Mary McKay, PhD

Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School

Mary McKay joined the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis as dean July 1, 2016 and is continuing the School’s legacy of creating vital knowledge, initiating social change, and preparing leaders to address social and health challenges both locally and globally. Prior to joining the Brown School, she was McSilver Professor of Social Work and the inaugural director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. Under Dean McKay’s leadership, the McSilver Institute grew to more than 50 full-time employees and over $30 million in funded projects benefitting poverty-impacted families and communities around the world. Prior to her time at NYU Silver, Dean McKay served as the head of the Division of Mental Health Services Research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Dean McKay has received substantial federal funding for research focused on meeting the mental health and health prevention needs of youth and families impacted by poverty. Working with colleagues in the field, she has developed a substantial body of research findings around engagement practices to improve involvement in family-based HIV prevention programs and mental health services for children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas. She has significant expertise in services and implementation research methods, as well as over 15 years of experience conducting HIV prevention and care-oriented studies, supported by continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health. In addition, she has collaborated with the National Institute of Mental Health, the New York State Office of Mental Health, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to create evidence-based engagement interventions and to test models of dissemination and training for mental health professionals in engagement best practices.
Her career in HIV science began with CHAMP (Collaborative HIV Prevention and Adolescent Mental Health Project), a collaborative effort between university and community members to test HIV prevention and mental health promotion approaches in urban, low-income communities. This study began in Chicago and has been replicated in New York City, South Africa, Argentina, Trinidad, and now Thailand and Indonesia.
Dean McKay has published more than 150 publications on mental and behavioral health, HIV/AIDS prevention and behavior modification, and other urban health issues, and she is a member of New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Oversight Panel. Prior academic appointments include Columbia University, Fordham University, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago.
McKay received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Loyola University of Chicago and her PhD from University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work.