photo of Kassandra Martinchek
Kassandra Martinchek
Senior Research Associate
Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population
  • Profile
  • Outside Affiliations
  • As a practitioner-turned-analyst, I am passionate about contributing to work that explores the impact of policies on vulnerable populations and creates accessible and rigorous evidence that can be used to improve public-policy outcomes.

    Kassandra Martinchek is a senior research associate in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute and an expert on food security, food access, and financial well-being. At Urban, she leverages qualitative analysis, econometrics, and “big data" to understand disparities in families’ financial health and access to food, structural barriers to financial and food security, and policies that can reduce these gaps. She is the coprincipal investigator of the Arlington Food Security and Access Study, which examines families’ access to public benefits and charitable food in Arlington, Virginia; directs the Healthier Food Access Study, which evaluates 11 innovative charitable food programs; and is the lead analyst for an evaluation of meta-oppression in the credit system. She has published more than 28 research works, which have been cited in KQED-The Forum, NBC4 Washington, the Baltimore Banner, NextAdvisor, MarketWatch, and Forbes.

    Before joining Urban, Martinchek worked on evaluating and implementing child nutrition programs that served more than 5,200 children each week in Pennsylvania and New York, including leading a mixed-methods evaluation of how current food resources meet families’ needs. She holds an MPA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is pursuing her PhD in public policy and administration from the George Washington University.

    Research Areas
    Economic mobility and inequality
    Race and equity
    Social safety net
    Wealth and financial well-being
    Asset and debts
    Community engagement
    Economic well-being
    Emergency food networks
    Families with low incomes
    Family savings
    Food insecurity and hunger
    Food deserts and food supply
    Hunger and food assistance
    Income and wealth distribution
    Inequality and mobility
    Wealth inequality
    Welfare and safety net programs
    Structural racism
    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    Financial stability
    Financial knowledge and capability
    Financial products and services
    Wealth gap
    Family credit and debt
    Financial Well-Being Data Hub

    Outside Affiliations
    George Washington University
    PhD Student

    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.