Natural Hazards Center
Leah James is a research associate at the Natural Hazards Center, Environment and Society Program, Institute of Behavioral Sciences. She is also a psychotherapist/trainer at the Center for Victims of Torture and is currently based in Amman, Jordan, where she trains and supervises local clinicians in providing trauma mental health services to Syrian and Iraqi refugees. James is a licensed clinical social worker and has a PhD in social work and social psychology from the University of Michigan. She conducts applied research focused on culturally-adapted services for trauma and disaster survivors, with particular interest in the use of traditional healing practices, peer-leadership, and social action approaches in intervention development. James has engaged in international mental health research and humanitarian work in Haiti, Ghana, South Africa, and the DR Congo. She is a co-founder of a lay mental health worker training program for earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and has conducted multiple evaluations of this project. Additional current interests include the development of a mental health integrated disaster preparedness intervention for disaster prone-communities in Haiti and Nepal, a training program for treatment of gender-based violence survivors in DR Congo, and a meaning-making intervention for veterans with PTSD. Leah also has considerable domestic clinical experience, including as a clinical social worker with the PTSD Clinical Team at the Ann Arbor VA hospital, and as co-leader of a therapy group for incarcerated female survivors of sexual assault.