Experts & Staff
Senior Policy Analyst
Essey Workie is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. Her work focuses on unaccompanied children, immigrant families, and access to local, state, and federal health and human service programs.
Ms. Workie previously worked as the Director of Refugee Health and the Director of Planning and Development at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, where she established the national refugee medical assistance and medical screening programs in multiple states. Previously, she served as the senior federal official and regional spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families in the mid-Atlantic region, where she led the intersection of human service programs including refugee resettlement, early childhood development, child welfare, youth, and workforce development. She also founded the division of refugee health at the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Ms. Workie contributed to several federal regulations, policy guidance, research studies, and reports, including a study on unaccompanied children in Ethiopia, the health of Congolese refugees in Rwanda, and the use of two-generation strategies in the U.S. refugee resettlement program.
Ms. Workie began her career in nonprofit organizations and local government as a social worker, specializing in child and adolescent mental health. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from James Madison University and a master’s degree in social work from Temple University. She is also a leadership coach with an executive certificate in leadership coaching from Georgetown University, and provides pro-bono coaching services to immigrants, minorities, and other marginalized groups.
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At a time when the U.S. refugee resettlement system is facing unprecedented challenges, innovative and cost-effective tools for supporting refugee integration are in demand. This report explores how a two-generation approach to service provision could help all members of refugee families—from young children to working-age adults and the elderly—find their footing.