Sarah Powell, MA, works as Project Director for the Center for Preparedness Research, Education, and Practice (CPREP) in Temple University’s Department of Public Health. As a medical anthropologist focusing on the translation of policy into practice, she is primarily concerned with the critical linkages between disaster mental health and public health at the local level. At present, Sarah is working in collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health (DBHIDS) to assist in the development of their internal Disaster Behavioral Health Response Plan for the City of Philadelphia. As part of her ongoing work with DBHIDS, Sarah has worked on the formation of citywide Community Response Teams (CRTs), comprised of volunteers from the Behavioral Health Provider Network to deliver much needed crisis intervention services for local communities affected by violence and disaster. Developed in collaboration with the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, a series of six Business Continuity workshops is provided for administrators of Behavioral Health Providers. As part of this effort to provide planning support to the provider network, Sarah also offers Family & Personal Preparedness Training for agency staff.
Powell was active in 2004 - 2007 in facilitating communication and collaboration among the state-appointed Mental Health Disaster Coordinators in the Southeast PA region. She was co-chair on the Mental Health Subcommittee of the SEPA Regional Counter Terrorism Task Force, and her primary aim in this role was to assist in planning for a mental health response on a regional level as well as to work on issues of interoperability across agencies and localities. More recently, Sarah has taken a more active role in participating in Philadelphia planning but remains connected to the MH Subcommittee and regional efforts. Sarah presents locally and nationally on the CRT program and assessments of the provider agency network with regard to planning and preparedness activity.