Nitin Agarwal, MD

  • Chief Resident

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 Doctor 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 200 peer-reviewed articles and 10 book chapters and has spoken at several regional and national conferences, with over 100 oral and poster presentations. His health literacy 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 the co-editor of the book The Evolution of Health Literacy: Empowering Patients through Improved Education. In October of 2018, his multi-contributor guide for aspiring neurosurgeons, Neurosurgery Fundamentals, was released by Thieme Medical Publishers.

​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 (AANS) and serves as Sections Division Coordinator and Top Gun Competition chair. He was also selected as a Council of State Neurological Societies socioeconomic fellow and continues to serve as a past resident fellow mentor as well as an alternate delegate appointee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS). In addition, he is an advocate for philanthropic support and has been placed on the board of directors of the Neurosurgery PAC, as a young neurosurgeon member, and served as a resident liaison for the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation. In the fall of 2018, he was selected to be a part of the CNS Resident Fellows program for the 2019 to 2020 term. 

Dr. Agarwal is pursuing an enfolded fellowship in minimally invasive and complex spine surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and plans to complete further training in this subspecialty during post-residency through an approved fellowship with the Committee on Advanced Subspecialty Training (CAST) at the University of California, San Francisco. 

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 Membership

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Association of South Asian Neurosurgeons
Council of State Neurological Societies
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
North American Spine Society
Society of Lateral Access Surgery
Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Education & Training

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

Honors & Awards

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Distinguished Junior Mentor Award, 2020
  • Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation Travel Grant, European Association of Neurosurgical Societies Spine Training Course, 2020
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons Resident Fellow, 2019-2020
  • Young Surgeon Grant, Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Annual Forum, 2019
  • Young Investigator Award, Annual Society of Lateral Access Surgery Meeting, 2019
  • First Place History E-poster Award, American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting, 2019
  • Young Surgeon Travel Grant, Annual Meeting: State of Surgery Think Tank, 2019
  • Socioeconomics, Health Policy, & Law Top Paper of the Year, Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, 2018
  • Journalistic and Academic Neurosurgical Excellence (J.A.N.E.) Award, AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, 2018
  • Socioeconomic E-poster Award, First Place, AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, 2017
  • Socioeconomic E-poster Award, First Place, AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, 2017
  • 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, Gupta R, Agarwal P, Matthew P, Wolferz R, Shah A, Adeeb N, Prabhu AV, Kanter AS, Okonkwo DO, Hamilton DK. Descriptive Analysis of State and Federal Spine Surgery Malpractice Litigation in the United States. Spine Journal 43(14):984-990, 2018.

Agarwal N, Heary RF, Agarwal P. Adjacent-Segment Disease after Thoracic Pedicle Screw Fixation. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 28(3):280-286, 2018.

Agarwal N, Agarwal P, Querry A, Mazurkiewicz A, Tempel ZJ, Friedlander RM, Gerszten PC, Hamilton D, Okonkwo DO, Kanter AS. Implementation of an Infection Prevention Bundle and Increased Physician Awareness Improves Surgical Outcomes and Reduces Costs Associated with Spine Surgery. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine [Epub ahead of print], 2018.

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.
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

Managing Early Success
February 9, 2020
Neurosurgery Podcast

NeurosurgeryPAC: Nonpartisan Support of Candidates Advocating for Neurosurgeons
February 2019
AANS Young Neurosurgeons News

Increased physician awareness may decrease infection incidence, implant cost
September 13, 2018
Healio Orthopedics Today

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