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Dr. Kathryn Healey Named Trainer Faculty Fellow

Dr. Healey's research focuses on the nature of moral injury and its relationship to ethical leadership.

Dr. Kathryn Healey, a professor of psychology at Widener University, has been awarded a Trainer Faculty Fellowship by the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener. The fellowship provides Healey with funding to continue her research on the nature of moral injury and its relationship to ethical leadership. It also offers opportunities for several undergraduate psychology students to participate in all aspects of the research project.

According to Healey, a moral injury may result from the discrepancy between one’s action and one’s moral conscience. Feelings of profound emotional shame, a deep sense of loss similar to the mourning process and survivor’s guilt may occur. The concept is often used in reference to the mental health of military veterans who have witnessed or perpetrated a morally transgressive act in combat. Her research seeks to determine what impact such injuries have on one’s ethical leadership capabilities.

“By raising awareness about moral injury and its consequences, we can be better equipped to respond the needs of returning veterans and others who have experienced trauma and/or moral wounds,” Healey said. “These wounds are not easily seen but often deeply felt.”

In addition to the research funding Healey receives as a Trainer Faculty Fellow, she will give the President’s Invited Lecture on her research during the spring semester. The Oskin Leadership Institute will publish an edited version of her lecture as part of the Oskin Thought Leader Series.

“The research Dr. Healey is doing is at the core of the mission of the Oskin Leadership Institute,” said Arthur J. Schwartz, executive director of the institute. “We all face moral dilemmas in our life, some more traumatic than others, but it’s how we react to dilemmas that shapes our character and determines the type of leader we will be.”

Healey joined the faculty in 1992 when the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology migrated from Hahnemann University to Widener University. She currently teaches undergraduate psychology courses as a member of the psychology faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences. She is an active licensed psychologist and provides assessment and treatment in an integrative psychotherapy model that incorporates biofeedback and neurofeedback. She earned her master’s in counseling and child development from Bryn Mawr College, and her doctorate in counseling and clinical evaluation from Bryn Mawr.

The Trainer Faculty Fellows program is named for Nicholas P. Trainer, a former chair of the Widener Board of Trustees and a 1964 graduate. Trainer and his family established the Trainer Leadership Endowment Fund in 2009 to enable faculty to conduct research on topics and themes that intersect with the mission and purposes of the Oskin Leadership Institute.

The mission of the Oskin Leadership Institute is to perpetuate the university's long and noble tradition of inspiring students to be strategic leaders and responsible citizens who possess the character, courage, and competencies to affect positive change throughout the world.

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve more than 6,000 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university’s website,