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Michelle Johnson-Motoyama, Ph.D., M.S.W.

Associate Professor
Primary office:
Twente Hall
Room 311


Michelle Johnson-Motoyama is an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. She joined the University of Kansas faculty in 2011.

Professor Johnson-Motoyama's scholarship focuses on preventing child maltreatment and addressing social disparities in child welfare and child health, with an emphasis on Latino populations. The adverse childhood experience of maltreatment is a social problem that has important implications for long term health, development, and socioeconomic well-being. Therefore, addressing problems of maltreatment in early childhood, and evaluating related prevention and intervention strategies, form a special focus of Professor Johnson-Motoyama's research.

Professor Johnson-Motoyama has published several journal articles and book chapters in the field of child welfare, and she has served as a reviewer for leading professional and scientific journals including Child Maltreatment and Social Science & Medicine. She is currently a member of the editorial board of Children and Youth Services Review. Her scholarship has been supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Lois and Samuel Silberman Fund in the New York Community Trust and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Professor Johnson-Motoyama teaches graduate courses on program design, grantwriting, and evidence based practice.

Before joining the faculty at KU, Professor Johnson-Motoyama served on the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles Luskin School of Public Affairs in the Department of Social Welfare from 2007-2011. She has served children and families in a variety of practice, policy, and administrative settings in Illinois and Hawaii.

Professor Johnson-Motoyama holds a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley where she received the Doctoral Fellows Award from the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) and the Jane B. Aron Fellowship in Health Policy and Practice from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation. She has an M.S.W. in child welfare policy, planning, and administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.S. in communications, also from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Teaching Interests

  • Social program design and grantwriting
  • Human behavior and the social environment: communities and organizations
  • Evidence based practice in social welfare

Research Interests

  • Population approaches to child maltreatment prevention
  • Social disparities in child welfare and child health

Social Welfare Events