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

Available to journalists to discuss the COVID-19-related topic(s) below

  • Improving stress-management and coping skills (including among social service and health care workers) after natural disasters
  • talking to children about the COVID-19 pandemic

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Research Output

  • A Collaborative Study Abroad Model: Inspiring Fiscally Underrepresented Students

    Mcdonald, H. G., Asbill, M., Powell, T. L., Billman, S., Ozkan, S. & Faulkner, S., Jul 25 2019, Strategies for Facilitating Inclusive Campuses in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion. Hoffman, J., Blessinger, P. & Makhanya, M. (eds.). Emerald, p. 179-195 (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning; vol. 17).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 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. Chong, A. M. L. & Chi, I. (eds.). Taylor and Francis, p. 109-118 10 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    In the Aftermath: The Effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria on the Well-Being of Health-Care and Social Service Providers

    Powell, T. M., Yuma, P. J., Scott, J., Suarez, A., Morales, I., Vinton, M., Marrero, M. & Li, S. J., Jan 1 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Traumatology.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Activities

    • 1 Oral presentation

    Ask the experts: Mental and behavioral health during COVID-19

    Benjamin L Hankin (Speaker), , Heidemarie Kaiser Laurent (Speaker), , Karen M Tabb (Speaker), , Shardé Smith (Speaker), & Tara Leytham Powell (Speaker)

    Jun 22 2020

    Activity: Talk typesOral presentation