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Dr. Donna Sabella

Donna Sabella


Director of Global Studies, Director - Office of Human Trafficking, Assistant Clinical Professor of Nursing

Division of Graduate Nursing
Bellet Building, Room

Dr. Sabella is a mental health nurse, contributing editor for the American Journal of Nursing’s Mental Health Matters column, and associate editor for the Journal of Human Trafficking. A former Program Director and a founding member of Dawn’s Place, a residential recovery program for trafficked and prostituted women in Philadelphia, she is currently founder and Director of Project Phoenix, an outreach program which provides support and facilitates groups for prostituted and trafficked women in Philadelphia. She has experience working in crisis intervention, substance abuse, domestic violence, and forensic nursing and has provided direct services to vulnerable populations. She has lived and studied in Brazil and has taught Latin, English, English as a second language, Spanish, linguistics, world literature and writing, both at the secondary school level as well as at the university level. In addition, for over ten years she was the director of an international exchange program for college students between Ursinus College and Tohoku Gakuin University in Japan.


Aside from mental health and global studies, Dr. Sabella specializes in human trafficking. She teaches courses to undergraduates in CNHP and IAS, and this fall will begin offering a three-course post bachelor’s online certificate focusing on issues of human trafficking to Drexel and non-Drexel students. She is also the faculty advisor for Drexel University’s student club Students Advocating Against Slavery, or SAAS.

Research Interests:

Human trafficking, mental health, forensic mental health, domestic violence, child sexual exploitation, global health

Academic Distinctions:

2012: Magnum Opus Honorable Mention for The Role of the Nurse in Combating Human Trafficking article in AJN.

2011: National Research Consortium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation award for scholarship and work done to combat commercial sexual exploitation

2011: Educational Linguistics Faculty Award for Leadership in Educational Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Dean’s Award for Excellence, Widener University School of Nursing MSN Program, 2007

Professional Society:

International Association of Forensic Nursing