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As Policy Director in the Mayor's Office, Dr. Chainani founded the GovLabPHL Initiative in 2016, an initiative centered on elevating the practical use of data and evidence across city government.

The 2020 GovLabPHL conference provided actionable, evidence-based insights from social science that were later used by the City during Mayor Kenney's second term to advance key priorities including  poverty reduction, education, and violence prevention.

Resident Survey

Resident Survey

Dr. Chainani led the development, implementation, and analysis of the second “Philadelphia Resident Survey” for the Kenney Administration to ask Philadelphians how local government should prioritize Philadelphia's $4.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2021 and in the five-year plan. 

Dr. Chainani managed the collaboration which included the Mayor's Policy Office, Mayor's Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Services, the Office of Performance Management, and Temple University's Institute of Survey Research.

Organization and Program Development

Dr. Chainani has over 15 years of experience developing and designing programs in a public sector context.  Dr. Chainani currently teaches Master of Social Work graduate students organizational and program development, including the theoretical concepts and practical tools affecting social service agencies.


The course prepares students both to effectively work within the organizational context, including developing new programs, and to enhance organizational capacity and treat the agency as a “client” when necessary. Course topics include organizational theory and assessment, management, the budgetary process, fundraising, program development, proposal writing, technology, and program evaluation.


Juvenile Assessment Hub

Dr. Chainani played an instrumental role to compete and win the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor's Challenge in collaboration with . 


Under Dr. Chainani's leadership in Philadelphia, the City was awarded $1 million to work towards making the justice system less traumatic for young people under 18 by creating new facilities specifically designed to address trauma and connect kids with resources rather than sending them to regular police stations.


Under Dr. Chainani's leadership, GovLabPHL, the Office of the City Commissioner, and researchers from the
University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University tested different kinds of get-out-the-vote mail. Forty-eight thousand (48,000) registered voters were randomly selected to receive mail from the Commissioner’s Office.

Overall, the mail was effective: people who received any mail turned out at 29.5 percent in the general election, a 1.1 percentage point increase over the control group (the equivalent of about 11,500 votes, if cards were sent to the whole city).

People who received primary reminders and follow-ups were more likely to vote in the general election (29.8 percent) than people who received mail only before the general election (29.1 percent). Due to the research design, we know that this difference is unlikely from chance alone (p = 0.058).


Check back here for two academic publications which will be posted soon.

Wellness Participation Field Experiment

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Dr. Chainani collaborated with the City of Philadelphia's Office of Human Resources and researchers from local academic institutions to test the effects of different messaging on the completion of a wellness program among city employees that provides $500 credit towards their health insurance. Specifically, this experiment looked at whether the use of loss frame messaging and checklists in postcards sent out to city employees encourages participation and completion of the wellness program.

Our results suggest that neither loss framing nor the checklist formatting significantly influenced the likelihood that individuals would complete the wellness tasks, or how quickly they completed the tasks.

Litter Reduction

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During her tenure as Policy Director for Mayor James F. Kenney, Dr. Chainani led a partnership with the City of Philadelphia's Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet and researchers from local academic institutions to test the effect of various public waste receptacle quantities on the amount of litter and the number of hours staff spend picking up trash. Specifically, this experiment examined how increasing or decreasing the number of public trash receptacles in an area impacts trash collected from within remaining receptacles, trash collected as litter, staff hours spent picking up litter, and the litter index (a new metric for measuring litter) for the area.


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During her tenure as Policy Director for Mayor James F. Kenney, Dr. Chainani led a partnership with the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet and researchers from local academic institutions to test the effect of lidded recycling bins on recycling volume and on preventing litter.


As part of the City of Philadelphia’s broader emphasis on reducing litter and waste, the primary goal of this intervention was to promote recycling and divert recyclable materials that might otherwise be placed with rubbish. 

Volunteer Engagement with Philly VIP

Information coming soon!

Economic Recovery

Information coming soon!

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