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MPI Names New Director for Its Expanding Human Services Initiative
 
Press Release
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

MPI Names New Director for Its Expanding Human Services Initiative

WASHINGTON — Migration Policy Institute (MPI) President Andrew Selee today announced the appointment of Essey Workie, who has extensive experience at the intersection of health and human services, immigrant communities and children’s issues, as director of the institute’s expanding Human Services Initiative. The initiative focuses on a range of policies affecting immigrant families’ access to health and human services programs.

Prior to joining MPI as a senior policy analyst in 2019, Workie served as director of refugee health and director of planning and development at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, where she established 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 and founded the division of refugee health at the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The Human Services Initiative produces research, policy analysis, convenings and technical assistance to inform policymakers and service providers as they design and implement health and human service programs that serve immigrant and refugee populations. Key project areas include:

  • Refugee resettlement. MPI research aims to strengthen refugee resettlement services, with particular attention to underserved groups such as women, children and youth, and individuals with disabilities. The initiative engages in comparative studies to identify promising models that suit refugee resettlement in different national or regional contexts.
  • Unaccompanied children. The initiative analyzes policies and programs that affect unaccompanied minors while they are in government custody or transitioning to local communities. MPI engages providers, governments, community-based organizations and others to improve services to these children based on child development and child welfare principles.
  • Access to benefits and services. MPI examines the legal and policy frameworks set by governments to determine immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits and services such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The initiative also focuses attention on systemic challenges in connecting asylees, children of immigrants and other eligible groups to available benefits and services.

“Essey Workie has a distinguished track record in the areas of refugee resettlement, health, child welfare and leadership development,” Selee said. “We are delighted that she will use her knowledge, experience and strategic vision to lead this initiative as it works to support thoughtful policy design at the intersection of migration and health and human services.”

Workie, who is a Certified Diversity Executive®, certified leadership coach and a former licensed therapist specializing in child and adolescent mental health, succeeds Mark Greenberg, who was the founding director of the initiative. Greenberg joined the Biden administration in December as deputy general counsel at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. For more on MPI, please visit www.migrationpolicy.org.