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Michal Grinstein Weiss

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Name  Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Michal grinstein weiss

Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, MA, MSW, is a professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the founding director of the Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change and the associate director of the Center for Social Development. She also served as a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2012-2016. Dr. Grinstein-Weiss previously held an associate professor position in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she founded the Asset-Building Research Group.


Michal Grinstein-Weiss httpswwwbrookingseduwpcontentuploads2016

As a leading expert and researcher in social mobility, Dr. Grinstein-Weiss is an influential voice in the design of innovative social policies to promote household financial security, both in the United States and internationally. Currently, she is leading several large-scale research initiatives focused on developing savings policies and promoting financial inclusion among low- and moderate-income households. Her newest line of work includes applying behavioral insights to the healthcare delivery with the goal of developing evidence-based programs that make healthcare more intuitive for low-income populations through a unique industry-academic partnership.

Michal Grinstein-Weiss Michal GrinsteinWeiss Brown School at Washington University in St

Education and academic career

Michal Grinstein-Weiss Professor Michal GrinsteinWeiss

Dr. Grinstein-Weiss is currently Associate Professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and is the Associate Director at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. She also serves as a Brookings Institution Non-Resident Senior Fellow, a research associate for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, a fellow for the Center of Community Capital, and still holds a faculty appointment at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

Michal Grinstein-Weiss Professor Michal GrinsteinWeiss

Dr. Grinstein-Weiss received her Ph.D. in Social Work at George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, her M.A. in economics from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and her MSW and B.A. from Haifa University, Israel.

Michal Grinstein-Weiss Professor Michal GrinsteinWeiss

After obtaining her PhD, she became a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, and later joined University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill as a faculty member, where she founded the Assets Research Group. In July 2012, Grinstein-Weiss merged her center with the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis.


Dr. Grinstein-Weiss’ research crosses disciplines, informing policy makers, scholars in diverse fields, industry leaders, and practitioners. Her extensive record of publications includes both popular press and numerous top-tier scholarly journals, including the American Economic Journal, Social Service Review, Journal of Urban Affairs, Housing Policy Debate, Social Work Research, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Future of Children, among others. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, NBS, National Public Radio, Forbes, Chicago Policy Review, Daily Finance, and numerous other media outlets.

The importance and relevance of Dr. Grinstein-Weiss’ research is reflected in the agencies and foundations that support her cutting-edge work. For example, her research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Treasury; U.S. Department of Education; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In addition, her research has won the support of numerous philanthropic foundations dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, families, and children, such as the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She also works closely in path-breaking collaborations with multiple industry partners, including Fortunte-500 partners Intuit Inc. and Centene Corporation.

Dr. Grinstein-Weiss is currently the leading researcher of the Refund to Savings initiative, the largest savings experiment in the United States to date, and is the principal investigator of the first federal evaluation of the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). The Refund to Savings initiative builds on her work on innovative tax refund savings programs such as the $aveNYC program, and it is a collaboration with leading behavioral economist Dan Ariely, Duke University and Intuit, Inc., makers of Turbo Tax. The GEAR UP evaluation investigates the effectiveness of the DOE program, which includes college savings accounts and financial counseling, in an effort to produce evidence-based policy that increases college enrollment in low-income families.

In addition to her most recent research efforts, Dr. Grinstein-Weiss is the principal Investigator for a 10-year follow-up study of the American Dream Demonstration (ADD), the first large-scale test of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) in the world. She also serves as consultant to the Israeli government on developing innovative universal savings policies and Child Development Accounts (CDAs).


Dr. Grinstein-Weiss has written numerous scholarly research articles that have appeared in a broad range of publications, including Social Service Review, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Income Distribution, as well as other prominent research journals and government publications.

Honors and awards

Dr. Grinstein-Weiss’ work has garnered many prestigious awards, including the Society for Social Work and Research Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award and the Smith Richardson Foundation Domestic Public Policy Research Fellowship. Most recently, Dr. Grinstein-Weiss was invited to serve as advisor for the Financial Inclusion Working Group for the Clinton Global Initiative-America.


Michal Grinstein-Weiss Wikipedia