Indira Harris

Scholarly Retreats
Type of work

Dr. Indira Harris is an adjunct professor at Tulane University, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Board-Certified Diplomate, with over 20 years of clinical, management, and leadership experience in various behavioral health settings in the State of Florida and the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS). She was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the US Public Health Service in 2010 and served at Womack Army Medical Center on Fort Brag Army Military Installation in multiple capacities, the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative as a Public Health Advisor, the US Health Resources and Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Bureau in 2016 as a Public Health Analyst, and her current role as the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Health Service Corps (IHSC) Chief of the Behavioral Health Unit in 2018. In this capacity, CAPT Harris serves as IHSC’s lead behavioral health subject matter expert and national mental health authority. She also is the lead advisor to ICE leadership on all matters related to behavioral health concerns for noncitizens detained in ICE custody nationwide. CAPT Harris also co-developed Resilience Through Meditation, a program that facilitates meditation experiences for hundreds of PHS officers and civilians across 13 federal agencies and 33 different locations nationwide.

During her time at A Studio in the Woods, she worked with collaborator Dr. Stephanie Felder to explore the convergence of climate change (focused on natural disasters) and its impact on an exceedingly vulnerable group—veterans experiencing homelessness. While limited research explores the connections between mental health and climate change, climate change also clearly leads to adverse economic and social impacts on communities. People experiencing homelessness are some of the most vulnerable in our society. The vulnerability of these individuals is exacerbated even more when disaster strikes and disrupts healthcare access, community services, and homeless service organizations. These individuals are often left to manage in a disturbed environment leading to increased emotional and mental distress.