Tara Leytham Powell

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Personal profile

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 a school-based psycho-educational program to help children develop positive coping strategies in response to trauma and stress after a disaster. The program, Journey of Hope, is now being implemented throughout the United States and internationally. Dr. Powell’s current research focuses on trauma recovery and resilience in children, youth and care providers. She is studying on the impact of the school-based curriculum in Moore, Oklahoma and has a concurrent research project examining the experiences of care providers who are providing services to children on the border.


BA, Communication Studies, University of Iowa, 2001

MSW, Tulane University, 2006

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

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Disasters Medicine & Life Sciences
Hope Medicine & Life Sciences
disaster Social Sciences
natural disaster Social Sciences
trauma Social Sciences
coping Social Sciences
school Social Sciences
substance abuse Social Sciences

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Research Output 2011 2019

Addressing the social emotional needs of children in chronic poverty: A pilot of the Journey of Hope

Leytham Powell, T. & Davis, J. P., Mar 2019, In : Children and Youth Services Review. 98, p. 319-327 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wounds and Injuries

Humanitarian response after a complex environmental disaster: A case study of Typhoon Haiyan

Powell, T. & Brack, J., Jan 22 2019, Social Work and Sustainability in Asia: Facing the Challenges of Global Environmental Changes. Taylor and Francis, p. 109-118 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Investigating the aftershock of a disaster: A study of health service utilization and mental health symptoms in post-earthquake Nepal

Powell, T., Li, S. J., Hsiao, Y., Ettari, C., Bhandari, A., Peterson, A. & Shakya, N., Apr 2 2019, In : International journal of environmental research and public health. 16, 8, 1369.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Mental Health Services

Measuring Adolescent Coping Styles Following a Natural Disaster: An ESEM Analysis of the Kidcope

Leytham Powell, T., Wegmann, K. M. & Overstreet, S., Jun 1 2019, In : School Mental Health. 11, 2, p. 335-344 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

coping behavior
Psychological Adaptation
Cyclonic Storms
natural disaster
Social Work
Social Support