Prior to joining Azim Premji University, Arima was teaching in the University of Delhi. She also served as a Social Scientist in IC-HEALTH, Delhi (an initiative of World Health Organization and Global Forum for Health Research) and Institute of Public Health, Bangalore. She has more than twelve years of research experience examining research themes in the areas of medical sociology, sociology of childhood and sociology of poverty and marginalization. In the area of medical sociology, she has been working on a wide range of issues including social construction of chronic illness, notions of 'evidence', in medicine and other healings systems, immunization and mother-child health, health systems governance and methodological interface between social science and public health.
She has received her training (M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D) in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. She had been an academic visitor to several universities including University of Minnesota, USA, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Edinburgh in UK, and University of Oslo, Norway.
She has been a recipient of the M.N. Srinivas Memorial Prize (2006) for her article published in the Economic and Political Weekly (2005) on an ethnography of chronic hunger based on her doctoral work. She has also received the Charles Wallace Visiting Fellowship (2009) to do research on comparative healing practices in the University of Edinburgh, UK. Apart from several journal articles and book chapters, she has authored the book on 'Hunger and Famine in Kalahandi: An Anthropological Study (Delhi, Pearson Longman, 2010), edited 'Health, illness and Medicine: Ethnographic Readings' (Delhi, Orient BlackSwan 2010) and co-edited with Suhita Chopra Chatterjee on Multiple voices and stories: Narratives of health and illness (Delhi, Orient BlackSwan, 2013).