Policies—big and small—have the power to change the trajectory of a generation. Join us for People to Practice to Policy: The Social Policy Institute at WashU to learn how WashU is promoting social and economic equity for current and future generations.  

Together, we’ll investigate how policy that starts with people and is grounded in evidence can transform the lives of individuals locally, nationally and globally. Mary McKay, vice provost of Interdisciplinary Initiatives will provide opening remarks. The featured discussion will be moderated by Fanice Thomas, associate director of policy and strategy, Social Policy Institute.

About our panelists

Mary McKay, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives
Mary McKay is the vice provost for interdisciplinary initiatives. The mission of her role is to enhance interdisciplinary research and education across the Danforth Campus and to build the collaborations the community needs to ensure the successful implementation of the university’s strategic plan. Read more.


Michal Grinstein-Weiss, Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor, director, Social Policy Institute
Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, MA, MSW, is the Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. She serves as Director of the university-wide Social Policy Institute at Washington University and as a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution.
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Ido Aharoni, global distinguished professor for international relations, Graduate School of Arts and Science atNew York University
Ido Aharoni serves as Global Distinguished Professor for international relations at New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. He is a member of the International Advisory Council of APCO Worldwide, a Global Ambassador for Maccabi World Union, Chairman of the Charney Forum for New Diplomacy and a co-founder of Emerson Rigby Ltd. Read more.



Nisha Patel, senior fellow, Social Policy Institute
Nisha G. Patel is a national expert on social and economic mobility and philanthropy in the United States. Her independent consulting practice, Powered by Shakti, draws on her more than two decades of cross-sector experience leading and implementing initiatives to increase economic opportunities for families with low income. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty at the Urban Institute. The Partnership was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and assembled 24 leading voices to identify ideas for investment to dramatically increase mobility from poverty. Read more.

Adam Pearson, OTD, OTR/L, chief operating officer, Peter & Paul Community Services

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Fanice Thomas, associate director of policy and strategy, Social Policy Institute
Fanice Thomas, Ph.D., is the associate director of policy and strategy in the Social Policy Institute (SPI). Her roles include building out policy initiatives, contributing to the institute’s strategic vision, and initiating and maintaining stakeholder relationships. Read more.


About the Social Policy Institute 
The Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis is devoted to advancing equitable social policies by conducting research, activating solutions and developing leaders. The institute, which launched in 2019, works to reduce disparities in four key areas—financial security, health, education and housing. SPI uses research to inform interventions and policy solutions, while also developing, educating and training new leaders to help move this important work forward. The institute inspires policy change by sharing research findings and promising solutions with policymakers around the world with the goal that all people have equitable access to social and economic opportunities.









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