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Sarah E. (Betsy) Bledsoe

Associate Professor
Co-Director of the National Initiative for Trauma Education and Workforce Development
Consultant, Center for Adjustment, Resilience & Recovery

Betsy Bledsoe


Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building

Room 524-C

325 Pittsboro Street

Campus Box 3550

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

O: 919-843-6543

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Betsy (Sarah E.) Bledsoe, Ph.D., MPhil, MSW, is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. She is Co-Director of the National Initiative for Trauma Education and Workforce Development and a consultant with the Center for Adjustment, Resilience & Recovery – both part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She is also principal investigator of the Community Voices Project and Whole Robeson Together, both community based participatory research studies in partnership with families and service providers in Robeson County, N.C.  She received a doctoral degree and masters of philosophy from Columbia University School of Social Work, a masters of social work from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Tennessee. Her research reflects over two decades of experience conducting community-based and national studies to strengthen the mental health of adults, adolescents, children and families, particularly those surviving poverty, discrimination and trauma. She has expertise in mental health services, intervention and implementation research with a focus on mood, anxiety, and trauma related disorders during the perinatal period and beyond. Her research has examined the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practice and empirically supported interventions with attention to the cultural adaptation of these practices to increase access to historically marginalized communities and populations including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color, individuals and families living in rural and urban areas, and individuals and families surviving poverty.

A community-engaged scholar, Dr. Bledsoe is dedicated to partnering with communities to strengthen the mental health of children, adults, families and communities. Her research and scholarship have been supported with funding from federal and state agencies, foundations, and private donors. Her research, clinical expertise, and certification as a practitioner, supervisor, and trainer in multiple empirically supported interventions inform her teaching and scholarship. She primarily teaches direct practice courses including brief treatment, interpersonal psychotherapy, and motivational interviewing.

Dr. Bledsoe has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, abstracts, and manuals, and has given over 295 peer-reviewed and invited presentations at national and international venues. A Society for Social Work and Research Fellow, her work has been recognized with awards from the Office of the UNC-CH Provost, UNC School of Social Work, UNC Center for Global Initiatives, Council on Social Work Education, Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, and the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology. She has been a Guest Professor at the University of Toronto, University of Maryland at Baltimore, and Renmin University, Beijing, China. Additionally, she has been a consulting editor for Social Work Research and Social Work and has served on the editorial review board of Research on Social Work Practice, Social Work in Mental Health, and Social Work in Health Care.

Degrees and Licenses

Ph.D., Columbia University
Master of Philosophy, Columbia University
MSW, University of Pittsburgh
BA, University of Tennessee

Primary Program

MSW Education

Research and Professional Interests

Mental Health Services Research
Evidence-Based Practice
Implementation Science
Intervention Research
Poverty and Discrimination

Principal Investigator

Whole Robeson Together
MI-Photos Project
Community Voices Project


Family Informed Trauma Treatment Center

Recent Publications

Bledsoe, S. E., Wike, T., Killian-Farrell, C., Lombardi, B. M., Bellows, A., Sommer, A. R., & Sheely, A. (2018). Feasibility of treating depression in pregnant adolescents using brief interpersonal psychotherapy. Social Work in Mental Health, 16, 252-265.

Bledsoe, S. E., Rizo, C. F., Wike, T., Killian-Farrell, C., Wessel, J., Bellows, A., & Doernberg, A. (2017). Pregnant adolescent women’s perceptions of depression and psychiatric services in the United States. Women and Birth, 30, e248-e257.

Killian-Farrell, C., Rizo, C. F., Lombardi, B., Meltzer-Brody, S. & Bledsoe, S. E. (2020). Traumatic experience, polytraumatization, and perinatal depression in a diverse sample of adolescent mothers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35 (23-24), 6017-6040.

Lombardi, B., Bledsoe, S. E., Killian-Farrell, C., & Lanier, P.. (2019). Victimization and adversity in child welfare involved youth: The cumulative influence on behavioral health symptoms. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-27.

Wike, T. L., Grady, M., Massey, M., Bledsoe, S. E., Bellamy, J., Stim, H., & Putzu, C. (2019). Newly-trained MSW social workers’ use of evidence-based practice and evidence-supported interventions: Results from an online survey. Journal of Social Work Education, 55, 504-518.

Presentations, Workshops and Media

Bledsoe, S. E., LeMasters, K., Pevia, K., Brooks, J., Godown, E., & Byrd, R. for the MI-PHOTOS Team. (2020). Lessons Learned Initiating Community Based Participatory Research in a Majority-Minority Community. Paper, Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference – Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality, Washington, DC.

Bledsoe, S. E. (2018). Interpersonal Psychotherapy and Its Application in Adult, Adolescent, and Child Mental Health. Mr. & Mrs. H. M. Lui Memorial Lecture, Department of Psychiatry, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong, China.

Bledsoe, S. E. (Organizer) & Hans, S. (Discussant). (2019). Starting at the very beginning: Addressing the needs of high risk mothers and children through social work research and intervention. Symposium, Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Collins, K. S. & Bledsoe, S. E., & Bellin M. (2021). Caregiver depression, child dissociation, and trauma: An intergenerational relationship. Paper, The World Congress on Intergenerational Trauma, International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation Annual Conference, Louisville, KY.

Vogel, J., Osofsky, J., Costa, G., Collins, K. S., Osofsky, H., D’Amico, P. & Bledsoe, S. E. (2020). Supporting children, families and providers coping with the coronavirus pandemic: Adapting to community and family needs including those related to young children with disabilities. Panel, Bridging Science and Practice to Reach Underserved Communities, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 36th Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.


Brief Treatment

Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Motivational Interviewing

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Theory and Practice

Differential Diagnosis

Qualitative Research Methods