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!”

 

Zev Yaroslavsky

During a career in public life spanning nearly four decades, Zev Yaroslavsky has been at the forefront of Los Angeles County’s biggest issues, including transportation, the environment, health care, and cultural arts.  He has been a pioneering advocate for the region’s homeless population and has played a key role in efforts to reform the county’s law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was first elected to office in 1975, stunning the political establishment by winning the Los Angeles City Council’s coveted 5th District seat at the age of 26.  He honed his fiscal skills as chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee and earned a reputation for being unafraid to tackle controversial issues, including the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of excessive force and its improper spying on law-abiding residents.  He authored two landmark ballot initiatives, one which cut in half the size of new commercial developments near residential neighborhoods in the City of L.A., and the other which banned oil drilling along the city’s coastline.

In describing Mr. Yaroslavsky’s City Hall tenure, the Los Angeles Times wrote that he “was more often than not a dominant player in virtually every municipal initiative of note since he joined the City Council.”

In 1994, Mr. Yaroslavsky was elected to the five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, representing the western part of the county and a constituency of two million people.  He served five terms as the Board’s Third District representative.  Because of term limits, he retired from office on December 1, 2014.  Supervisor Yaroslavsky’s award-winning website, which ran from late 2009 until the end of his term, including blog entries and feature stories on County issues, programs and personalities, can be accessed here.

As a member of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Yaroslavsky quickly emerged as a leader on fiscal, health care, transportation, cultural and environmental matters.  He authored several landmark ballot initiatives:  the 1996 park bond, which resulted in the preservation of a broad swath of rural open space and the development of urban parks throughout the county, and the 2002 trauma tax, approved by more than 73% of county voters—a measure credited with saving two public hospitals from closure and keeping the county’s emergency services intact.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was the driving force behind several major transit projects, including the hugely successful Orange Line busway across the San Fernando Valley, the Exposition Light Rail line from downtown to Santa Monica which will be completed at the end of 2015, and the subway—Purple Line—extension from Western Ave. to West Los Angeles which broke ground in 2014.

After the closure of Martin Luther King, Jr. hospital in south Los Angeles, Mr. Yaroslavsky proposed a partnership between the University of California and Los Angeles County upon which the recently re-opened hospital was modeled.  Mr. Yaroslavsky also launched the building of three innovative school-based health clinics in largely working-class neighborhoods where many residents are living below the poverty line and rarely seek medical attention.  He also led the effort to provide permanent supportive housing for thousands of homeless persons who’ve been identified as most likely to die if they remained on county streets.

During his public service career, Mr. Yaroslavsky was the county’s leader in the cultural arts.  The Los Angeles Times said of him before he retired, “It would be hard to find another major politician anywhere in the entire country with Yaroslavsky’s record for outright arts support and achievement.” He championed efforts to rebuild and modernize the world famous Hollywood Bowl amphitheater and was instrumental in the development of architect Frank Gehry’s iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra.  He has also funded major investments in the County Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History and the San Fernando Valley Performing Arts Center.

Mr. Yaroslavsky is also credited with playing a leading role in the sweeping reforms of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  He is responsible for the creation of the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence in 2011 which recommended dozens of measures to restore constitutional policing and integrity to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and its jails.

Apart from his responsibilities as an elected official, Mr. Yaroslavsky has long been associated with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a non-governmental organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., that promotes the development of democratic institutions in burgeoning democracies.  He has monitored five elections for NDI:  Romania (1990), Mexico (2000), Ukraine (2004), and Nigeria (2011 & 2015).  He has conducted seminars on local government finance and democratic institution-building in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Bosnia/Herzegovina.

Mr. Yaroslavsky is now the Director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Department of History, focusing on the intersection of policy, politics and history of the Los Angeles region.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned an M.A. in British Imperial History and a B.A. in Economics and History, both from UCLA.  He is a graduate of Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.

Lois Takahashi

UCLA Luskin professor emeritus Takahashi’s research focuses on public and social service delivery to vulnerable populations in the U.S. and in Southeast Asian cities. Her expertise spans several issues, including homelessness and HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles, community opposition directed at social services (the NIMBY syndrome) in the U.S., social capital and health for vulnerable populations, and environmental governance in the U.S. and Southeast Asian cities.

She is currently investigating the dynamics of social capital, especially related to health in impoverished and marginalized communities. Her environmental governance research (with her collaborators Amrita Daniere and Jeffrey Carpenter) has investigated the role of low-income residents and non-governmental organizations in environmental management and policy making in Bangkok, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

She is a past Director of the University of California Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy Multicampus Research Program (UC AAPI Policy MRP), where she worked with state elected officials and community organizations to develop policy relevant studies that highlight areas of importance for California’s AAPI population. Recent reports have focused on educational disparities and victimization/incarceration patterns.

She has served as president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.

She taught courses on Planning Theory and History, Locational Conflict; Homelessness: Housing and Social Service Issues and Urban Policy and Planning.

Takahashi served as interim dean during the time that a search was underway for a permanent successor to Frank D. Gilliam, Jr.