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Prevention Matters Podcast Episode 8: Anthony Petrosino

February ∙ 2024

On Episode 8 of the Prevention Matters podcast, I speak with Dr. Anthony Petrosino, Director of WestEd’s Justice and Prevention Research Center. I ask him about his career studying violence prevention, the effectiveness of Scared Straight programs, how to best prevent youth violence and his favorite cop movie.

Anthony Petrosino serves as Director of the WestEd Justice and Prevention Research Center, focusing on high-quality research to identify solutions that promote positive community and school environments. He is also Affiliated Faculty and Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy.


Petrosino has more than 35 years of experience conducting research in violence prevention, school safety, justice, and public health, with an emphasis in program evaluation and research synthesis. He has co-directed

several federally funded research studies, including randomized controlled trials, for the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Petrosino currently directs three public health and justice projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Prior to joining WestEd, Petrosino helped develop the Campbell Collaboration, an organization that conducts rigorous research reviews on the effects of social interventions. For example, he led the organization’s pilot review (on the “Scared Straight” delinquency prevention program), and his paper on that analysis won the 2003 Pro Humanitate Literary Award from the North American Child Welfare Resource Center. Petrosino was Founding Coordinator for the Campbell Collaboration’s Crime and Justice Group, receiving a Distinguished Service Award for his contributions.


He has co-authored nearly 200 articles, chapters, and technical reports. In 2018, he was named to the Nevada School Safety Task Force by Governor Sandoval. Petrosino also received WestEd’s Paul D. Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field in 2011, and the Campbell Collaboration’s 2018 Robert F. Boruch Award for Contributions to Public Policy. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology.


Prevention Matters Podcast

The official podcast of the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

For well over 50 years, prevention science has generated practices and policies that have improved countless lives throughout the lifespan by avoiding negative health and social outcomes (e.g., substance use disorder, academic failure, violence, mental illness) and strengthening conditions that enable individuals, families, and communities to thrive. The NPSC is dedicated to improving the reach and impact of prevention science. Join host Dr. Robert LaChausse as he interviews the most influential researchers, practitioners, and policymakers working in the field of prevention science. Each episode contains engaging conversations with powerful information to help you stay abreast of the field, connect with others like you who are doing important prevention work, and tips for improving your work and navigating the policy-making process.

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