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Tara Leytham Powell

Associate Professor

Research Interests

Tara Powell received her B.A. from University of Iowa, MSW and MPH from Tulane University in New Orleans and her PhD in Social Work from the University of Texas in Austin.  She has had a long career in research and practice on post-disaster behavioral-health working as both a school social worker and researcher in disaster affected communities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Powell has also led multiple research projects focused on post-trauma recovery and evidence-based interventions, obtained organizational funding for her research, and has co-authored a number of articles in peer reviewed journals and book chapters. She also specializes in curriculum development and co-created the Journey of Hope, a school-based psycho-educational program to help children develop positive coping strategies in response to trauma and stress after a disaster.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Powell is collaborating with the organization, Save the Children, to adapt the Journey of Hope to a virtual model. She also is leading a research project examining frontline healthcare providers experiences working in tent hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in New York City.


BA, Communication Studies, University of Iowa, 2001

MSW, Tulane University, 2006

PhD, Social Work, University of Texas - Austin, 2014

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Affiliate, Center for Social and Behavioral Science

Recent Publications

Powell, T. M., & Qushua, N. (2023). A qualitative study of a mental health awareness intervention for Jordanian and resettled Syrian refugees in host communities. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 69(1), 161-172.

Choi, S., Powell, T. M., Muller, J. M., & Lux, E. A. (2022). Exploring the Disproportionate Impact of Disasters: Social Service Providers’ Perceptions of Factors Increasing Vulnerability Among Hurricane Survivors. Families in Society, 103(3), 314-327.

Luce, C., Leytham Powell, T., & Kim, Y. (2022). Mental Health, Social Support, and Active Coping in Nepali Earthquake Survivors. American Behavioral Scientist, 66(7), 881-893.

Powell, T., Scott, J., Yuma, P., & Hsiao, Y. (Accepted/In press). Surviving the storm: A pragmatic non-randomised examination of a brief intervention for disaster-affected health and social care providers. Health and Social Care in the Community, 30(6), e6217-e6227.

Powell, T., Billiot, S., Muller, J., Elzey, K., & Brandon, A. (2022). The Cost of Caring: Psychological Adjustment of Health-Care Volunteers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Traumatology, 28(3), 383-392.

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