MSU Denver
Kate Trujillo, LCSW, Ph.D.

Areas of Research

My career in social work is dedicated to child welfare with a focus on healing trauma, attachment, and permanency.


I am a full-time member of the faculty at MSU Denver, Department of Social Work. I have been practicing social work with a focus on child welfare since 1999. I earned a Master’s Degree (2001) and a PhD (2010) in Social Work, both from the University of Denver. My focus has been permanency and adoption. I have held a number of positions: caseworker, clinician, supervisor, research assistant, grant administrator for a Children’s Bureau federal demonstration project, and non-profit executive.

My research is focused on children from vulnerable populations who have been displaced, disrupted, abused or who have otherwise experienced trauma. Framed by critical realism, my research relies heavily on recognizing the importance of embodiment and engagement as foundations for human relationships. My orienting research question has been to investigate how vulnerable children approach their performance of everyday life and orient themselves toward their possible futures.

In November, 2015, I traveled with Dr. Jo Bailey and Dr. Dawn Matera Basset to Arad, Romania for a conference focused on developing the workforce in Romania to help with children who are in need of care. It was amazing to me to see the similarities and differences in our struggles to create healthy beginnings for children who, for whatever reason and through no fault of their own, find themselves in orphanages, group homes, or foster homes. The challenges of our filed are indeed intense.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your learning and professional development. I know you will change the world!