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Shannon

Patricia Shannon

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Chicago


Tel: 612/624-3490

Office hours:
By appointment

Areas of Interest

Mental health assessment for newly arrived refugees, Community-based interventions for refugee mental health, Community-based participatory research and evaluation, Teaching Trauma, Secondary Trauma, Therapy experiences of women survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Research Interests

I have been an assistant professor in the School of Social Work since 2009. During my more than 10 years at the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis, I worked with refugee and asylum-seeking torture survivors from more than 60 countries and taught community providers how to assess and treat war trauma and torture survivors.  I also worked to develop in-depth community capacity-building projects to promote the overall health of communities with newly arriving refugees through restoring and strengthening leadership capabilities, creating networks of support that are responsive to the unique needs of each community and studying and disseminating successful models of community based care. 

My current research grew out of previous capacity building efforts to outreach to refugee communities to identify and educate those who are suffering with mental health symptoms of war trauma and torture.  The goal of the Healing in Partnership project is to improve the health of Minnesota’s refugee communities by identifying mental health needs of refugees when they first arrive and developing appropriate community-based and professional interventions to address refuge mental health problems.  This partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health, the Center for Victims of Torture, and local refugee leaders began with conducting focus groups with over 100 refugees including the Bhutanese, Somalis, Oromos, and Karen from Burma. We developed short, culturally adapted, mental health screening tools for use during the initial health screening with newly arriving refugees who have been exposed to war trauma and torture.  We are currently screening refugee arrivals for war trauma, torture and mental health symptoms at several local clinics.

I am also working to develop effective community based treatment resources starting with culturally adapted curriculum for psychoecucation of refugee survivors.  I am completing a wait-list control trial of psychoeducation groups in the Karen community.  The goal of psychoeducation is to de-stigmatize the concept of mental health in refugee communities and to educate survivors about effective treatments for trauma. In addition, I am working to build the capacity of provider networks to offer culturally appropriate, trauma-informed care to refugee survivors.

At SSW, I teach mental health courses in the M.S.W. program; engage in mental health research; and help to represent the School in the areas of mental health services and social work practice.  I teach the advanced mental health course on the Assessment and Treatment of Trauma where students learn evidence based practice approaches to the treatment of trauma across diverse populations and communities.  Recently, I have become interested in how students learn about trauma treatment in ways that promote the growth of knowledge and the development of self-care strategies for long-term health in practice.  I have just completed a study of normative experiences of growth and stress in a course on the treatment of trauma to better understand how to maximize effective teaching strategies.

Audio/Video/Press

For Refugees, American Dream Starts With Better Mental-Health Screenings, article in NationSwell

Articles on lack of refugee mental health screening Minneapolis Star Tribune; Minnesota Magazine

Video about the Center for Victims of Torture

Podcast at SUNY Buffalo

MPR Interview

Selected Publications

  1.  

    Shannon, P., Wieling, L., Simmelink, J., Becher, E.  ( 2014)  Beyond stigma: Barriers to discussing mental health in refugee populations.  Journal of Loss and Trauma.

  2. Shannon, P.J., Wieling, L, Becher, E., Simmelink, J. ( 2014) Exploring the mental health effects of political trauma with newly arrived refugees. Qualitative Health Research.

  3. Shannon, P.J. ( 2014) Refugees’ advice to physicians: How to ask about mental health. Family Practice. Vol. 00, No. 00, 1–5.doi:10.1093/fampra/cmu017

  4. Shannon, P., Simmelink, J. Becher, E., Im, H., Crook-Lyons, R. (2014) Developing self-care practices in a trauma treatment course. Journal of Social Work Education.

  5. Shannon, P., Simmelink, J. Becher, E., Im, H., Crook-Lyons, R. (2014) Experiences of stress in a trauma treatment course.  Journal of Social Work Education.

  6. Shannon, P., Simmelink, J., Wieling, L., Im, H., Becher, E., O’Fallon, A. (In press, 2013) Exploring mental health screening feasibility and training of United States refugee health coordinators. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies.

  7. Shannon, P. J., Simmelink, J., Im, H., Becher, E., & Crook-Lyon, R. E. (2013, June 3). Exploring the Experiences of Survivor Students in a Course on Trauma Treatment. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0032715

  8. Shannon, P., Im, H., Becher, E., Simmelink, J., Wieling, L., O’Fallon, A. (2012) Screening for war trauma, torture and mental health symptoms among newly arrived refugees:  A national survey of state refugee health coordinators.  Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 10 (4), 380-394.

  9. Shannon, P., O’Dougherty, M., Mehta, E. (2012)  Refugees’ perspectives on barriers to communication about trauma histories in primary care.  Mental Health in Family Medicine, 9, (1), 47-55.

  10. Simmelink, J. & Shannon, P. (2012) Evaluating the mental health training needs of community based organizations serving refugees. Advances in Social Work Special Issue: Global Problems and Local Solutions, 13,(2), 325-339.

Selected Presentations

  1. Shannon, P. , Vinson, G., Cook, T. (2014, January) Innovation toward improving the refugee mental health service delivery system. Paper presented on Symposium, Innovative approaches to refugee helath and mental health in resettlement. Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work Research

  2. Shannon, P., Im, H., Simmelink, J., Becher, E., Wieling, L, O’Fallon, A. (2013, January) Exploring national practices and barriers related to mental health screening of refugees, Paper presented at Symposium:  Changing public health policy to include mental health screening of refugees: Examining the stakes and stakeholders.  at Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work Research.

  3. Shannon, P., Wieling, L., Simmelink, J., Im, H., Vinson, G. (2013, January) Outcomes of a mental health screening initiative for newly arriving refugees in Minnesota. Paper presented at Symposium:  Changing public health policy to include mental health screening of refugees: Examining the stakes and stakeholders.  at Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work Research.

  4. Shannon, P., Im, H., Lennon, E. (2013, January)  Exploring the effectiveness of culturally adapted psychoeducation for improving access and addressing mental health stigma in newly arriving refugees.  Paper presented at Symposium: Changing public health policy to include mental health screening of refugees: Examining the stakes and stakeholders. at Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work Research.

  5. Shannon, P. Nguyen, H., Cook, T. (2013, January) Progress toward the evaluation of the mental health service delivery system for newly arriving refugees.  Paper presented at Symposium: Changing public health policy to include mental health screening of refugees: Examining the stakes and stakeholders. at Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work Research. 

  6. Shannon, P., Vinson, G., Im, H. (2012, November) Tailoring trauma interventions with Karen refugees: Exploring outcomes from mental health screening to community-based interventions. Panel presented at Annual Conference of International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Los Angeles, CA.

  7. Shannon, P. & Snyder, L. (2012, November) Issues in Teaching Trauma in the MSW Curriculum Roundtable at Annual Meeting of the Council of Social Work Education, Washington, D.C.

  8. Shannon, P., Simmelink, J., Im, H.(2012, January) Building Community Capacity for Healing Refugee Trauma:  Evaluation of the New Neighbors Providers Network. Paper presented on Symposium, Improving and Sustaining Community Health Through Coalition-Building:  Lessons Learned from Three Community-Level Intervention Research Projects. at Annual Society for Social Work Research Conference, Washington, D.C.

  9. Shannon, P., Simmelink, J., Im, H. , Becher, E. (2011, October) Exploring normative experiences of growth and stress among graduate students in a course on the treatment of trauma.  Paper presented at annual meeting of Council of Social Work Education, Atlanta, GA.

  10. Shannon, P., Wieling, E., Simmelink, J., Im, H.  (2011, January)  Developing a Culturally Grounded Mental Health Screening Tool for Refugees in Minnesota. Paper presented at  Annual Society for Social Work Research Conference, Tampa, Fl.

  11. Shannon, P., Wieling, E., Simmelink, J., Becher, E., Yeats, J, O'Fallon, A., Hubbard, J. (2010, November) Developing a Culturally Relevant Process for Mental Health Screening, Referring, and Treating Resettling Refugees with Multi-component Systemic Interventions. Symposium presented at Annual Conference of International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Montreal, Canada.

  12. Shannon, P.  (2010, October)  Building Community Capacities for Healing Refugee Trauma. Invited Speaker, Annual Meeting of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships, St. Paul, MN

  13. Shannon, P., Simmelink, J. (2010, August)  Assessing the mental health needs of Minnesota’s newest refugees. Workshop presented at CEUs on a Stick, University of Minnesota School of Social Work.

  14. Shannon, P. (2010, June) Developing culturally informed mental health screening for Minnesota’s refugees.  Presented at Annual Conference of Minnesota Chapter of National Association of Social Workers.

  15. Shannon, P.,Wieling, E., Ogassawara, T., Simmelink, J., Becher, E.   (2010, April) Development of a Culturally Sensitive Mental Health Screening Tool for Minnesota Refugees. Poster presented at College of Education and Human Development research day.

  16. Shannon, P.,Wieling, E., Ogassawara, T., Simmelink, J., Becher, E.   (2010, March)  Assessing the Mental Health of Karen and Bhutanese Refugee Families in the Child Welfare System. Poster presented at State Conference of Minnesota Association of Social Workers,  Minneapolis, MN.