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Lisa Byers

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Lisa Byers, PhD


Dr. Lisa Byers, ᏣᎳᎩ, ᏥᏍᏆ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ (Cherokee, Bird Clan) is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Affiliate Faculty with Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is the Co-coordinator of the Center for Social Justice-Tulsa. Her work focuses the use of relational cultural theory to facilitate the healing from trauma in tribal and other colonized groups to restore traditional, holistic wellness. As a person that grew up in a poor neighborhood nurtured by her Cherokee grandmother and African-American neighborhood, she is dedicated to service learning and relevant research in these communities. Her undergraduate degree was in psychology with her graduate education in social work. As a NIMH pre-doctoral fellow and a Council for Social Work Education Minority Research Fellow, she was the first American Indian to attain a doctorate through the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. She was the co-developer of a social work course for Oklahoma Native elders funded by the Council of Social Work Education and the creator of a Social Work with American Indian certificate that focuses on child welfare, historical trauma, mental health disparities, and policy. She is an educator that has extensive experience in the creation of courses and materials relevant to tribal nations. Her recent publications focus on tribal child welfare, the use of relational cultural theory to teach diversity and oppression content, and the role of social work in truth and reconciliation. Her presentations on a national, state, and local level have focused on historical trauma and empathy through children’s books.