MA International Disaster Psychology: Trauma and Global Mental Health

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in International Disaster Psychology: Trauma and Global Mental Health program trains graduate students who become highly competent and committed mental health professionals. In addition to providing master's-level training in general clinical psychology, the program meets a clear need for specialized knowledge and experience to work in the trauma, disaster and global mental health fields. Our students provide mental health services, train and consult with agencies, develop emergency preparedness and response plans, and monitor and evaluate psychosocial interventions domestically and abroad. Students also develop a background in global mental health, a field that focuses on methods for increasing the mental health workforce in low-resource communities, addressing stigma regarding mental illness and mental health care and expanding beyond treatment models that are based on a Western understanding of disease and recovery.

Our students and alumni go on to provide quality, culturally-informed care, domestically and worldwide. They work with individuals and communities who are affected by traumatic events, acute and chronic civil conflict, natural disasters, health-related pandemics, and longstanding socioeconomic disparities. 

Our program is recognized for Innovative Graduate Training by both the American Psychological Association and the National Council of Schools in Professional Psychology and is the first master’s degree program of its kind in the nation.

Areas of Instruction & Training

Students take courses consistent with a Clinical Psychology Master’s Program, including:

  • Ethics
  • Clinical Interviewing
  • Psychopathology & Diagnosis
  • Lifespan Development
  • Group Interventions
  • Psychotherapeutic Models
  • Substance Abuse
  • Psychobiology
  • Family Therapy
  • Research Methods
  • Statistics
  • Multiculturalism and Diversity

In addition, students have specialized coursework in the following areas:

  • Trauma interventions
  • Disaster Mental Health
  • Gender-Based violence
  • Crisis intervention
  • Grief and Loss
  • Program Evaluation
  • Global Mental Health
  • Cross-Cultural Analysis
  • Intercultural Practice
  • Public Policy
  • Assessment
Students at Internship Presentations

Program Structure

The program includes an integrated academic and practicum curriculum that provides students with expertise to pursue a variety of career options in the mental health field domestically and abroad. 

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    Designed to be completed in 7 quarters over 2 years

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    Includes 90 quarter hours of course work

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    Local practicums & an international internship

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    Experience in our campus-based community clinic

Who We Are

  • Hope Danecki, MA
    Hope Danecki

    Internship & Practicum Coordinator

    Hope Danecki is our Practicum and Internship Coordinator for the MAIDP program. Her role focuses on the logistics of connecting field placements and internship opportunities with our students. She also helps with the Student Services side of ensuring our MAIDP students meet important benchmarks throughout the program and beyond.

    Hope earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Master of Arts from Denver Seminary, focusing on cross-cultural engagement. She came to the University of Denver after working in various refugee and immigrant support roles since 2014. Hope has extensive experience supporting these populations in fields of cultural integration, education, employment, and resettlement, as well as the training and development of others to engage in similar spheres. Getting to support communities and care teams through this role is exciting and life-giving for her.

  • Judy Fox, PhD
    Judy Fox


    Dr. Fox is a Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology and the former director of our Master’s Program in International Disaster Psychology: Trauma and Global Mental Health Program. Serving in the director position for 15 years she developed the foundation of the program and lead a faculty team who deepened its academic and clinical training and global learning opportunities. She founded and was the first director of the program’s Trauma and Disaster Recovery Clinic, a community mental health clinic serving transnational populations in Denver who have been impacted by disaster and trauma. Additionally, Dr. Fox supervised and helped to develop the Colorado Resilience Collaborative, an initiative that focuses on the prevention and detection of identity-based violence. Throughout her career she has taught both doctoral and masters-level courses and seminars in development across the lifespan through a cross-cultural lens, clinical interviewing, trauma treatment, psychopathology and integrated approaches to child and adolescent diagnosis and treatment. She supervises students at the masters and doctoral levels and her clinical interests include the impact of trauma and disaster on children, adolescents, and their families. Her scholarly interests are in attachment and systems theories that include a socio-cultural lens as applied to a variety of populations and settings, mental health stigma and psychotherapy, family functioning, trauma, caregivers of those affected by severe mental illness, and graduate level training and supervision.

    Dr. Fox has a private practice in the Denver area serving clients and their families and has worked in mental health care settings and in Veteran’s Administration and medical training center hospitals providing direct service, training to psychology interns and psychiatric residents, and leading psychosocial teams providing comprehensive care to clients receiving outpatient and inpatient care.


  • Tiamo Katsonga-Phiri, PhD
    Tiamo Katsonga-Phiri

    Clinical Professor | Trauma Disaster Recovery Clinic Director 

    Tiamo Katsonga-Phiri, Ph.D., is a Project Lead and Clinical Faculty in the MA program in International Disaster Psychology: Trauma & Global Mental Health.  She completed her doctoral internship and post-doctorate fellowship at the Aurora Mental Health Center's Colorado Refugee Wellness Center. She is a Clinical Psychologist with broad interests in child psychology, refugee mental health, and trauma-informed practices. In addition to being appointed the Director of the Trauma Disaster Recovery Clinic, she will continue to run our Survivors of Torture (SoT) program, a collaboration in partnership with the International Rescue Committee and Denver Health's Human Rights Clinic. Her research has appeared in leading journals, including the Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research, Archives of Women's Mental Health, Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, and Prevention Science, among others. Professor Katsonga-Phiri earned her Ph.D. in Clinical-Child Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago Illinois.


  • Gwen Mitchell, PsyD
    Gwen Mitchell

    Associate Professor | Co-Director

    Dr. Gwen Mitchell is a Co-Director and Associate Professor in the International Disaster Psychology Master's Program at The Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University of Denver.  She is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience working in the global mental health and humanitarian aid spaces. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Denver and has been conducting psychological evaluations and providing treatment, both domestically and in the international context, since 1999.   She has provided expert testimony in both immigration and criminal courts in the areas of asylum, torture, unusual hardship, PTSD, complex trauma, child abuse and fight-vs-flight.  Her international work experience includes work with Doctors Without Borders, The Center for Victims of Torture, Open Society Foundation, and SalusWorld.  In these training environments, she has trained extensively using participant centered and experiential education methodology on topics such as: trauma counseling, basic mental health, the psychology of aging, working with ex-combatants, child development and child-centered interventions, gender based violence and victim support services, group facilitation and counseling interventions for People Living with HIV/AIDS and LGBTQIA+ communities. She has also played a part in the development of a mental health policy for the country of Liberia and consulted with a number of NGOs as an expert in mental health and trauma.  Dr. Mitchell has presented at conferences domestically and internationally and co-authored various publications in the areas of: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in refugees and IDPs, Post Traumatic Growth (PTG), counseling applications with people of African ancestry, the impact of war on civilians, therapeutic photography, re-entry trauma, group counseling with vulnerable groups in Myanmar and the experience of working as a psychologist internationally.

  • Laura Ramzy, PhD
    Dr. Laura Ramzy

    Assistant Professor

    Dr. Laura Ramzy joins the MA program in International Disaster Psychology: Trauma & Global Mental Health from the Lowry Family Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) within the Denver Health and Hospital Authority healthcare system.  She is a Clinical Psychologist with broad interests in integrated care, refugee and immigrant health, multicultural sensitivity, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues within primary care.  In addition to being appointed the Director of Field Placements for the IDP program, she will teach, supervise, and provide support to our Trauma Disaster Recovery Clinic.  She also plans to retain her appointment with Denver Health and continue with projects focused on DEI issues experienced by frontline healthcare workers.  

    Her graduate training is in Counseling Psychology, including a MA degree obtained from the University of Denver in 2005 and a Ph.D. degree obtained from the University of Oregon in 2012.  She is a regular presenter at the North American Refugee Healthcare Conference (NARHC).  Laura identifies as Egyptian American and was raised by immigrant parents in Cleveland, Ohio, and has been involved in the local refugee and immigrant community as a volunteer, clinician, researcher, and advocate for the past 17 years.  Her current areas of interest include traveling and exploring new places with her partner and two young kids and adventuring in the Rocky Mountains.


  • Bryan Rojas-Araúz, PhD
    Bryan Rojas-Arauz

    Assistant Professor

    Dr. Bryan Rojas-Araúz brings a wealth of experience and a diverse background to our team. A bilingual bicultural Afro-Latino immigrant of Costa Rican and Panamanian descent, Bryan's journey in the field of psychology has been driven by his deep passion for cultural responsiveness and inclusive mental health practices. Bryan's academic journey began in the Bay Area, California, where he immersed himself in community organizing and advocacy as a DREAM activist. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from San Jose State University, a Master’s in Counseling in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology with a Specialization in Spanish Language Psychological Services and Research from the University of Oregon.  As a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and founder of In Lak’ech Counseling, Education, & Consulting, Bryan is dedicated to providing trauma-informed and culturally responsive psychological services. He brings over a decade of experience working with Spanish-speaking communities, including children, adults, and families. His areas of expertise encompass immigration psychology, Global Majorities' access to mental health and education, ethnic identity formation, critical consciousness, and cultural responsiveness development.

  • Maria Vukovich, PhD
    Maria Vukovich

    Associate Research Professor | Co-Director

    Dr. Maria Vukovich is a Co-Director and Associate Professor in the International Disaster Psychology Master's Program at The Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University of Denver. She has over 15 years of experience leading projects and conducting applied research and evaluation of humanitarian and direct service programs with populations affected by human rights abuses, terror, war, violence, and migration. Her work has included randomized control trials, cross-cultural measurement studies, population-based surveys, and community-participatory engaged mixed methods projects in global (East Africa, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, Southeast Asia) and U.S. settings (Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis-St Paul, Washington DC). This work has been sponsored by the U.S. State Dept, U.S. Dept of Homeland Security, ORR, CDC, NIH, USAID, UNHCR, UNOCT, and WHO. Her research has been published in Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Areas of Armed Conflict, Journal of International Migration, Health and Social Care, BMC Family Practice, BMC Psychiatry, Traumatology, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Torture Journal, Conflict and Health, and more.


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International Internship

Global Mental Health

During the summer between their first and second year, students spend eight weeks applying theory to practice in the global context. International internships are arranged by MAIDP with organizations whose missions focus on a variety of mental health and psychosocial issues relevant to individuals and communities affected by disaster and trauma. We collaborate with local and international non-governmental organizations.

Explore Our Impact
Field Placement Map


Our program offers more than a hundred practicum options in the Denver metro area and greater front range.

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"Both of my supervisors have been attentive, trauma-informed, knowledgeable, and willing to take the time to help me learn and grow." MAIDP Student - 2019
"I provided therapy to refugee clients and their families [during field placement]. I was also given the opportunity to work with community navigators and provide support, consultation, and mental health training. There was also additional opportunities to work with research, on a radio program, and in schools with kiddos. It was amazing!" MAIDP Student - 2018

Community Resources

Trauma & Disaster Recovery Clinic

Students provide clinical services to clients in the Trauma & Disaster Recovery Clinic at DU, which provides help to those affected by trauma including accidents, crime, abuse, natural disaster and refugee status. The TDRC offers comprehensive psychological services to alleviate the effects of traumatic experiences and foster resilience as well as personal, family, and community growth.

GSPP Clinics

Peace Corps Fellows

We are proud to partner with the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program to support returning Peace Corps volunteers to continue their dedication to community service while developing essential professional skills.

Benefits for returned Peace Corps volunteers:

  • Application fee waiver 

Scholarship Information:

GSPP has one Coverdell Fellowship to award per year.  Thus, not all RPCV students receive this scholarship.  Please email to inquire.

Eligibility and requirements:
Applicants must indicate in the online admission application to the program that you are a returned Peace Corps volunteer and wish to be considered for a Coverdell Fellowship and upload a copy of your official Description of Service from the Peace Corps. Funds may not be available if this information is not indicated in the application. 

More information about The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program can be found on the Peace Corps website.

Please contact with questions. 


Admission Requirements

We invite you to learn more about our program's application requirements and deadlines.

Learn More