Ohio State nav bar

IPR Affiliate Smitha Rao receives Community Engaged Scholar Award

May 7, 2024

IPR Affiliate Smitha Rao receives Community Engaged Scholar Award

Smitha Rao

The Community Engaged Scholar Award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated co-created engaged scholarship that has positively impacted communities. Community Engaged Scholars have made significant contribution to Ohio State's culture of engagement, further establishing, and strengthening the institution's commitment to communities.

Smitha Rao is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Ohio State. Smitha's work at the intersection of environment, development, and social policy includes (1) extreme weather events and contextual vulnerability, (2) improving adaptive capacities among communities to deal with climatic and other stressors, and (3) understanding the effects of air pollution on environmental health and improving access to clean energy. With community partners, she is co-leading a multi-phase research project [Weather and Aging Resilient Model (W.A.R.M)] with support from the City of Columbus and the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging to understand the perspectives and experiences of disasters and disaster preparedness among older adults and persons with disability living in affordable housing communities. Additionally, this project involves service providers working closely with these communities to understand barriers to and experiences of disaster preparedness to strengthen current systems of care. Rao's community-focused work engages graduate and undergraduate students across disciplines in research aimed at improving community lives and capacities in the face of environmental and climate challenges.