Latest NewsThe GRE requirement for our MPH program is waived for applicants looking to start in the Fall 2020 semester. Learn more.

Health Behavior, Society & Policy

Faculty Profile

  • Thomas Mackie, PhD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor

  • Department of Health Behavior, Society and Policy

  • CV

Mental health services and policy; children's behavioral and mental health; mixed methods research; comparative effectiveness research; patient-centered outcomes research; dissemination and implementation sciences.

Dr. Mackie received a Joint-Doctorate in Social Policy and Sociology at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and Graduate School of Arts and Science at Brandeis University. Dr. Mackie was the recipient of a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in a T-32 program, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Mackie also earned a Masters in Public Health in the Peace Corps Masters International Program at Boston University School of Public Health.

Research Interests
Trained as a health services researcher and medical sociologist, Dr. Mackie employs mixed methods to bring new evidence to pressing mental and behavioral health care policy and practice dilemmas for children and adolescents. To do this, Dr. Mackies research primarily examines practice and policy innovations in pediatric behavioral health as “natural experiments,” employing both qualitative and quantitative methods to examine comparative effectiveness and implementation in non-randomized ‘real-world settings.’

Research Highlights

Beginning in 2011, federal investigations and legislation documented and responded to a crisis regarding the safe and judicious use of psychotropic medications for publicly-insured children, including those in foster care. Dr. Mackie has conducted multiple mixed methods studies to examine legislative and programmatic responses and the impact of state innovations on antipsychotic medication safety and quality metrics. These studies employ multiple methods, including legislative and document review, qualitative semi-structured interviews, and econometric analyses of administrative claims data, to document variations in state-level psychotropic medication oversight policies and programs and then their respective impact on safety and quality indicators for pediatric anti-psychotic use. Given the lag in aligning public behavioral health systems with the best available evidence, he has worked with colleagues on a series of mixed methods studies that examine factors associated with the use of research evidence in mental health policies.  In this line of research, they have documented both the extent to which states employ research evidence in their policy approaches and the factors influential to evidence-informed policies at various stages of policy development. With recent prioritization of stakeholder engaged research in comparative effectiveness research (CER), Dr. Mackie has published articles employing stakeholder engaged research at the policy- and practice-interfaces, including publication with stakeholder, co-investigators as lead authors including policymakers and practitioners, as well as advisory panel members. Drawing upon evaluations of these stakeholder engagement efforts, he has further contributed articles that bring new methodological understandings to stakeholder engagement standards recently endorsed by the Patient-Centered Research Outcomes Institute among others.

Select Publications
Mackie , T., Sheldrick, R., Hyde , J., Leslie , L. (2017) "Exploring the integration of social and systems sciences to study evidence use among child welfare policymakers", Child Welfare Vol. 94

Mackie, T., Sheldrick, R., de Ferranti, S., Saunders, T., Rojas, E., Leslie, L. (2017) "Stakeholders' Perspectives on Stakeholder-engaged Research (SER): Strategies to Operationalize Patient-centered Outcomes Research Principles for SER.", Medical Care Vol. 55

Mackie, T., Hyde, J., Palinkas, L., Niemi, E., Leslie, L. (2017) "Fostering Psychotropic Medication Oversight for Children in Foster Care: A National Examination of States' Monitoring Mechanisms.", Administration and Policy in Mental Health Vol. 44

Crystal, S., Mackie, T., Fenton, M., Amin, S., Neese-Todd, S., Olfson, M., Bilder, S. (2016) "Rapid Growth Of Antipsychotic Prescriptions For Children Who Are Publicly Insured Has Ceased, But Concerns Remain.", Health Affairs (Project Hope) Vol. 35

Hayek, M., Mackie, T., Mulé, C., Bellonci, C., Hyde, J., Bakan, J., Leslie, L. (2014) "A multi-state study on mental health evaluation for children entering foster care.", Administration and Policy in Mental Health Vol. 41

Scholarly Activities
Health Policy and Research Committee Chair at the American Sociological Association (2016)

Abstract Award Winner - American Academy of Pediatrics (2018) - Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care Research

Outstanding Poster Award - Academy Health (2012) - Student Scholarship Recipient, Public Health Systems Research Interest Group