Wood, Leila_square

Leila Wood, PhD, MSSW

Director of Evaluation for the Center for Violence Prevention

School of Nursing

Leila Wood, PhD, MSSW (she/her) is a Professor at the Center for Violence Prevention, School of Nursing, at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). Dr. Wood is a social work researcher with a PhD and BSW from Indiana University and a MSSW from The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Wood’s program of research focuses on community and college-campus based interpersonal violence intervention and prevention approaches and the health impacts of interpersonal violence, specifically intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault. This includes assessing the impact of residential and non-residential advocacy (support) services on the prevention of future violence and survivor well-being; evaluations of IPV housing; studies on the extent and impact of sexual assault, IPV, stalking and sexual harassment on college campuses, and a statewide assessment of children’s services in IPV agencies. Dr. Wood focuses her work across the lifespan, with a focus on adults and children at risk for IPV and sexual assault. She is a mixed methods researcher with expertise in qualitative methods. Dr. Wood uses collaborative research models with community-based partners to meet the research and evaluation needs of the practice and policy communities across the state. Dr. Wood has extensive social work practice experience working survivors of IPV and sexual assault. Her work is funded by the National Institute on Justice and the Criminal Justice Division, State of Texas.

Research Interests:

  • Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Interventions
  • Violence, Trauma and Health Disparities
  • Substance Misuse/Abuse and Violence
  • Violence Prevention
  • Qualitative methods
  • Program Evaluation

Recent projects include:

  1. The Texas Council on Family Violence State Plan: Understanding the Experiences and Health and Service Needs of Survivors using Family Violence Services
  2. Evaluation of Campus-based Advocacy Services
  3. National Institute of Justice/ Office for Victims of Crime
  4. ETA: Evaluation of Technology-based Advocacy Services

Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: Understanding the Community Service Response & Needs in Texas

The Children Exposed to Domestic Violence, funded by the Criminal Justice Division of the Office of the Governor, project is documenting the availability of services, the service needs and the gaps and barriers to support for children exposed to domestic violence and for survivors who are parents of children under 18 years old. It is a collaborative project with University of Texas at Austin’s Institute on Child and Family Wellbeing and is in partnership with the Texas Council on Family Violence and Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services.

Children’s exposure to domestic violence can lead to many negative health outcomes. Community-based supportive services and interventions that understand the dynamics of domestic violence can mitigate these negative outcomes; but the depth and availability of these services and the needs for support have yet to be thoroughly assessed in Texas. This project is documenting the innovative practices and the gaps across Texas through the implementation of two statewide surveys; by conducting in-depth interviews with service users and practitioners; and by analyzing secondary data from the Texas 2019 State Plan. These activities are informing the development of a comprehensive, evidence-based guide of findings to bolster community services for children exposed to domestic violence.

Specific project questions include:

  1. What is accessibility and availability of services for children, including teenagers, in domestic violence agencies in Texas?
  2. What are the services provided, how do services align with best practices and how are the services currently being evaluated?
  3. What are children’s and families’ service needs and experiences in domestic violence services?
  4. How are community-based child welfare service providers assessing for and addressing children’s exposure to domestic violence? What are the needs and services gaps for children exposed to domestic violence when accessing other community child welfare agencies’ services?

For more information, contact Leila Wood at leiwood@utmb.edu or Project Manager, Maggy McGiffert at mmmcgiff@utmb.edu