Using the most rigorous and established public health and behavioral science evidence, the Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change develops and tests innovative interventions and strategies, applying them in real-world populations and generating new understanding of best practices for implementation and improved health outcomes.

Under the umbrella of the Center’s mission to improve the health of vulnerable populations through behavior-based research interventions, the Envolve Center's research goals include:

  • Improving the effectiveness and reach of health programs and services, including vehicles such as online platforms, telephonic and home health coaching, treatment plans, and other efforts to better empower consumers to manage chronic illnesses and live more healthfully, particularly within partner organizations Centene Corporation and Envolve®

  • Contributing to the scientific evidence on what works in changing health behavior, improving health outcomes, and facilitating fuller lives for consumers

  • Serving as a model organization for translational research, training, implementation and dissemination

The Envolve Center has four research workgroups, each led by a top-ranked researcher and staffed by a team of trained academic and industry professionals.

lifestyle innovations

The Lifestyle Innovations workgroup is currently testing research on breaking the cycle of intergenerational obesity and diabetes risk. This work includes designing and implementing rigorous research models targeting health coaching and peer coaching for vulnerable populations including in-person and technology-based approaches. Research also includes qualitative efforts evaluating current programs.

Faculty Director Debra Haire-Joshu is recognized as a national leader in obesity prevention research and policy. She has worked with local, state, and national organizations to integrate intergenerational lifestyle interventions into home, childcare, and school settings, including serving as an expert in the development of former First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign.

Behavioral Economics

The Behavioral Economics core has two workgroups – one at Duke University, led by Dan Ariely, an internationally recognized expert in behavioral economics and a three-time New York Times best-selling author - and the other at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Michal Grinstein-Weiss, a world-renowned social and economic development expert who also leads the Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change as founding director and principal investigator.

Both workgroups use behavior-based strategies from the social sciences to shift the perspectives and environments in which people make decisions to improve participation, outcomes and overall effectiveness of healthcare interventions. 

Analytic INsights

The Analytic Insights workgroup examines member utilization of Centene services to develop more relevant, intuitive and effective healthcare systems. Researchers will use results from this workgroup to evaluate trends and answer behavior-based questions with the goal to maximize health plan resources and catalyze behavior change for at-risk members.

This workgroup is led by Michal Grinstein-Weiss, the Envolve Center Founding Director, and Derek Brown, an experienced health economist whose research facilitates improved public health decision making associated with health outcomes, quality of life, cost effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis.

Health Communications

The Health Communications workgroup develops and tests strategies to increase the reach and effectiveness of consumer health information and to advance the use of existing and emerging technologies to link people to specific health services. This work includes culturally responsive audience research, prototype development and experiments to tailor programs to better match consumer’s values and priorities.

Faculty Director Matthew Kreuter was recently ranked by Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential scientists and in the top 1% in his field based on the influence of his scholarly works.