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Associate Scientist
Anita Shankar

Departmental Affiliations

Social and Behavioral Interventions

Center & Institute Affiliations

Anita Shankar, PhD, MS, researches and develops behavioral interventions to foster personal agency and leadership in vulnerable populations to support human flourishing.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E8132

Research Interests

women's empowerment; cognitive-behavioral interventions; personal agency; women's entrepreneurship; clean energy technology; behavior change
Experiences & Accomplishments
Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University
University of Maryland
Anita Shankar, PhD, is an Associate Scientist in the Department of International Health, in Social Behavioral Interventions. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Shankar’s research has spanned a range of health and development issues including women’s empowerment, gender-based violence, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, community mobilization and human resource capacity building. A current focus of her work is on developing interventions to strengthen personal agency as a mechanism of catalyzing equality and equity for women and other disadvantaged populations. Of her more than 25 years of research and field experience in international health, she has spent nearly 14 years living and working in Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia and also has research studies in India, Kenya and Rwanda. Through her work on strengthening resilience of vulnerable populations, her research hopes to lay the scientific foundation and tools for personal agency-based empowerment interventions to increase human adaptability, secure livelihoods and improve health.

Dr. Shankar is a lead author on the Empowered Entrepreneur training handbook. She is Principal investigator on randomized controlled trial in Rwandan refugee settings to assess the impacts of clean cookstove technologies and a couple’s based personal agency intervention on decreasing the risk of gender-based violence (both non-partner and intimate-partner) in humanitarian settings. She serves as a Lead Investigator and Executive Director of the Self-Empowerment and Equity for Change (SEE Change) Initiative, a global training program focused on the empowerment of women at Johns Hopkins University. The SEE Change Initiative conducts international gender-informed research, evidence-based training and support services that help entrepreneurs and employees build positive mental habits, realize their leadership potential, and achieve their personal and professional goals.
Select Publications
Recent publications
  • Shankar A, Sundar S, Smith G. Agency-Based Empowerment Interventions: Efforts to Enhance Decision-Making and Action in Health and Development. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research 2018 Feb 23. doi: 10.1007/s11414-018-9592-0.
  • Shankar, AV, Onyura, M and Alderman, J. Agency-based empowerment training enhances sales capacity of female cookstove entrepreneurs in Kenya. Journal of Health Communications 2015; 20 Suppl 1:67-75.
  • Shankar A, Johnson M, Kay E, Pannu R, Beltramo T, Derby E, Harrell S, Davis C, Petach H. Maximizing the benefits of improved cookstoves: moving from acquisition to correct and consistent use. Glob Health Sci Pract. 2014; 2(3):268-74. Review
  • Shankar AV, Asrilla Z, Kadha JK, Sebayang S, Apriatni M, Sulastri A, Sunarsih E, Shankar AH on behalf of the SUMMIT Study Group. Food Nut Bull. 2009;30(2). S207-S214. Programmatic effects of a large-scale multiple-micronutrient supplementation trial in Indonesia: Using community facilitators as intermediaries for behavior change.
  • Supplementation with Multiple Micronutrients Intervention Trial (SUMMIT) Study Group, Shankar AH, Jahari AB, Sebayang SK, Aditiawarman, Apriatni M, Harefa B, Muadz H, Soesbandoro SD, Tjiong R, Fachry A, Shankar AV, Atmarita, Prihatini S, Sofia G. Effect of maternal multiple micronutrient supplementation on fetal loss and infant death in Indonesia: a double-blind cluster-randomised trial. Lancet. 2008; 371(9608):215-27
Impacts of clean cookstoves and empowerment training on gender based violence in humanitarian settings in Rwanda