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Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
300 Airdale Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-1697
Phone: 610-520-2600
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Cindy Sousa

CindyCindy Sousa, PhD, MSW, MPH is an Assistant Professor at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Cindy holds a PhD in Social Work from the University of Washington (where she was a NIMH Prevention Research Trainee), a MPH with a focus in community-orientated public health practice and a graduate certificate in Global Health at the University of Washington, and a MSW from Portland State University with a focus in community-based practice.

Cindy’s research centers on the health effects of violence, particularly political violence and family violence. She is especially interested in dynamic and cumulative processes of trauma and resiliency wherein individual, family, community, and societal experiences intersect. Cindy is currently researching political violence, health, and resilience among Palestinian women, using original quantitative and qualitative data collected in collaboration with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. Findings from this research highlight the particular mental health implications of violations to the lived environment within political violence; the effects of political violence on processes of mothering; and the importance of culture, place, and social and organizational supports in responding to the health effects of political violence.

In addition to her research on political violence, Cindy is a long-standing member of an analysis team that works with data from the Longitudinal Study of Exposure to Family Violence (Dr. Todd Herrenkohl, PI). This study employs a life-course perspective to investigate long-term health and behavioral outcomes related to violence, stress, and resilience among children and families who have taken part in the study since the early 1970s. Cindy has also engaged in qualitative research with women on the topics of community development, women’s empowerment, and rural health in Nicaragua. Cindy has a number of publications based on her work, including peer-reviewed articles in the journals Trauma, Violence and Abuse; Medicine, Conflict and Survival; The Journal of Interpersonal Violence and Global Public Health and a book chapter in Security Disarmed: Critical Perspectives on Gender, Race, and Militarization.

Cindy provides leadership for our Community Practice, Policy, and Advocacy concentration and teaches Foundation and Community Practice courses. She also developed and teaches our new course on International Social Welfare. Cindy’s teaching particularly focuses on communities and organizations; community-based research; health policy and promotion; positionality, power, and anti-oppression in social work; mixed methods research; and global policy, especially community level effects of and responses to neoliberal globalization. In the classroom, Cindy aims to help students establish and refine professional identities that are grounded in the ethics of social work and public health and are rooted in their radical, creative, and transformative traditions. To this end, her teaching focuses on promoting rigorous, engaged learning and critical thinking through providing both rich subject matter and relevant ways to integrate this learning with lessons from the field. Learning how to access, critically assess, help to build and incorporate theory into practice is a central goal of her teaching. As such, her fundamental focus is on helping students to grasp what is useful and real, while also aiding them to think creatively, expansively, and abstractly.

Cindy’s practice experience includes over eleven years in social service provision and over five years in program management in health education and promotion, youth development, advocacy and counseling programs for homeless, immigrant, adjudicated and underserved youth, adults and families.


Research and Scholarly Interests: health; political violence; community trauma; family well-being; individual and collective resilience; quantitative and qualitative methods; mixed methods

Substantive Specialization: The health effects of individual and collective experiences of violence and resilience

Selected publications:

Sousa, C. (2013). Political violence, collective functioning, and health: A review of the literature. Medicine, Conflict, and Survival, 29(3), 169-197.

Sousa, C., Haj-Yahia, M.M., Feldman, G., & Lee, J. (2013). Individual and collective dimensions of resilience within political violence. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 14(3), 235-254.

Sousa, C. (2013). Political violence, health, and coping among women in the West Bank. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 83(4) 505-519. (special acknowledgement to the Palestinian Medical Relief Society)

Sousa, C. & Marshall, D.J. (in process of revision for resubmission). Political violence and mental health recovery: Effects of neoliberalism and the role of international social work practice. International Social Work.

Sousa, C., Hagopian, A. (2011). Conflict, health and professional perseverance: Effects of military occupation on healthcare delivery in the West Bank. Global Public Health 6(5), 520-533.

Sousa, C., Herrenkohl, T.I., Moylan, C.A., Tajima, E.A., Herrenkohl, R. C., Russo, M.J., Klika, J.B. (2011). Longitudinal study on the Effects of Child Abuse and Children's Exposure to Domestic Violence, Parent-Child Attachments, and Antisocial Behavior in Adolescence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(1), 111-136. PMC2921555

Moylan, C.A., Herrenkohl, T.I., Sousa, C., Tajima, E., Herrenkohl, R., Russo, M. J. (2010). The Effects of Child Abuse and Witnessing Domestic Violence on Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems. Journal of Family Violence, 25(1), 53-63. PMC28723

Herrenkohl, T., Sousa, C., Tajima, E., Herrenkohl, R. and Moylan, C. (2008). Intersection of child abuse and children's exposure to domestic violence. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 9(2), 84-99.

Maas, C., Herrenkohl, T. and Sousa, C. (2008). Review of research on child maltreatment and violence in youth. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 9(1), 56-67.

Book chapters & reviews

Sousa C. (2013). Book review: Shattering Culture: American Medicine Responds to Cultural Diversity. Social Work in Health Care, 52(7), 684-687.

Sousa C. and Smith, R. (2008). Army of None: Militarism, Positionality and Film. In Sutton, Novkov and Morgen, (Eds.), Security Disarmed: Critical Perspectives on Gender, Race, and Militarization. Rutgers University Press.

Sousa, C. (2000). Essay in Guilloud, S. (Ed.) Voices from the WTO: An anthology of writings from the people who shut down the World Trade Organization. Olympia, WA: Evergreen State College Bookstore.

Recent courses taught:

  • Foundation Practice I and II-Fall 2012 & Spring 2013; Spring 2014
  • Perspectives on Social Welfare: Local to Global-Fall 2012; 2013
  • Community Strategies and Assessment: Advocacy and Action-Spring 2013; 2014
  • Community Practice, Policy, and Advocacy (advanced macro social work practice courses) I (Fall 2013) and II (Spring 2014)

A recent copy of Dr. Sousa’s CV is available here: