Niharika Khanal: Quality of Care and Chronic Disease Management

By Nicole Versaevel, HIS Program Coordinator

Niharika's hometown: Delhi, India


Niharika Khanal is a current PhD student in the Health Information Science program. Having recently started the program in September 2022, she is enjoying coursework, and research methods in particular. While in the program, Niharika is exploring her interests in qualitative research methods, patient quality of life, and tools to enhance quality of care for those with chronic diseases. Her overarching goal is to contribute to improving the health and lives of people who do not readily have access to health care, such as people living outside of large metropolitan areas.

Niharika’s passion for health care advocacy was fostered by her parents, both of whom worked in government health care positions. She credits their encouragement and example for igniting her own interest in quality health care, especially care that can reach those in rural areas.

Niharika's academic journey began in India, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in the homeopathic system of medicine. Early in her career, the focus was on the provision of clinical care. As the manager of clinical operations for four branches, she was able to develop skills in management, training, product implementation and leadership. She found it particularly meaningful to provide health education on disease prevention in community-based settings. As a clinic manager, she often listened to stories and hardships that patients faced. As a witness to suffering, she experienced first-hand the impact that counselling and medication could have.

Fun Fact

Niharika is a member of the dance club at Western.

The next leg of Niharika’s journey took her to the United States to complete a combined master’s degree in Health Systems Management and Business Administration. This led her to work as a business analyst at a Health Care Revenue Cycle Management company. In this position, her interest in Health Information Science was sparked through her exposure to health informatics and data analysis tools. As a result, Niharika and her family moved to Canada so that she could pursue her PhD.

When she is not studying, Niharika likes to be extremely active. Whether it is fitness, travel, dancing, singing, or painting she puts a wholehearted effort into maintaining balance in her life. Not one to sit still, she takes a proactive approach to all that she encounters. Friends describe Niharika as an honest, hard-working, fun-loving and a people person. She is committed to integrating feedback she receives for self- improvement. Not one to procrastinate, she likes organization and working ahead on things. Her motto is “do something well or don’t do it at all”.

In the future, Niharika aspires to influence and make positive changes to health systems operations. Where she will go next is still an open question, but with her sense of adventure and desire for continued career development, the world is her oyster.