I am driven by a profound belief in the ability of people to accomplish the incredible when anchored in justice and love. I am here to develop and use a community-driven approach to research and analysis that leverages the combined power of data and storytelling to catalyze change.
Karishma Furtado is a member of the Urban Institute’s inaugural cohort of Equity Scholars. She uses human-centered data, research, and storytelling to catalyze and measure impact, facilitate accountability, deepen understanding, and imagine what’s possible on the path to racial equity. Before joining Urban, Karishma was a founding staff member of Forward Through Ferguson, a St. Louis–based nonprofit focused on systems change to achieve racial equity; before that, she was a part of the nationally recognized Ferguson Commission following the killing of Mike Brown in 2015. She helped author the Ferguson Commission Report.
Her research on the social determinants of health sits at the intersection of race, racism, and health and is in service of advancing health equity, especially in the school setting. She has published articles in leading public health and health policy journals on the Ferguson Commission, the role of public health in advancing racial equity, and operationalizing a commitment to health equity in applied public health spaces.
Karishma holds bachelor’s degrees in biology and public policy from the University of Chicago and has completed master’s and doctorate degrees in public health with a specialization in biostatistics and epidemiology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Karishma retains affiliations with the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Forward Through Ferguson, and diversity and inclusion consultancy The Mouse and The Elephant.
Urban experts are permitted and empowered to work and affiliate with outside organizations, whether serving on boards, volunteering their time, or providing advice and counsel. And Urban welcomes visiting scholars, nonresident or affiliated fellows who work for other organizations. These outside affiliations enrich our perspectives and our learning environment. We also require all paid and unpaid experts to disclose their affiliations to Urban leadership and follow rules governing their engagement to ensure transparency for audiences and independence of experts.