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Anita Ravishankar

Director of Criminal Justice Research (she/her)

Anita is responsible for developing and managing the execution of a rigorous and innovative research agenda to advance effective reform of policing and public safety strategies more broadly. She identifies opportunities to infuse scientific insights and methods into the design and evaluation of programs and policies that minimize harm and promote the safety and wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Before joining Arnold Ventures, Anita served as a founding member of both The Lab @ DC and the research and innovation team within the DC Metropolitan Police Department. Across those roles, she oversaw a randomized controlled trial of MPD’s body-worn camera program, designed and implemented an evaluation of a new training that equips police officers with knowledge of the historical and cultural context in policing in DC, and planned and executed a workshop series dedicated to reimagining the role of police stops in public safety. Anita developed research and evaluation initiatives across MPD program areas such as training, recruitment and community engagement and advised on other public safety projects at The Lab.

Prior to her work with District government, Anita was a researcher at CNA’s Institute for Public Research, where she served as a primary evaluator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Exercise Program, a contract team lead for multiple strategic requirements planning efforts for the Department of Homeland Security, and a researcher on regional catastrophic planning efforts. Over the course of these assignments, Anita worked on efforts requiring coordination across multiple federal departments and agencies and at multiple levels of government.

Anita is completing her PhD in political science and public policy at the University of Michigan (expected 2021). Her research takes a multi-method approach to study political trust and state legitimacy, public safety and policing, and civilian attitudinal and behavioral responses to state violence. She also holds a B.S. in Foreign Service in Science, Technology, and International Security from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Anita lives in Washington, DC with her husband and toddler son. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and testing out new recipes on willing family and friends.

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Criminal Justice

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