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 Maltreatment, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Trauma-informed Approaches


Dr. Kelly Jedd McKenzie is currently a Society for Research in Child Development Executive Branch Policy Fellow in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her work in ASPE focuses on early childhood, childhood trauma, and trauma informed care. Dr. McKenzie collaborates across agencies to improve coordination of the federal response to child trauma and leads work on trauma-informed approaches to building resilience in children and families. Dr. McKenzie received her PhD from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Her research focused on the impact of early adversity, including abuse and neglect, on brain development. Prior to graduate school, Dr. McKenzie graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Whitman College, where she researched the impact of poverty on infant development and worked within the community to raise awareness of childhood trauma. Dr. McKenzie is dedicated to serving children and families by using research to inform policies that promote resilience and child well-being.