July 14, A Message from Dr. Markavitch: Dr. Henry


Dear Oxford Schools Community,

We understand there have been questions posed by our community about the credentials of Dr. James Henry who came to provide guidance to our district on recovery following the tragedy. We want to respond to those concerns and clarify that Dr. Henry was fully credentialed and qualified to do the work he did for us. Additionally, he continues to be recognized nationally as an expert in trauma recovery.  At the time of his services to Oxford, Dr. Henry held a PhD.in Social Science (concentration in Social Work and Developmental Psychology), an MA in Social Work, and a BA in Education.  He was also a Professor of Social Work at Western Michigan University (WMU), Project Director of the WMU Resiliency Center, and Project Director of the Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center in Kalamazoo, MI.

We have become aware that Dr. Henry and the State of Michigan were called upon to resolve an issue with licensing involving his ability to provide therapeutic services and assessments in the State of Michigan.  A complaint had been filed in 2019 questioning his credentials to provide specific contracted services through a Michigan Department of Health and Human Service contract with Children’s Trauma Assessment Center.   A resolution was reached on that matter.  Dr. Henry was granted Michigan Limited License Master Social Worker (LLMSW) status while he completes 4000 hours of supervised clinical work and a licensing exam to be credentialed as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW).  During the time he was with Oxford Community Schools he held this limited license and his work with us was part of the 4000 supervised hours, even though none of the work he did for us needed a license as it was not therapy nor assessment. Thus, Dr. Henry was fully credentialed to do the work he did for our school community.

The services Dr. Henry provided to the district following the tragedy of November 30 were to provide guidance relative to recovering from the trauma of a mass shooting.  Mental health agencies from Oakland County met with Oxford Schools staff to bring in the resources needed in the aftermath of this tragedy. Dr. Henry was recommended by multiple sources as the person best situated to give us the help we needed. He has been and is still a nationally recognized expert in trauma recovery. Most of the work he did for our district was during the 2021-22 school year. He provided community sessions on understanding trauma and consulted with groups of staff, students, and parents as requested or needed relative to trauma-based recovery.  During this past school year, the district brought Dr. Henry back to the district for special requests such as to meet with students, parents, and staff who were deeply affected by the Michigan State University tragedy.   Again, this was work to provide guidance, not therapy nor assessment.

We have had many people very pleased with the work of Dr. Henry and credit him with contributing to the positive progress in their recovery journey.  We have also had others who did not connect with him as well and looked to other resources in their recovery.  As with all support services, no one person can be right for everyone, it is a very personal choice.  This is why we continue to provide multiple avenues of assistance.  Our other sources of assistance are Oakland Schools, Common Ground, the All For Oxford Resiliency Center, Oakland County Health Network, EasterSeals, Oakland Addison Youth Assistance, North Oakland Community Coalition, and we provide an Employee Assistance Program for staff. These are all in addition to the added positions (Counselors, School Psychologists, Social Workers and Family School Liaisons) to our own district workforce to assist students and families with their recovery. 

I hope this gives some clarification to those with concerns. Providing qualified and credible resources for our school community’s health, wellness and recovery is paramount and will remain a priority as we continue in our journey forward.

Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch