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Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Director, Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change​​
Associate Director, Center for Social Development
PhD, Brown School​
Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Phone: (314) 935-8201


Research interests:

Public policy

Economic and social mobility

Asset building​​​​


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 serves as a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and previously held an associate professor position in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she founded the Asset-Building Research Group. 

As a leading expert and researcher in social and economic development, Dr. Grinstein-Weiss is an influential voice in the design of innovative social policies to promote household financial security and asset building, 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 and applying behavioral insights to the delivery of managed care. 

Dr. Grinstein-Weiss’ research crosses disciplines, informing policy makers, scholars in diverse fields, 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, Children and Youth Services Review, among others.  Her work has been featured on C-SPAN, CNN, 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 and is funded by multiple industry partners, including Intuit Inc. and Nurtur Health, Inc.     

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 a member of the Financial Inclusion Working Group for the Clinton Global Initiative.   Dr. Grinstein-Weiss received her Ph.D. in social work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, a master’s in economics from the University of Missouri—St. Louis, and her master’s in social work and a bachelor’s of arts from Haifa University, Israel. 


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