Elaine Waxman


Elaine Waxman is a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Her areas of expertise include food insecurity, nutrition, the food assistance safety net, the social determinants of health disparities, as well as broader issues affecting low-income families and communities. Prior to joining the Urban Institute, Waxman served as the 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. In that role, Waxman supervised Hunger in America 2014, the largest study ever conducted of charitable feeding in the United States, and collaborated on the development of the Map the Meal Gap project, the first county-level estimates of food insecurity in the U.S. Waxman previously conducted a series of research initiatives at the University of Chicago on the structure of low-wage work and challenges facing low-income working families. She has co-authored numerous research articles and policy reports in scholarly journals, including Applied Economics Perspectives and Policy, Social Service Review, Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, and Journal of Food Law and Policy. She received her PhD from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, where she is currently a lecturer. She also holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.


  • PhD, University of Chicago
  • MPP, University of Chicago


  • Senior Fellow, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Member, Feeding America Technical Advisory Group
  • Adviser, Agree (National Food and Agricultural Policy Forum)
  • Member, Aspen Institute Dialogue on Food Insecurity and Health Care Expenditures
  • Lecturer, University of Chicago


Phone: 202-833-7200