Nitin Agarwal, MD

PGY-4 Resident

Nitin Agarwal




Nitin Agarwal, MD, joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery residency program in July of 2014. Prior to matriculating into the residency program, Dr. Agarwal received his doctorate of medicine from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

His funded research activities focus on improving patient education to optimize patient outcomes. To date, he has published over 125 peer-reviewed articles, 10 book chapters as well as spoken at several regional and national conferences, with over 100 oral and poster presentations. Dr. Agarwal’s health literary related research has been published in several high impact factor journals including JAMA Internal Medicine and featured by prominent healthcare oriented news outlets such as Reuters Health. He is also the co-editor of the book The Evolution of Health Literacy: Empowering Patients through Improved Education.

Dr. Agarwal also maintains an active role in organized neurosurgery advocating for medical student and patient education. His article entitled “Improving Medical Student Recruitment into Neurological Surgery” was featured online by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He was appointed as a member of the Young Neurosurgeons Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and serves as the Medical Student Task Force resource coordinator and Top Gun Competition chair. Dr. Agarwal was also selected as a Council of State Neurological Societies socioeconomic fellow and continues to serve as a past resident fellow mentor. In addition, he is an advocate for philanthropic support and has been placed on the board of directors of both the Neurosurgery PAC as a young neurosurgery member and the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation as a resident liaison.

Outside of neurological surgery, Dr. Agarwal is deeply dedicated to martial arts, specifically the disciplines of taekwondo, Krav Maga, and Jiu-Jitsu

Specialized Areas of Interest

Scoliosis and complex spinal deformity; minimally invasive spine surgery; spinal biomechanics; patient education and outcomes research; socioeconomic policy in organized neurosurgery.

Professional Organization Memberships

American Association of Neurological Surgeons 
American Medical Association
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Council of State Neurological Societies

Education & Training

MD, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2014
BS, Biology, The College of New Jersey, 2010

Honors & Awards

  • First Place, Socioeconomic E-poster Award, AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, 2017
  • Socioeconomic Fellow, Council of State Neurological Societies, 2017
  • The Beckwith Institute Grant, 2016
  • Walter L. Copeland Grant, 2016
  • Charlie Kuntz IV Scholar Award, Spine Summit Outstanding Abstract, 2016
  • Peter W. Carmel, MD, Award in Neurological Surgery, 2014
  • Kenneth G. Swan, MD, Memorial Award, NJMS Student Affairs, 2014
  • NJMS Alumni Association Grant, 2011
  • Richard Pozen and Ann Silver Pozen Community Scholar, 2011
  • Armstrong Engineering Scholarship Award, 2007
  • Oval Society Award, Community Service Distinction, 2007

Selected Publications

Agarwal N, Kommana SS, Hansberry DR, Kashkoush AI, Friedlander RM, Lunsford, LD. The Accessibility, Reliability, and Usability of Neurological Surgery Resources. Neurosurgery 126(4):1263-1268, 2017.
Agarwal N, Choi PA, Okonkwo DO, Barrow DL, Friedlander RM. Financial Burden Associated with the Residency Match in Neurological Surgery. Journal of Neurosurgery 126(1):184-190, 2017.
Heary RF, Parvathreddy NK, Qayumi ZS, Ali NS, Agarwal N. Suitability of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced PEEK Cages for Use as Anterior Struts Following Corpectomy. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 25(2):248-255, 2016.
Agarwal N, Shah K, Stone JG, Ricks CB, Friedlander RM. Educational Resources “Over the Head” of Neurosurgical Patients: The Economic Impact of Inadequate Health Literacy. World Neurosurgery 84(5):1223-1236, 2015.
Heary RF, Goldstein IM, Getto KM, Agarwal N. Solid Radiographic Fusion with a Non-Constrained Device Five Years after Cervical Arthroplasty. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 21(6):951-955, 2014.
Agarwal N, Feghhi DP, Gupta R, Hansberry DR, Quinn JC, Heary RF, Goldstein IM. A Comparative Analysis of Minimally Invasive and Open Spine Surgery Patient Education Resources. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 21(3):468-74, 2014.
Agarwal N, Clark P, Svider PF, Eloy JA, Liu JK. Impact of Fellowship Training on Research Productivity in Academic Neurological Surgery. World Neurosurgery 80(6):738-744, 2013.
Agarwal N, Norrmén-Smith IO, Tomei KL, Prestigiacomo CJ, Gandhi CD. Improving Medical Student Recruitment into Neurological Surgery: A Single Institution’s Experience. World Neurosurgery 80(6):745-750, 2013.
Agarwal N, Hansberry DR, Sabourin V, Tomei KL, Prestigiacomo CJ. A Comparative Analysis of the Quality of Patient Education Materials from Medical Specialties. JAMA: Internal Medicine 173(13):1257-1259, 2013.
Heary RF, Choudhry OJ, Jalan D, Agarwal N. Analysis of Cervical Sagittal Alignment after Screw-Rod Fixation. Neurosurgery 72(6):983-992, 2013.
Dr. Agarwal’s publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Media Appearances

Chapter Profile: Pitt Neurosurgery Interest Group
Winter 2016
Young Neurosurgeons News