Namita Tanya Padgaonkar
Namita Tanya Padgaonkar is a researcher at AIR. Dr. Padgaonkar conducts research and evaluation work for programs focused on supporting youth and their communities. She is dedicated to using evidence to improve the lives of young people, particularly those impacted by the juvenile justice system. As such, her work spans the multiple contexts in which youth develop. Her projects include conducting evaluations of prevention and intervention strategies across the criminal/legal system, public health and health systems, and education. She strives to continuously learn from the youth and communities engaged in research partnerships to ensure that programs are contextually relevant and community-informed.
Currently, Dr. Padgaonkar serves as the project director for a mixed-methods evaluation of the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Pre-trial Juvenile Diversion Program. This evaluation, funded by AIR’s Equity Initiative, will synthesize evidence from interviews and focus groups with youth, diversion program staff, community members, and the published literature to inform what successful diversion means, including identifying outcomes of importance for justice-impacted populations. We will also examine how changes to the Diversion Program can influence more equitable outcomes for young people.
Dr. Padgaonkar's doctoral work investigated the multi-faceted relationships between adolescent brain development, mental health, and risky decision-making. She brings the neuro-developmental lens she developed in graduate school to her present work, ensuring that programs designed for youth are developmentally appropriate and promote positive youth development.