PhD, Child Development, University of Minnesota
Cohort Five Fellow

Academic Mentor
Kathleen Thomas
Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

Policy Mentor
Sara Langworthy
DeveloPlay, LLC

Current Institutional Affiliation
Department of Health and Human Services

Areas of Expertise

Child Welfare and Foster Care Systems, Home Visiting and Maltreatment Prevention, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience


Dr. Kelly Jedd McKenzie is a Social Science Research Analyst in the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) at the Administration for Children and Families, U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Her work at OPRE focuses on supporting children and families, including projects related to home visiting, prevention of child maltreatment, and child welfare. With a background in Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience, Dr. McKenzie has particular interest in the impact of trauma and childhood adversity on brain and behavioral development and ways to promote child well-being. Prior to joining OPRE, she was a Society for Research in Child Development/American Association for the Advancement of Science (SRCD/AAAS) Policy Fellow in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she led the child trauma portfolio and worked on early childhood policy initiatives. She holds a BA in Psychology from Whitman College and an MA and PhD in Child Psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, where her research focused on the impact of early adversity, including abuse and neglect, on brain development. Dr. McKenzie is dedicated to serving children and families by using research to inform policies that promote resilience and child well-being.