Michael MacKenzie, a social work scholar with a multidisciplinary background in developmental psychology and the life sciences, has been promoted to associate professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work.
Dr. MacKenzie’s comparative research seeks to have rigorous science point the way to interventions that will enable a positive life course for specific populations of children at risk: children who are maltreated, children who are under the supervision of the child welfare system, and children who have normative familial care experiences.
In the effort to advance understanding about child development, his research focuses on:
- how early family stress and a child’s behavior can affect the perceptions and influence responses by caregivers in the child welfare system.
- how the child’s early experiences can persist across various care environments and thus influence whether the caregiver will be inclined to respond with rejecting or accepting behaviors.
- how family transactional processes work.
Along with Associate Professors Craig Schwalbe and Robin Gearing, Dr. MacKenzie is a principal investigator for the Community-Family Integration Teams (CFIT) Research Project, a groundbreaking UNICEF-funded research project in Jordan. He has contributed significantly to the conceptualization, design, and implementation of the project, which is conducted in collaboration with the Columbia University Middle East Research Center as well as several Jordanian ministries and NGOs. C-FIT has implemented the first research-based therapeutic foster care and juvenile diversion programs as alternatives to institutional placement for children in Jordan or the broader MENA region.
Dr. MacKenzie also has research projects ongoing in Canada and the United States, especially New York City.
Associate Professor MacKenzie's B.Sc. in biology and M.S. in zoology are from the University of Western Ontario. He received an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan with a concentration in social policy and child and youth policy and interpersonal practice, and a joint Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in social work and developmental psychology.