Dr. Courtney Welton-Mitchell is trained as a social psychologist and a mental health clinician specializing in traumatic stress. She is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, where she directs the Certificate in Climate and Disaster Resilience. She is also a research associate with the Natural Hazards Center, Institute for Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and Scholar Ambassador. She co-founded the Humanitarian Assistance Applied Research Group at the University of Denver and was the Director from 2014-2018.
Her research focuses on health/public health interventions in disasters and complex humanitarian crises using mixed methods. Much of her research emphasizes mental health integrated approaches to climate and disaster adaptation, mitigation and preparedness. She has conducted studies on group-based mental health, gender-based violence, and disaster preparedness interventions, including public health messaging campaigns and social norms approaches to attitude and behavioral change.She is a founding member and co-chair of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute's Public Health Working Group. Her current intervention research includes psychological preparedness for public school teachers, staff wellbeing initiatives for humanitarian aid workers, mental health integrated preparedness for climate change affected agricultural communities and communities impacts by disasters including wildfires, flooding, landslides and earthquakes.
Areas of Expertise
- Intervention research in disasters and complex humanitarian crises (mental health, gender-based violence, climate adaptation and disaster preparedness)
- Public health messaging campaigns and social norms approaches to attitude and behavioral change in disasters and complex humanitarian crises
- Psychological and other factors influencing risk communication, perception, and behaviors during disasters and complex humanitarian crises
Education, Licensure & Certifications
- PhD, Social Psychology, University of Denver, 2012 (Tool: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience)
- MA, Affect/Social Psychology, University of Denver, 2009
- MA, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, University of New Mexico, 1997
- BFA, New School for Social Research/Parson’s School of Design, 1992
- U.S. Fulbright Scholar Ambassador—U.S. Fulbright Commission (2020-2022)
- U.S. Fulbright Research Scholar—Malaysian-American Commission on Education Exchange (2017–2018)
- Outstanding Dissertation in Psychology, American Psychological Association—Div. 56 Trauma Psychology (2013)
- PUBH 6842: DrPH Seminar—Professional Skills
- EHOH 6645: Research Methods: Climate Change, Disaster and Humanitarian Perspectives
- EHOH 6642: Climate and Disaster Mental Health
- EHOH 6625: Global Response to Disasters and Climate Crises
- International Humanitarian Crisis Simulation (component of EHOH 6626: Disasters and Climate Crises: Practical Applications)
- PI: Mental Health-integrated Climate Change Adaptation for Subsistence Farming Communities in Mizoram, India. Collaboration with Mizoram University and GeoHazards International. IBS Research Development Award, 2022-2022.
- PI: Adapting and Testing an Intervention to Integrate Workforce Mental Health into Pre-K-12 School Emergency Preparedness via Shared Leadership and Peer Support. Collaboration with CCSD. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 2021-2023.
- Lead Consultant: Staff Wellbeing Assessment and Intervention for Aid Workers in Ukraine and Beyond. Health Right International, 2022-2023.
- Co-I (mental health lead): Marshall Fire Evaluation of Impacts of the Marshall Fire on Health. JBP Environmental Health Fellowship Collaborative Grant, 2022-2023.
- Research Advisor: The Phoenix Project: A Community-Based Mental Health Fire Recovery Program. Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program, Australian Government, 2022-2023.
- Senior Personnel (mental health lead): (grant1) Flipping the Switch to Easing COVID-19 Restrictions: How Variation in State Policy and Public Health Messaging Strategies Impact Risk Perceptions and Behaviors Across Time. (grant2) Partisanship, Trust, and Vaccine Hesitancy: Impacts of the 2020 Election on COVID-19 Risk Management. U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), RAPID Response. Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences,2020-2021.
- PI: Seed Grant: Research Development Funding—Integrating MHPSS, social norms, and access to justice to address domestic violence in conflict affected populations: Adapting and testing a model in Iraq and Colombia. Collaboration with Heartland Alliance Int’l. Funder: ELRHA Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC), 2019.
- PI: Empowering Displaced Communities to Prevent Intimate Partner Abuse: Messaging Intervention to Change Attitudes, Promote Help-seeking, and Improve Well-being among Syrians in Lebanon and Rohingya in Malaysia. Collaboration with Tenaganita Malaysia and ABAAD Lebanon. U.S. State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees, Migration, 2016-Dec 2018.
- Co-lead Evaluator. Feasibility Study of Mobile and Remote GBV Service Delivery in Myanmar, Burundi and Iraq. International Rescue Committee, 2018-2019.
Publications and Presentations
- Welton-Mitchell, C., James, L. Michael, S., Santoadi, F., Shakirah, S., Hussin, H., Anwar, M., Kilzar, L., James, A. (2021). Development and Testing of a Community-Based Intervention to Address Intimate Partner Abuse among Rohingya and Syrian Refugees: A Social Norms-Based Mental Health-Integrated Approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health - Special Issue: Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Health in Low- and Middle-Income Settings, 18(21), 11674.
- Tol; Ager; Bizouerne; Bryant; Chammay; Hamdani; James; Jansen; Leku; Likindikoki; Panter-Brick; Pluess; Ruttenberg; Savage; Welton-Mitchell; Hall; Harper-Shehadeh; Harmer; van Ommeren (2020). Improving mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in humanitarian settings through research: reflections on research funded through the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crisis (R2HC) program. Conflict and Health, 17, 71.
- Roberts, J. D., Dickinson, K. L., Koebele, E., Neuberger, L., Banacos, N., Blanch-Hartigan, D., Welton-Mitchell, C., & Birkland, T. A. (2020). Clinicians, cooks, and cashiers: Examining health equity and the COVID-19 risks to essential workers. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 36(9).
- Jewell JS, Farewell, C, Welton-Mitchell, C, Lee-Winn A, Walls J, Leiferman JA (2020). Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: An online survey with a U.S. sample. JMIR Form Res, 2020;4(10): e22043.
- Riley; Akther; Ali; Noor; Welton-Mitchell (2020). Systematic human rights violations, traumatic events, daily stressors and mental health of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Conflict and Health, 14, 60.
- Welton-Mitchell, C., Bujang, N.H., Hussin, H., Husein, S., Santoadi, F., James, L.E. (2019). Intimate partner abuse among Rohingya in Malaysia: Assessing stressors, mental health, social norms and help-seeking to inform interventions. Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas, 17(2), 187-196. doi: 10.4103/INTV.INTV_18_19.