Courtney Welton-Mitchell, PhD, is an 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, IBS, UCB. She is trained as a social psychologist and a mental health clinician specializing in traumatic stress. She has worked for several years in complex humanitarian crisis, first as a humanitarian aid worker, and later as an intervention researcher. Her research focuses on health/public health interventions in disasters and complex humanitarian crises using mixed methods. In recent years she implemented and evaluated interventions in Nepal, Haiti, Malaysia, and Lebanon. She has also conducted studies on public health messaging campaigns and social norms approaches to behavioral change. Her current research and consultancy projects include mental health integrated climate adaptation and disaster preparedness initiatives—in public schools in Colorado, among agricultural communities in N. India, wildfire affected communities in Colorado and Australia, and working with humanitarian aid workers in Ukraine and Turkey. In collaboration with colleagues at the DU, she leads annual disaster simulation exercises focused on complex humanitarian crises.
Areas of Expertise
- Mental health integrated climate adaptation and disaster preparedness intervention research in disaster prone and fragile ecological settings
- Mental health integrated interpersonal violence intervention research in complex humanitarian crises (involving refugee populations and other forced migrants)
- Staff wellbeing initiatives with workers in high risk settings: focus on public school teachers and humanitarian aid workers
- 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
- 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)
- Co-Chair, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute's Learning from Earthquakes Public Health Subcommittee
- 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.
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.