multi-site randomized controlled trial in India.

My dissertation was focused on understanding the pathways between gender norms, women’s empowerment, and their impact on women’s health and well-being in South Asia.

I have 14 years of relevant work experience in public health and social determinants of health including education, gender, and nutrition in nonprofit and private sector organizations with funding agencies including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (formerly DFID), UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank, and private sector foundations. I also hold a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Fulbright Scholarship and a Master of Science in Information Systems from the London School of Economics.


Temporary childbirth migration and maternal health care in India.

PloS one

Diamond-Smith N, Gopalakrishnan L, Patil S, Fernald L, Menon P, Walker D, El Ayadi AM

Preliminary impact of an mHealth education and social support intervention on maternal health knowledge and outcomes among postpartum mothers in Punjab, India.

Research square

El Ayadi AM, Diamond-Smith NG, Duggal M, Singh P, Sharma P, Kaur J, Gopalakrishnan L, Gill N, Singh G, Ahuja A, Kumar V, Weil L, Bagga R

The Role of Gender Norms on Intimate Partner Violence Among Newly Married Adolescent Girls and Young Women in India: A Longitudinal Multilevel Analysis.

Violence against women

Gopalakrishnan L, Bertozzi S, Bradshaw P, Deardorff J, Shakya Baker H, Rabe-Hesketh S

The relationship between the gendered norm of eating last and mental health of newly married women in Nepal: A longitudinal study.

Maternal & child nutrition

Gopalakrishnan L, Diamond-Smith N, Acharya B, Puri M, Bertozzi SM

Exploratory qualitative study examining acceptability of strategies to improve access to substance use treatment and HIV prevention services for young adults on probation in Ukraine.

BMJ open

Dauria E, Skipalska H, Gopalakrishnan L, Savenko O, Sabadash L, Tolou-Shams M, Flanigan T, Navario P, Castillo TP

Barriers to maternal and reproductive health care in India due to COVID-19

Advances in Global Health

Diamond-Smith N, Gopalakrishnan L, Gutierrez S, Francis S, Saikia N, Patil S

Epidemiology and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Kerala, India, 2020-2021: A Cross-Sectional Study.

Tropical medicine and infectious disease

Jaya AM, Harries AD, Rahman A, Khogali M, Chinnakali P, Gopalakrishnan LG, Pillai MN

The development and feasibility of a group-based household-level intervention to improve preconception nutrition in Nawalparasi district of Nepal.

BMC public health

Diamond-Smith N, Mitchell A, Cornell A, Dahal M, Gopalakrishnan L, Johnson M, Weiser S, Puri M

Is respectful care provided by community health workers associated with infant feeding practices? A cross sectional analysis from India.

BMC health services research

Diamond-Smith N, Gopalakrishnan L, Walker D, Fernald L, Menon P, Patil S

Bringing juvenile justice and public health systems together to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of justice-involved youth.

The American journal of orthopsychiatry

Tolou-Shams M, Dauria EF, Rosen RK, Clark MA, Spetz J, Levine A, Marshall BDL, Folk JB, Gopalakrishnan L, Nunn A, project emPOWER’D expert consultant panel

Association between supportive supervision and performance of community health workers in India: a longitudinal multi-level analysis.

Human resources for health

Gopalakrishnan L, Diamond-Smith N, Avula R, Menon P, Fernald L, Walker D, Patil S

The Ethical Implications of Using Social Media to Engage and Retain Justice-Involved Youth in Behavioral Health Research.

Journal of empirical research on human research ethics : JERHRE

Rodriguez CA, Gopalakrishnan L, Del Cid M, Folk JB, Yonek J, Tolou-Shams M

Anganwadi worker time use in Madhya Pradesh, India: a cross-sectional study.

BMC health services research

Jain A, Walker DM, Avula R, Diamond-Smith N, Gopalakrishnan L, Menon P, Nimmagadda S, Patil SR, Fernald LCH

Using mHealth to improve health care delivery in India: A qualitative examination of the perspectives of community health workers and beneficiaries.

PloS one

Gopalakrishnan L, Buback L, Fernald L, Walker D, Diamond-Smith N, in addition to The CAS Evaluation Consortium

The Prospective Impact of Family Functioning and Parenting Practices on Court-Involved Youth's Substance Use and Delinquent Behavior.

Journal of youth and adolescence

Folk JB, Brown LK, Marshall BDL, Ramos LMC, Gopalakrishnan L, Koinis-Mitchell D, Tolou-Shams M

Effects of an mHealth intervention for community health workers on maternal and child nutrition and health service delivery in India: protocol for a quasi-experimental mixed-methods evaluation.

BMJ open

Nimmagadda S, Gopalakrishnan L, Avula R, Dhar D, Diamond-Smith N, Fernald L, Jain A, Mani S, Menon P, Nguyen PH, Park H, Patil SR, Singh P, Walker D

Lead exposure and visual-motor abilities in children from Chennai, India.


Palaniappan K, Roy A, Balakrishnan K, Gopalakrishnan L, Mukherjee B, Hu H, Bellinger DC