Skip Navigation

Faculty Directory

Anita Vernekar Shankar, PhD

  • Associate Scientist

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E8132
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


SEE Change Initiative

View Current Courses


PhD, Case Western Reserve University, 1995
MS, Case Western Reserve University, 1987
BS, University of Maryland, 1984


Anita Shankar, PhD, is a medical anthropologist with more than 25 years of research and field experience targeted at improving women’s empowerment as well as maternal and child health. Her research focuses on investigating and testing innovative cognitive-behavioral interventions directed at fostering personal agency as a means of catalyzing positive behavior change. Her research focuses along three intersecting lines of research (1) understanding factors impacting the expanded distribution and use of clean energy technologies in resource poor settings; (2) examining the role of women, as entrepreneurs and primary household energy managers, as essential levers for improved health through effective engagement along clean energy value chains and (3) laying 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 and has led a global training of trainers’ program to scale this initiative to clean energy organizations worldwide. She is Principal Investigator for an ongoing randomized controlled trial in Rwandan refugee camps to assess the impacts of clean cookstove technologies and a couples’ based personal agency intervention on decreasing the risk of both non-partner and intimate-partner violence in humanitarian settings.

  • women's empowerment
  • cognitive-behavioral interventions
  • personal agency
  • women's entrepreneurship
  • clean energy technology
  • cookstoves
  • behavior change

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