Jianchao Lai

Advisor: Prof. Todd Franke, UCLA

Jianchao Lai is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Social Welfare of the Luskin School of Public Affairs. She received a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Nanjing University and Master’s of Social Work from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon completing her undergraduate and graduate programs, she worked at various government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community agencies related to the early childhood development and prevention of adverse childhood experiences. Her current research uses exploratory mixed methods design to investigate the unique factors of the Asian American population with regard to case reporting and substantiation of child maltreatment incidents.


  • Adam Smith Fellowship (2017-2018), Mercatus Center, $5000
  • Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (Summer 2017), UCLA, $6000
  • Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (Summer 2018), UCLA, $6000

Research Interests:

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Asian Americans
  • Racial/ethnical differences in child welfare resources and outcomes
  • Challenges among Asian American children and families
  • Qualitative and quantitative social research methodology

Elise Johnson

Elise Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of social work experience in her home town of Los Angeles.

She has worked with homeless families, in community mental health and at DCFS. She is currently a clinical social worker at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center/Miller Children and Women’s Hospital where she works in the Emergency Department and in Pediatrics.

Her clinical and academic interests include trauma-informed care, social determinants of health, homelessness, history of social work in L.A. and child maltreatment. An area of particular interest is the role technology plays in social work practice and social work education.

She is always on the lookout for innovations that enhance and augment patient care. In 2016 she was invited by NASW to consult on their upcoming publication of Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice.

In 2014 she began teaching MSW students and finds working with rising social workers extremely inspiring.  She teaches Human Behavior in the Social Environment and one of her assignments as been included in a forthcoming textbook on the incorporation of technology in social work education.

Students in Johnson’s classes often remember her strengths-based approach to the profession, her penchant for ’70s funk bands and her reminders to always “find the good!”