The Kelsey R. Kennedy Love in Action Masters Research Fellowship



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Kelsey R. Kennedy (they/them) was a social worker in Indianapolis, Indiana, who died by suicide on October 5th, 2022 at the age of 32. Kelsey embodied unbelievable strength and courage, speaking freely about their challenges with mental health and the secondary trauma they experienced working as a social worker on the frontline. 

Kelsey spent their early career advocating for those experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis, working with Housing First and Harm Reduction models. Later, Kelsey worked with Trinity Haven to help provide safe affirming housing for LGBTQ youth in Indiana. Earlier in 2022, Kelsey’s dedication was recognized as the recipient of the 2022 ELEVATE Nonprofit Employee of the Year Award. Kelsey was and always will be a force for love, kindness, and empathy. They dedicated their life to helping and celebrating others, bringing tremendous joy and passion into everything they did.

Kelsey was my best friend; their unconditional love and encouragement was a huge reason I was able to make it to where I am personally and professionally. Kelsey has inspired me to practice love in all aspects of my work and life, and was a constant reminder of the day-to-day struggles that vulnerable populations face when receiving health and social services. — With love, Morgan Shields

As we celebrate Kelsey’s life and the positive impact they had on so many, please join me in amplifying their legacy by making a gift in their memory to the Kelsey R. Kennedy Love in Action Masters Research Fellowship. This annual fellowship will support Masters of Social Work students at the Brown School who are working with the Center for Mental Health Services Research. The goal of this fellowship is to provide students with applied research experience, working with faculty scholars at CMHSR. Student fellows will have a demonstrated interest in mental health-focused research generation and dissemination, LGBTQ+ youth, or evidence-based models for suicide prevention and harm reduction for homelessness. Thank you for your part in celebrating Kelsey’s life and legacy.