Laura Liévano-Karim

Laura Liévano-Karim is a Fulbright fellow and PhD student in the UCLA Department of Social Welfare. She earned a B.Sc. in Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and an MPP degree from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Before joining the PhD program at the Luskin School of Public Affairs, she worked as a researcher on diverse projects, both quantitative and qualitative, addressing multiple social justice dilemmas in Colombia including violence targeting marginalized populations of young people experiencing basic needs instability and youth disenfranchised from the system, throughout rural and urban zones of Colombia. Laura also worked as a lecturer at Universidad de los Andes teaching the undergraduate course: Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs. Recently Laura was working for an NGO specifically addressing the assessment of gender-based violence for teen mothers in the Caribbean region of Colombia and a study on state violence against youth at a juvenile detention center in Bogotá. Laura currently works with professor Dr. Amy Ritterbusch developing a research program on the prevention of violence against children in Colombia and Uganda. 

Lynn Zimmerman

Lynn Zimmerman has over 30 years of LCSW experience working in Los Angeles.

Her interests include mental health issues with a focus on early childhood mental health (Birth to Five), children and families, trauma, and women’s issues. She has a special interest in attachment and neurodevelopmental issues, assessment, treatment and reflective supervision.

 

Lynn has worked as a Clinical Mental Health Supervisor with Los Angeles Department of Mental Health (LA DMH) and Community Mental Health clinics including: Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center (CFDC) and Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Clinic. She worked as a Clinical Supervisor and Program Coordinator with the Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment Program (CAPIT) and Partnerships for Families (PFF) with Providence Saint John’s / CFDC and Child Alert Program with Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center.

Lynn has additionally holds a Master Public Administration from University of San Francisco.

 

Lynn specialized in psychotherapy and clinical supervision with adults, young adults, adolescents, birth to five and also with parents focusing on postpartum and perinatal issues, attachment, trauma, anxiety and depression.

 

Currently Lynn has a private practice and offers clinical supervision and consultation to agencies, and licensed and unlicensed clinicians. She is endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist (IECMHS) and as a Reflective Practice Facilitator II (RPF-II

 

www.LynnZimmerman.com

Amelia C. Mueller-Williams

Amelia C. Mueller-Williams is a fourth year PhD student in the UCLA, Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare. Amelia holds Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Anthropology from Macalester College (St. Paul, MN).  She uses her diverse academic and practice background to study social and environmental factors that impact suicide, alcohol, and drug use and related deaths. Specifically her PhD research focuses on how social disadvantage (e.g., poverty, discrimination, cultural biases) influences changes in rates of suicide, alcohol-, and drug-related deaths and understanding the role structural racism plays in generating differences in rates across race/ethnic groups. Building upon prior work in this area doing Community Based Participatory Research with American Indian communities, much of Amelia’s research has a special emphasis on understanding social and environmental determinants of suicide, alcohol-, and drug-related deaths among American Indians and Alaska Natives. In the context colonialism’s legacy, American Indians and Alaska Natives experience the greatest impact from these causes of death; helping understand these meaningfully preventable causes of death is part of a mission grounded in social justice. Amelia specializes in quantitative data analysis using “big data” to capture large portions of the U.S. population that can account for sociodemographic heterogeneity within groups, such as race/ethnicity and geographic area. She has received competitive fellowship awards to support this work from UCLA’s year-long Graduate Research Mentorship Program and Graduate Summer Research Mentorship program; she received awards for special training from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Berkeley Workshop on Formal Demography and the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research’s Summer Program in Quantitative Methods for Social Research.

Michele Wong

Michele Wong is a first year PhD student in the Department of Social Welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also completed her M.S. in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Sciences in June 2017. Prior to pursuing her graduate studies, Michele served as the project coordinator for the African-American Knowledge Optimized for Mindfully Healthy Adolescents (AAKOMA) Project Lab at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC. During this time, she gained experience in community-based participatory research, working with an African-American faith community to pilot test a Faith Based Mental Health Promotion Program (FBMHP) to help reduce mental health stigma and increase treatment engagement. Michele’s research interests examine how structural factors and immigration-related factors influence mental health disparities. She is also interested in applying an intersectional framework to develop sustainable mental health policies, programs and practices. In her free time, Michele enjoy’s traveling, visiting her family in Canada, hiking, cooking, and building community.

Ryan Dougherty

Ryan J. Dougherty’s research explores how political and social systems shape the ways that mental health services are delivered and experienced. Broadly, he aims to understand how governments can most ethically respond to the inequities experienced by people labeled with a serious mental illness, such as poverty, homelessness, and mass incarceration. To do so, Ryan explores ethical dilemmas that emerge in service delivery, particularly between providers and clients, and how broader political discourses shape decision-making in these scenarios. His dissertation examines how coercion in involuntary outpatient commitment is negotiated between treatment providers, the courts, and clients in relation to delivering psychiatric medications.

Ryan does applied research to impact mental health scholarship, policy, and practice. He specializes in qualitative methods and serves as a lead ethnographer for the UCLA Center for Social Medicine and Humanities, an interdisciplinary research team that works in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. He also serves as a qualitative researcher for the Recovery-Oriented Care Collaborative, a practice-based research network that connects researchers and providers to produce research relevant to pressing issues in services. He is particularly interested in interdisciplinary research and draws from theories in sociology, anthropology, and disability and mad studies. Ryan aims to pursue his interests in the philosophy of science and qualitative methodologies to support social workers in addressing complex social problems.

Latoya Small

Latoya Small’s scholarship is informed by her work in clinical social work practice and community-based research.

Her research focuses on health disparities, specifically, the intersection of mental health, treatment adherence, and HIV among women and children in the U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her global research addresses the urgent need for theory-driven, empirically-informed, and sustainable psychosocial HIV treatment approaches for perinatally HIV-infected youth in South Africa.

In the U.S., Dr. Small examines how poverty-related stress, parenting, and mental health interact and relatedly impact adherence in HIV medical services among Black and Latina mothers in urban communities. An extension of her work examining vulnerable youth includes mental health and discrimination among transgender young people.

Dr. Small takes a collaborative approach in her scholarship, recognizing that traditional intra-disciplinary boundaries can impede the development of effective and sustainable research interventions. Her work aims to produce accessible, evidence-informed interventions that bolster youth development and maternal health.

Consuelo Bingham Mira

Consuelo Bingham Mira, Ph.D. is currently lecturing at the UCLA Department of Social Welfare and is the Coordinator of Evaluation and Research for the Public Child Welfare (PCW) California Social Welfare Education Council (CalSWEC) program.

Dr. Bingham Mira received her Master (MSW) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees from the University of California Los Angeles, training in the departments of social welfare and psychology. She completed her California Certification in Alcohol & Drug Abuse Studies and Counseling at UCLA.

She has had extensive clinical research experience and has worked on grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Aging at Harbor-UCLA, UCLA and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Bingham Mira has worked with the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles County Health Services, Los Angeles Community Mental Health Centers and St. John’s Health Center.

Her work among the varied cultural and ethnic groups in Los Angeles, Europe and South Africa emphasizes a multi-cultural mental health perspective that incorporates an ecological approach that consists of the biological, psychological, sociological, and cultural forces that affect the interplay between the person and their environment. Bingham Mira also had a professional career in dance, music and theatre and her years of training and passion for the performing arts infuses her approach to education.

 

Hector Palencia

Mr. Palencia graduated with a B.A. in English and a Religious Studies minor from the University of California, Irvine. From there he was granted an M.A. in Systematic Theology (with honors) from Berkley’s Graduate Theological Union, with another Masters degree in Social Welfare from U.C.L.A.

Mr. Palencia put his graduate studies to work in the field of gang resistance diversion programs, Mr. Palencia has numerous professional qualifications in addition he has presented on Social Welfare and Gangs, Criminalization of Homelessness, Working with Trauma in Youth, and Gang Round Table Discussions.

Mr. Palencia’s work history demonstrates a compassion borne out of his spiritual endeavors and a capacity for working with marginalized young offenders. He comes to UCLA from El Rancho unified where he served as one of the mental health liaison’s responsible for district wide mental health services which included coordinating services with partnering agencies as well as responding to crisis and working specifically with tier three students. For 4 years, he was with the East Whittier City School District overseeing middle school diversion programs, created partnerships with community agencies to meet needs not being addressed for students, and he became successful in writing numerous grants including the Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant initiative. In his career, he has worked in hospice and as drug and alcohol counselor handling at-risk youth case loads.

 

 

David Cohen

David Cohen’s research looks at psychoactive drugs (prescribed, licit, and illicit) and their desirable and undesirable effects as socio-cultural phenomena “constructed” through language, policy, attitudes, and social interactions. He also documents treatment-induced harms, and pursues international comparative research on mental health trends, especially involving alternatives to coercion. Public and private institutions in the U.S., Canada, and France have funded him to conduct clinical-neuropsychological studies, qualitative investigations, and epidemiological surveys of patients, professionals, and the general population.

In his clinical work for over two decades, he’s developed person-centered methods to withdraw from psychiatric drugs and given workshops on this topic around the world. He designed and launched the CriticalThinkRx web-based Critical Curriculum on Psychotropic Medication for child welfare professionals in 2009, since taken by thousands of practitioners. Tested in a 16-month longitudinal controlled study, CriticalThinkRx was shown to reduce psychiatric prescribing to children in foster care.

He has authored or co-authored over 100 book chapters and articles. Recent co-authored books include Your Drug May be Your Problem (1999/2007), Critical New Perspectives on ADHD (2006), and Mad Science (2013).

David Cohen previously taught at Université de Montréal and Florida International University. In Montreal, he directed the Health & Prevention Social Research Group, and at FIU, he was PhD Program Director and Interim Director of School of Social Work. He held the Fulbright-Tocqueville Chair to France in 2012.

David has received awards for his publications, research, teaching, mentoring, and advocacy. His views have been published in leading newspapers and other popular media.