Michael A. Lindsey is the new director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. He succeeds Mary M. McKay who left McSilver to become dean at the George Warren Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Lindsey is a good friend and advisory board member of CRISP and, like his predecessor, a wonderful human being.
He and Mary have in common a concern for the wellbeing of children, particularly regarding their psychological and emotional development. Both have done extensive research about children’s and adolescents’ access to mental health services. This should be a smooth transition in leadership as Dr. McKay will continue to be involved with the institute’s work as a McSilver Faculty Fellow.
Dr. Lindsey grew up in Southeast Washington, DC, so he is keenly aware of the challenges presented by the proliferation of drugs and violence in some urban neighborhoods. He knows well what it takes to navigate that environment and stay on a path to success because he’s done it. “Having lived through those situations has sensitized me to the realities that kids and families face in the urban context,” he says. “It has certainly inspired my scholarship to address barriers to urban youth development and find solutions that really support families, teachers, and others connected to these young people to ensure policies provide the resources they need to assist in their development.”
Crafting those policies requires rigorous research—something that Michael Lindsey and the McSilver Institute do extremely well. Dr. Lindsey is well-prepared for this opportunity. A cum laude graduate of Morehouse College, he went on to earn his M.S.W at Howard University’s School of Social Work and his M.P.H. and Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh. He was a post-doctoral fellow at John Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Before moving to NYU, he was a tenured associate professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work. He has been the principal investigator on numerous research grants and has published extensively about children and adolescent mental health. A particular area of interest to Dr. Lindsey is the role schools can play in addressing the mental health needs of children and adolescents.
“My research has been focused on how we can provide for the mental health needs of children and adolescents in the school setting,” Lindsey explained. “How do we implement evidence-based practices well in schools, particularly when those schools are in resource-poor environments; environments that present all kinds of contingencies that impede the successful implementation of interventions—not just mental health interventions, but any kind of intervention you are trying to do. Things like teacher turnover and frequent changes in leadership come up against successfully implementing interventions. So we must focus on ensuring those who are responsible for students’ academic success—families, teachers, principals, and counselors are—properly equipped. I believe schools are essential to children’s ability to escape poverty and lead successful lives.”
As its name denotes, the McSilver Institute is chiefly focused on poverty and its impact on the lives of individuals and families. It has at times focused specifically on people of color, releasing a report in 2015 entitled The Trauma of Racism, that acknowledges the unique systemic challenges facing people of color, especially youth of color, and the need for policies and programs to ameliorate their circumstances. The institute prides itself in creating new knowledge about poverty and its root causes, developing evidence-based interventions to address the consequences of being poor, and translating its research into action through policy and practice. In addition to its work in the United States, McSilver is tackling poverty issues globally, recently receiving a $3 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to establish a trans-disciplinary center in sub-Sahara Africa to reduce gaps in child mental health service and research.
There is a wave of fresh leadership at NYU. Andrew Hamilton was installed as its new president at the beginning of the year. The Silver School of Social Work has an interim dean, James Jaccard, replacing Lynn Videka who moved on the become dean at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Dr. Michael A. Lindsey is providing new leadership for the McSilver Institute. “McSilver provides an incredible platform to build on the outstanding work that Mary McKay has done and to nurture the relationships she helped develop with the community, government and nonprofit agencies, and funders to address critical issues of poverty,” Lindsey stated. “It is an incredible opportunity for me to step in and further this work.”
Written By Charles E. Lewis Jr., Ph.D
New McSilver Institute Director Focused on Children’s Development was originally published @ Charles Lewis – Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy and has been syndicated with permission.