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Dr. Urmi Ashar helps organizations with adaptive actions by providing an emotional impetus to people within the organizations to leap forth into courageous action when facing a chaotic world marked by an accelerated pace of change. Her focus on organizational adaptation emanates from her deep understanding of human systems dynamics, Spiral dynamics, and implementing the blue ocean approach to strategic value innovation through disruptive innovation. 

In her organizational work, Urmi uses insights from the study and practice of medicine, science, education, and business and her experience of bridging multiple generations in two cultures - American and Indian - to build complex, non-conventional solutions to organizational learning challenges. She is energetic, imaginative, and confident in the face of an unpredictable, emergent world, along with a natural inclination to connect with people while generating trust within the ecosystem. She is comfortable with ambiguity and has a predisposition towards cognitive playfulness and intellectual curiosity. Her leadership inspires people around her to move towards inspired action fueled by their own curiosity and a deep desire to learn. She has extensive experience working with and facilitating boards' to craft their approach to governance, strategic planning, and creating foundations for learning communities within healthcare and technology organizations. She has convened meetings of large groups of diverse stakeholders, leveraging her clinical and research experience utilizing a systems lens in an approach grounded in the practice of appreciative inquiry to build new programs and garner resources for the same. Her areas of research interest are solving complex healthcare and public health problems using tools from complexity sciences and systems thinking toolkits.

Dr. Ashar serves as the Director of Public Health Programs at Duquesne University's Rangos School of Health Sciences. In her role, she focuses on building the Public Health Program, incorporating an experiential foundation for all learning in the classrooms and the field experiences by engaging in community-engaged approaches to teaching and learning. 

Dr. Ashar is currently active with Human Systems Dynamics Institute and serves on the board of The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh and The Cornerstone Residence in Clairton. In the past, she served as President of TranforMEDx LLC, a Pittsburgh-based consulting firm specializing in transformative services for the healthcare industry, with a mission to help all stakeholders within the healthcare marketplace to launch innovative socio-technical initiatives to help improve overall population health by focusing on upstream determinants of health. She has responsibly executed strategic cultural changes by engaging boards, executive management, middle management, and front-line staff in multi-disciplinary endeavors to create a shared vision by leveraging emotional drivers of human motivation.

Urmi was the founding President and CEO of NACD Three Rivers and was awarded NACD Board Leadership Fellows award at NACD Directorship Forum on Board Innovation in 2011. She served as a trustee of Excela Health System, a Senior Research Advisor to the High-Reliability Organization Council, and is on the innovation Council of Washington DC-based Capital Expert Services. As a practicing clinical anesthesiologist, Urmi had a sizeable clinical anesthesiology and pain clinic practice in Mumbai, India, before her path led her to the business world by founding highly successful business ventures. As a successful entrepreneur, she has tremendous experience helping groups come together and has led them while creating and committing enthusiastically to a shared vision. 

She has taught at Carnegie Mellon's H. John Heinz lll School of Public Policy and Management Institute & Institute for Social Innovation. She has led an award-winning project at the Heinz School's Institute for Social Innovation. She has previously managed research projects in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University, working with gifted, talented, and high-functioning individuals with Autism. She has organized international conferences, online webinars, and discussion forums for various gifted and talented parents forums. She was involved in the founding stages of Davidson Institute for the Gifted and Talented. 

Dr. Ashar earned her MBA from the University of Colorado and has attained a diploma in Entrepreneurship for Life Sciences Technology from UPMC. She has extensively studied human systems dynamics and Change Labs at ALIA Institute and Society for Organizational Learning. She earned her MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) and MD from KEM Hospital and the University of Mumbai's Seth G.S. Medical College. She was a Diplomate of the National Board in Anesthesiology (India) before attaining her USMLE certification in the United States.



  • MBBS, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Mumbai, India, 1989
  • MD, Doctor of Medicine, University of Mumbai, India, 1994
  • MBA, University of Colorado, 2005





Kossovsky N, Ashar U. Reputation loss: a palpable intangible asset-liability. Wild J, ed. Intellectual Asset Management Magazine. Published online April 4, 2011:19-24.

Reputation loss: a palpable intangible asset liability

Report of the NACD Blue Ribbon Commission the Diverse Board: Moving from Interest to Action 2012. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Report of the NACD Blue Ribbon Commission The Diverse Board: Moving From Interest to Action 2012

*Contributing author and Special Research lead.

Ashar U. Protecting the ultimate intangible - IAM - Informing IP value. Wild J, ed. Intellectual Asset Management Magazine. Published online March/April, 2012:31-34. Accessed May 2, 2022.