Amanda Spishak‑Thomas

medicaid researcher. phd. social worker.

About Me

Mandi Spishak-Thomas (she/her) is a Medicaid research scholar at the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy. Mandi's work understands health policies as wealth policies, investigating how Medicaid impacts intergenerational transfers of wealth, financial burden, and wealth accumulation among low-income individuals and families, especially birthing people and older adults.

Mandi is an ardent health care advocate, abolitionist, and union organizer, drawing on her extensive clinical social work experience to remain engaged in the community. Mandi is an appointed member of Brooklyn's Community Board 6 where she serves on the transportation, public safety, and permits and licensing committees, advocating for a more just and green Brooklyn. Additionally, Mandi facilitates a monthly caregiver support group through the Alzheimer's Association for adult children who care for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias.

Mandi received her PhD from the Columbia School of Social Work where her dissertation research investigated the impacts of Medicaid estate recovery on intergenerational transfers of wealth among low-income older adults. While at Columbia, Mandi was a bargaining committee member, organizer, and rank-and-file member of the Student Workers of Columbia (UAW Local 2710).

Prior to pursuing a PhD, she worked as a licensed clinical social worker at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Alzheimer's Association in San Francisco, California and received a master's degree in Social Work from Columbia University. A Southern California native and baseball enthusiast (Go Mets!), Mandi spends her free time training for marathons, biking, hiking in the Catskills, and walking her bernedoodle, Muppet.

Mandi's work has been presented in various disciplinary spaces, including health policy (AcademyHealth), social work (SSWR), and public policy (APPAM) and published in Contraception and Gerontology and Geriatrics Education.

A PDF of her most recent CV can be found here.

Amanda Spishak-Thomas headshot


Columbia University - New York, NY
Ph.D. Social Work (2023)
Columbia University - New York, NY
MPhil (2022)
Columbia University - New York, NY
M.S.S.W. (2013)
Seattle University - Seattle, WA
B.A. Social Work, Nonprofit Leadership (2012)