Meet Baylor’s nationally recognized expert on coping with grief and loss
Dr. Helen Harris has centered her life’s work on a topic that most would prefer to avoid: grief and loss. While no one likes to think about the loss of a loved one, facing grief is unavoidable. Harris’ research on those tough subjects has made her one of the nation’s most-sought after experts on the topics of bereavement, trauma, the role of faith in processing grief, and more.
Before coming to Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Harris worked in the trenches daily alongside people grappling with these very issues. She was the first director of the Hillcrest Community Hospice in Waco, where she also served as a social worker and bereavement coordinator. Even after coming to Baylor in 1997, she has continued to volunteer with hospice organizations and provide training to hospices throughout the area.
Now an associate professor at Baylor, Harris continues to study such subjects, with her research covering all ages and stages of life, from children to aging adults. Two of her most recent studies illustrate her comprehensive approach. Last year, her piece in the Journal of Loss and Trauma helped broaden understanding of how children with ADHD process grief, while her 2016 project on the intersection of spirituality, culture and aging was published in the Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging.
In addition to academic journals, Harris’ practical advice has appeared in numerous magazines and websites. As the loss of a loved one is often acutely felt over the holidays, publications like The Baptist Standard and Newsday have shared her tips for interacting with and helping those dealing with loss over the holidays.
Recognized for more than just her research, she’s also been honored as a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts of America and as an Outstanding Faculty lecturer here at Baylor.
Sic ’em, Dr. Helen Harris!
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