Natalie Purcell, PhD, MPA

Affiliate Investigator

I am a sociologist who specializes in the study of violence, trauma, and pain across healthcare contexts. My work uses mixed methods drawn from the social sciences and the humanities, as well as program-evaluation and implementation-science techniques. Since joining the VA in 2011, my research has centered on understanding the impact of violence and combat trauma in the lives of US military veterans, identifying and evaluating care interventions to address violence-related trauma and pain among veterans, and identifying interventions to reduce violence directed against frontline healthcare workers. My work at VA involves not only violence and trauma-related research, but also transformation of the institutional culture to promote organizational health and patient centered care.

Selected Recent Publications:

Purcell, N., Burkman, K, Keyser, J., Fucella, P., Maguen, S. 2018. "Healing from moral injury: A qualitative evaluation of the Impact of Killing treatment for combat veterans." Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma. DOI:

Purcell, N. and Drexler, M. 2018. "Behavioral threat assessment and management: Lessons learned in one VA healthcare system." Journal of Threat Assessment and Management 5 (1): 42-62.

Purcell, N., Zamora, K., Tighe, J., Li, Y., Douraghi, M., Seal K. 2017. "The Integrated Pain Team: A mixed-methods evaluation of the impact of an embedded interdisciplinary pain care intervention on primary care team satisfaction, confidence, and perceptions of care effectiveness." Pain Medicine. PMID: 29040715; DOI: 10.1093/pm/pnx254

Purcell, N., Shovein, E., Hebenstreit, C., & Drexler, M. 2017. "Violence in a U.S. Veterans Affairs healthcare system: Worker perspectives on prevalence, causes, and contributors." Policy and Practice in Health and Safety 15 (1): 38-56.

Purcell, N., Koenig, C.J., Bosch, J., and Maguen, S. 2016. "Veterans’ perspectives on the psychosocial impact of killing in war." The Counseling Psychologist 44(7): 1062-1099. doi: 10.1177/0011000016666156.

Purcell, N. 2016 [2012]. Violence and the Pornographic Imaginary: The Politics of Sex, Gender, and Aggression in Hardcore Pornography. New York, NY: Routledge. (paperback edition released in 2016; original publication in 2012.)