Brandt Hall 324
Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 7950
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Dr. Dana Branson is an assistant professor at Southeast Missouri State University and teaches in the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work, and Sociology. Before joining the university, Branson was a practicing licensed clinical social worker for 21 years, with a clinical focus in co-occurring substance use disorders, mental health, and trauma in women and adolescent populations. Branson's academic focus is trauma and its aftermath, both in primary and secondary settings. Branson has international social work experience in Belarus, Brazil, and Ireland, and desires to return to Belarus to assist with grassroot programs to assist women with substance use disorders and recovery from human trafficking. Branson currently serves on the editorial board of the American Psychological Association journal Traumatology.

For success in daily life--Work hard first, play second. Be grateful and thankful for everything—no matter what, there is always someone else out there that is struggling more than you!! And last, but not least: Never underestimate the power of a nap—you’ll be amazed at how a nap can change your outlook on life and current situation.

Dana Branson


Branson, D. C. & Arlington, E. (In progress). The importance of rest in trauma-informed services: Perhaps we should consider naps.

Branson, D. C. (Under review). Using the biopsychosocial model to decrease social isolation in older adults and age bias in students: Experimental learning creates gerontological providers. In S. G. Taukeni (Ed.). Acceleration of the Biopsychosocial Model in Public Health. IGI Global.

Branson, D. C. (Under review). Inspiring macro practice through rural social work: Teaching notes on experiential learning. Contemporary Rural Social Work Journal.

Branson, D. C., Zalite, V., Stapleton, W. T., & Weakley, M. (Under review). Mentoring, partnering, and follow-through: TRIO programs provide a path through the wilderness. In J. Herron (Ed.). Using Self-Efficacy for Improving Retention and Success of Diverse Student Populations. IGI Global.

Branson, D. C., & Koth, A. J. (In press). An educational catch-22: Why schools with the greatest need are least likely to have school social workers. In J. Etim and A. Etim (Eds.). Handbook of research and solutions for equality and social justice in education. IGI Global.

Branson, D. C. (2022). Time to move school social work to proactive services for students. In S. G. Taukeni (Ed.), Provision of Psychosocial Support and Education of Vulnerable Children. IGI Global.

Branson, D. C. (2022). Speed dating with older adults: Reducing ageism in social work students. Journal of Social Work Education.

Branson, D. C. (2021 October). Supporting those struggling with cancer. Cape Girardeau Living & Popular Bluff Living, Best Version Media.

Branson, D. C. (2021). Second publication: Student trauma, the hidden curriculum, and cultural humility: This trio needs a team approach. In Executive Editorial Board’s (Eds), Research anthology on navigating school counseling in the 21st Century. IGI Global

Branson, D. C., Martin, J. S., Westbrook, O. A., Ketcherside, R. J., & Bradley, C. S. (2021). “Why people gotta be so judgy?”: The importance of agency-wide, non-judgmental approach to client care. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly.

Branson, D. C. (2021). Posttraumatic growth: Educators and school social workers taking lemons and making lemonade. In C. Bernadowski & K Beasley (Eds.). Strategies and methods for implementing trauma-informed pedagogy. IGI Global.

Branson, D. C. (2021). Hidden occupational hazards for social service providers. In. R. Blasdell, L. Krieger-Sample, & M. Kilburn (Eds.). Invisible victims and the pursuit of justice: Analyzing frequently victimized yet rarely discussed populations. IGI Global.

Branson, D. C. (2021). When helping is dangerous: Benefits and risks for practitioners providing digital crisis intervention. In L. Oliveira, F. Tajariol, & L. Goncalves (Eds.), Multidisciplinary Approaches to Ethics in a Digital Age Book chapter in Digital Services in Crisis, Disaster, and Emergency Situations. IGI Global.

Branson, D. C. & Radu, M. B. (2020). Commonality of emotional trauma in performing arts: Implications for training programs. Journal of Education and Human Development, 9(4), 117-129. 

Branson, D. C.& Miller, K.A. (2020). Harnessing technology in the social work discipline: Moving forward ethically. Journal of Sociology and Social Work, 8(2), pp. 15-25.

Branson, D. C. (2020). Negative outcomes of chronic stress and trauma are not prescriptive: Purposeful change can alter trajectory. In S. G. Taukeni (Ed.), Biopsychosocial Perspectives and Practices for Addressing Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases. IGI Global.

Branson, D. C. (2019). Student trauma, the hidden curriculum, and cultural humility: This trio needs a team approach. In S. G. Taukeni (Ed.), Addressing Multicultural Needs in School Guidance and Counseling. IGI Global.

Branson, D.C. (2019). Wanted: School social workers to assist schools with social services and beyond. Contemporary Rural Social Work Journal, 11(1), 1-15.

Branson, D. C. & Radu, M. B., & Loving, J. D. (2019). Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scores: When social work students and trauma mix. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 24 (1), p. 339-360. 

Branson, D.C. & Radu, M.B. (2018). Do qualitative researchers experience vicarious trauma? And, does it matter? Journal of Sociology and Social Work, 6(1), p. 12-22.

Branson, D. C. (2018). Vicarious trauma, themes in research, and terminology: A review of literature. Traumatology, 20(1), 2-10.

Branson, D. C. (2017). Vicarious Trauma. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender. SAGE Publishers, Inc.

Article in Social Work Today (May/June 2015): Self-Care for Social Workers: Vicarious Trauma

Branson, D. C., Weigand, D. A., & Keller, J. E. (2014). Vicarious trauma and decreased sexual desire: A hidden hazard of helping others. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 6(4), 398-403. 


Social Work


Ph.D. in Psychology from Northcentral University in 2011, received Master of Social Work (child and family emphasis) from the University of Kansas in 1995, and completed undergraduate work at Southwest Baptist University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology, with a minor in Counseling in 1993.


As a student, I had tremendous respect and admiration for my professors. Those I remember most were interesting and energetic lecturers, as well as approachable and personable. Therefore, I attempt to be the type of teacher that I enjoyed in the classroom. As a social work instructor, my three main objectives are: 1) to facilitate an appreciation for the discipline of social work and its application to the planned change process, 2) to instill and advance a life-long passion for social advocacy for those who lack privilege, and 3) to enhance self-awareness of personal bias and enhance core competencies of social work practice. I love social work--the discipline, the work, and the people in the social work circles. I hope my teaching conveys this to students and I desire to pass a bit of my passion on to others.


I have dreamed of being a college professor since I was in college. I was positively impacted by the time and instruction that was poured into me by my professors and I wanted to do that for others someday. Additionally, I enjoy the opportunity to be a life-long learner. Teaching forces me to stay on top of social work topics, read, research, and write. This allows me to give back to the profession through students and scholarly production. I also enjoy college students and supporting their educational path and challenges along the way.


After completing my master's degree in social work, I moved to Chicago, IL for 1.5 years where I worked with adolescent males in a residential treatment facility. These young men were almost exclusively from Cook County, IL, gang-affiliated, and all of them were involved in the Department of Corrections. I served as the cottage therapist. It was a wild time and an amazing learning opportunity. I then moved back to Missouri and worked at Missouri Baptist Children's Home in East Prairie, MO for 1 year as a residential therapist. This was another learning opportunity with new challenges. I then moved to Family Counseling Center in Cape Girardeau, MO and provided substance abuse treatment services for the next 19 years to adult women on a residential basis and outpatient services to adolescents. I began as an adolescent therapist, moved to diagnostician, and ended as the assistant program director. In August 2016, I started teaching at Southeast Missouri State University in the Department of Social Work full-time. Being hired at Southeast has been an aspiration for a long time and I am delighted to be part of the university community.


With all sincerity; being hired as an assistant professor at Southeast is one of my biggest professional highlights.

Involvement in international social work in Ireland, Belarus, and Brazil


The Heart of Social Work Award
Clinical Social Worker of the Year


National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Missouri Credentialing Board (MCB)
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
American Psychological Association (APA)
International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP)
Missouri Credentialing Board (MCB)


For academic success—GO TO CLASS!!!! Make every effort to be in class, be engaged with what is being presented, and awake (seriously—get some source of caffeine, gum, thumb-tacks, whatever it takes). There are important nuggets of information you cannot get from the textbook or a classmate’s notes.

If you are struggling, please come talk to us—and the sooner the better!! As instructors, we are highly vested in your success. We desperately want to assist you and see you succeed…but you have to meet us half way. Do not be intimidated by our degrees or titles. Although we might be a bit eccentric, we really are just regular people…we just have lots of books!

For success in daily life--Work hard first, play second.

Be grateful and thankful for everything—no matter what, there is always someone else out there that is struggling more than you!!

And last, but not least: Never underestimate the power of a nap—you’ll be amazed at how a nap can change your outlook on life and current situation.