Emily McKenzie

Exploring Social Worker Wellness: Balancing Individual Self-Care and the Responsibility of Leadership

Emily D. McKenzie is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Kentucky’s College of Social Work, as part of the Administrative Leadership track, with an expected graduation in May 2023. Emily obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies at Berea College in 2010 and her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Kentucky in 2015. Emily’s social work experience is varied, including both micro and macro practice. Her social work career began working with individuals with severe disabilities to obtain permanent supportive housing. She then went on to work in the field of sexual violence intervention and prevention, both in the community setting and on college and university campuses. In 2019, Emily transitioned to the healthcare setting and currently serves as the Care Management Social Worker at Shriners Children’s Lexington where she was once a patient herself. Emily has been a Certified Social Worker since 2016 and a Certified Case Manager since 2021. She also has the distinction of being a Green Dot Instructor, providing bystander intervention training for both community and campus audiences.

Throughout her doctoral program, Emily has focused her research on social work practitioner self-care and organizational wellness. Having witnessed and experienced the impact of stress and burnout, Emily strongly feels that to best serve our clients and communities, we must also invest in the wellness of the social workers providing critical services.

Emily is active in her community, volunteering with organizations and serving on multiple boards. She loves her home state of Kentucky and the Appalachian region, where she has deep familial and cultural ties.