Tonya Cross Hansel is a social worker with expertise in research, statistics, disaster mental health, trauma, and maximizing outcomes for social service agencies. Dr. Hansel’s interest in research began as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer, where she helped coordinate research addressing the social problems associated with transmission of HIV and AIDS in the Gambia West Africa.
Following her service, she attended Tulane University, completing her PhD in Social Work and broadened her research to include terrorism and its impact on divorce rates. Dr. Hansel joined the faculty of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Department of Psychiatry in 2007 and held the titles of Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Evaluation and Research. Her research efforts center on evaluation of general trauma services, disaster response work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and towards a better understanding of technological disaster following the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill.
Together these experiences have allowed her to focus on measuring traumatic experiences and implementing systematic recovery initiatives that are effective at reducing negative symptoms, but also at emphasizing the importance of individual and community strengths that contribute to recovery. Dr. Hansel, is currently an Associate Professor with the Tulane University School of Social Work, where she directs the Doctorate of Social Work. As the Program Director, she plans to extend research methods and data analytic techniques to the curriculum, creating a practical foundation for the future of applied researchers.