Anita Raj, PhD, MS

(she/her/hers) Executive Director, Newcomb Institute of Tulane University, Nancy Reeves Dreux Endowed Chair

Professor, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Office Address
43 Newcomb Place, Suite 301, New Orleans, LA 70118
Head shot photo of Anita Raj

Education & Affiliations

Post-Doctoral Training, Senior Researcher, Boston University of Public Health, Boston, MA
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Association of Teachers of Preventative Medicine STI/HIV, Birmingham, AL; Athens, GA
PhD, Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
MS, Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
BS, Mississippi College, Clinton, MS


Anita Raj is the Executive Director of the Newcomb Institute and the Nancy Reeves Dreux Endowed Chair in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University. She is a research scientist trained in developmental psychology and public health with a multi-disciplinary research focus on gender equity in global health and development. She has led federal grant and foundation-funded studies on gender theory and measurement science, sexual and reproductive health, maternal and adolescent health, women’s empowerment, and gender inequalities, including gender-based violence and child marriage. She has approximately 300 peer-reviewed publications and is recognized as one of the most cited social scientists globally. She created and leads the EMERGE platform, which provides open access evidence-based measures on gender empowerment, built indicators on gender empowerment in national surveys for global tracking of SDG5: Building gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls and offers technical assistance to survey researchers and implementers working on gender empowerment. She also created and leads the Violence EXperiences (VEX) study, now operating in California and Louisiana, to assess state-wide data on experiences of violence, discrimination, and mental health, to support data-driven policy decision-making on these issues. She has served as an advisor to UN Women, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Blue Shield Foundation of California, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation on gender equity and health as well as women’s empowerment issues, and she has been an invited speaker at the U.N. General Assembly on child, early, and forced marriage. She is also on the International Advisory Board for Lancet Global Health. She is the Co-Chair of the Committee on Gender Empowerment, Sociodemographic Development, and Population Dynamics for the National Academy of Sciences.


Focus: Epidemiologic and qualitative assessment of gendered, social, and cultural vulnerabilities compromising reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and adolescent health across national settings.

View Dr. Raj's publications on her NCBI profile page.

View Dr. Raj's faculty page for the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University here

View Dr. Raj's CV here.


Honors & Awards

  • UC San Diego Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Scholar Mentoring, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, (2016)    

  • UC San Diego Faculty Research Lecturer Award, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA,(2015)        

  • YWCA TWIN Award Recipient, Nominee for Humanitarian Award, YWCA, San Diego, (2014)    

  • Chosen Member of Academic Keys Who's Who in Health Sciences Education (WWHSE), (2005)   

  • Substance Abuse Prevention Faculty Fellow, Centers for Substance Abuse Prevention, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA,(1999 - 2001)

  • University-Wide Minority Research Fellow, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, (1995 - 1996)