Killian Kinney

Killian Kinney

Postdoctoral Fellow

The School of Social Work, 5447 Woodward Avenue, Suite 36

Killian Kinney


Killian Kinney (they/them) is a postdoctoral fellow at Wayne State University School of Social Work. They earned their doctorate from Indiana University, and their publicly accessible dissertation is titled, Learning to Thrive in a Binary World: Understanding Gendered Experiences of Nonbinary Individuals and Ways to Bolster Wellbeing.

Research: Kinney’s research is guided by the ethos by, with, and for the community. They leverage qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodologies to broadly explore LGBTQ health equity and wellbeing, specializing in participatory action research with trans and nonbinary populations. In their current doctoral fellowship, Kinney is co-conducting a legal epidemiological study of LGBTQ-related federal, state, and local legislation across all 50 states and DC. This work will provide a cross-sectional context of policy in the Spring of 2021 and is the start of longitudinal tracking of LGBTQ-related policies to be compared with regional health outcomes data, supporting policy as a social determinant of health. As a strong collaborator with a vigorous and sustained research agenda, they have research collaborations across the US at various developmental stages. Some examples include a mixed methods study of self-identified LGBTQ-affirming providers, a PhotoVoice study of nonbinary community belonging, and a pilot study of long-term testosterone impacts among transmasculine folx. They also hold a clinical research coordinator position at Indiana University School of Medicine, exploring biopsychosocial impacts of trans-related and healthcare quality and access.

Teaching: Since 2017, Kinney has been the instructor of record for 24 classes, teaching undergraduate and graduate students in both face-to-face and online classes. Critical and constructivist epistemologies guide their teaching philosophy. As a social work professor, their primary objectives are to foster critical thinking and emotional intelligence among students to prepare them to fulfill our professional, ethical imperative for social justice. The heart of their teaching is the enthusiastic and dynamic classroom discussions where they create space for cooperative curiosity and creativity while disrupting assumptions and challenging systemic oppression. They believe that upfront and transparent discussions regarding power, privilege, and oppression are essential to social work education to assist students in developing their social work identity and critically engage in ambiguity, conflict, and accountability. They are currently teaching Transgender Studies in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri.

Practice: In addition to research and teaching, Kinney is a licensed social with over six years of post-MSW practice experience with LGBTQ youth, families, adults, and communities. As an out and loud queer trans scholar and community worker, they formally and informally mentor LGBTQ youth and students. They also regularly facilitate a trans and nonbinary therapeutic group for community organizations and clinics serving gender diverse folx. In their personal and professional life, they prioritize mutual aid, including harm reduction, food not bombs, street medic outreach, and community organizing. These rich and varied practice experiences provide concrete examples of relatable real-life scenarios used in their teaching.

You can learn more about Kinney at

Curriculum Vitae

Degrees and Certifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Social Work (2021), Indiana University
  • Master of Social Work (2015), Indiana University
  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology with Women’s Studies minor (2003), Purdue University – West Lafayette
  • Associate of Arts, Psychology (2000), Sinclair Community College

Awards and Honors

  • Excellence in Teaching – IU School of Social Work
  • Dr. Charles R. Bantz Award for Excellence – IUPUI Graduate Professional Student Government Elite 50
  • Elite 50 – IUPUI Graduate Professional Student Government
  • William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion - IUPUI Center for Service and Learning

Teaching Interests

  • Transgender and Nonbinary Studies
  • Macro Practice & Progressive Social Work
  • LGBTQ Health Equity in Policy & Practice
  • Power, Privilege, & Oppression / Diversity & Inclusion
  • Qual and Quant Research Methods
  • Community Assessment/Organizing
  • Program Evaluation
  • Leadership & Policy
  • Social Work Pedagogy

Areas of Expertise

  • Trans and nonbinary studies
  • Photovoice methods
  • Mutual aid practice

Recent Publications

Muzzey, F. K., Kinney, M. K., McCauley, H. L., & Mass, M. K. (2021). Support networks of transmasculine and nonbinary young adults during chosen name transition. Psychology and Sexuality.

Walter-McCabe, H. A., & Kinney, M. K. (2020). An argument for explicit public health rationale in LGBTQ antidiscrimination law as a tool for stigma reduction. Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy 13(2), 147-174.

Research Interests

  • Mutual Aid, Progressivism, Abolitionism
  • LGBTQIA Marginalization and Wellbeing
  • Holistic Wellbeing
  • Microaggressions
  • Social Determinants of Health (SDH)
  • Diversity and Mentorship in Social Work Education
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)


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Courses Taught

  • Transgender Studies (WGST undergraduate)
  • Introduction to Social Work (BSW, MSW)
  • Diversity, Human Rights and Social Justice (MSW)
  • Executive Leadership (MSW)
  • Practice Evaluation: Introduction – Single Systems Design (MSW)
  • Research I (MSW)
  • Seminar in Public Health Law and Policy in an Interprofessional Setting (MSW)
  • Social Policy and Services: Health Concentration (MSW)
  • Social Work Practice II: Organizations, Communities, and Society (MSW)

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