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Elaine Waxman
Senior Fellow
Income and Benefits Policy Center
  • Profile
  • Outside Affiliations
  • Many factors contribute to creating a more just and equitable society; first and foremost is the insistence by citizens that we can collectively achieve a better outcome. Thoughtful research that illuminates how economic, political, and social institutions support or hinder our collective values is a critical contribution to the process, and the opportunity to improve our understanding is the reason I became an applied researcher.

    Elaine Waxman is a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Her expertise includes food insecurity, nutrition and the food assistance safety net, the social determinants of health disparities, and other issues affecting low-income families and communities.

    Before joining Urban, Waxman was vice president of research and nutrition at Feeding America, where she oversaw research on food insecurity, the intersection of hunger and health, and the circumstances and experiences of individuals seeking charitable food assistance. She also helped develop community-based intervention models to address the needs of low-income, food-insecure families. From 1999 to 2009, Waxman worked on a series of linked research projects at the University of Chicago on low-wage work and the challenges facing low-income working families.

    Waxman has coauthored numerous research and policy reports and articles in scholarly journals, including Applied Economics Perspectives and Policy, Health Affairs, Social Science Review, Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, and Journal of Food Law and Policy. She is a member of the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group, an adviser to the national food and agricultural policy forum Agree, an advisory board member of the Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois, and a member of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Food Insecurity and Health Care Expenditures.

    She holds an MPP and a PhD from the University of Chicago, where she is a lecturer.

    Research Areas
    Health and health care
    Social safety net
    Race and equity
    Disability equity policy
    Social determinants of health
    From Safety Net to Solid Ground
    Immigrant access to the safety net
    Immigrant communities and racial equity
    Job markets and labor force
    Racial barriers to accessing the safety net
    Racial inequities in health

    Outside Affiliations
    University of Chicago
    Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty
    Research Fellow
    Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    Board of Editors
    Feeding America
    Technical Advisory Group Member
    Save the Children
    Project Advisory Panel

    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.