Leah James, PhD

Global MHPSS Technical Advisor, Heartland Alliance International

Leah is the Global Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Technical Advisor for Heartland Alliance International (HAI), currently based in Cali, Colombia. She received a PhD in Social Psychology and Social Work, and a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Michigan. She has experience designing, implementing, and testing MHPSS and gender-based violence (GBV) interventions in conflict, disaster, and other humanitarian contexts. Other areas of focus include capacity building of non-specialist MHPSS providers, peer support group interventions, and staff support and well-being. Dr James has been a Research Fellow at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado and has provided mental health technical and research support to organizations such as the Center for Victims of Torture, the International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee, and Humanity and Inclusion.

Email: leahemilyjames@gmail.com

Professional Expertise


Psychology, Social work, Social and behavioral sciences


Common mental health conditions, Conflict/post-conflict settings, Disaster relief/response, Displaced population health, migration/refugee issues, Gender-based violence and intimate partner violence, Grief and loss, Stress and coping, Trauma

Methodological Areas

Community engagement and CBPR, Efficacy/effectiveness trials, Grant and proposal writing, Intervention development and testing, Program evaluation, Qualitative methods, Quantitative methods, Survey development

Strategies expertise

Community engagement, Capacity building, Dissemination and implementation, Intervention scale-up, Quality improvement, Supervision and coaching, Sustainability, Task shifting/sharing

Intervention Expertise

Campaigns/information, education, and communication, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Mental health awareness/promotion, Problem solving therapy, Psychosocial skills, Support groups

Partnership Expertise

Community-based organizations/coalitions, International NGOs, Schools and universities