Leah Kinnaird

Early Achievement in Outreach Award

Established to recognize an individual for evidence of outstanding performance in statewide leadership in extension and/or for professional practice and national recognition of contributions to outreach activities.

lkinnai144x216Leah Kinnaird
Human Services Specialist III, Domestic Violence Response Coordinator
Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Leah Kinnaird has enhanced comprehensive domestic violence training and services for both human services professionals and victims in Iowa. As the Domestic Violence Response Coordinator in the Child Welfare and Research Training Project, Kinnaird serves as the bridge connecting Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Human Services.

The scope and significance of her outreach initiatives cannot be overstated. Kinnaird delivers training, case consultation, and curricula to the Iowa Department of Human Services and community partners and programs throughout Iowa. She reaches myriad constituencies equally well. Kinnaird created a blog addressing domestic violence issues that serves as a resource for victims and their advocates. In addition to guest lecturing in ISU human development and family studies courses, she frequently presents to other future human services professionals at the University of Northern Iowa. She has also delivered the keynote address at the Don Kemp Memorial Social Work Scholarship Event at Luther College, a prestigious engagement at her alma mater.

One colleague said, “With her keen analytical approach to macro social science and social work knowledge, she has accomplished much in a short period of time.”

Just one outstanding example is leading the implementation of the Safe and Together statewide initiative. This competency model has helped Iowans responsibly and accurately address domestic violence situations, creating a safer state in the process. Altogether, she has led 16 training sessions for almost 900 attendees. This model roll­out has garnered national attention and an invitation for her to speak at the national Safe and Together Model Symposium.

One client said, “She has been instrumental in challenging and changing the approach that we take to domestic violence cases. In addressing outreach, Leah has been able to teach and advise almost every social worker in the state.”

Her expert knowledge, flawless tact, passion for education, and boundless initiative ensures that Iowa will continue to serve as a model to other states in protecting people from domestic violence.