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

Professor Cohen is on sabbatical for Academic Year 2021-2022.

 

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 (iatrogenesis), 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, Cohen has 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 and updated in 2018. 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 120 articles and book chapters. His edited books include Challenging the Therapeutic State (1990), Médicalisation et contrôle social (1996), and Critical New Perspectives on ADHD (2006). His co-authored books include Guide critique des médicaments de l’âme (1995), Your Drug May Be Your Problem (1999/2007), and Mad Science (2013)

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 the School of Social Work. He held the Fulbright-Tocqueville Chair to France in 2012.

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

Selected recent publications

Discontinuing Psychiatric Medications from Participants in Randomized Controlled Trials: A systematic Review (2019)

Incidences of Involuntary Psychiatric Detentions in 25 U.S. States (2020)

Withdrawal Effects Confounding: Another Sign of Needed Paradigm Shift in Psychopharmacology Research (2020)

Mark S. Kaplan

Mark S. Kaplan, Dr.P.H., is professor of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and holds adjunct appointments in psychiatry at the Oregon Health & Science University and in epidemiology and community medicine at the University of Ottawa. He received his doctorate in public health from the University of California, Berkeley and holds master’s degrees in social work and public health with postdoctoral training in preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. His research, funded by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations, has focused on using population-wide data to understand suicide risk factors among veterans, seniors and other vulnerable populations.

Dr. Kaplan is the recipient of a Distinguished Investigator Award from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He has contributed to state and federal suicide prevention initiatives. Dr. Kaplan testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging at its hearing on veterans’ health and was a member of the Expert Panel on the VA Blue Ribbon Work Group on Suicide Prevention in the Veteran Population. He serves as a scientific advisor to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Currently, he is principal investigator on two National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded projects: “Acute alcohol use and suicide” and “Economic contraction and alcohol-associated suicides: A multi-level analysis.”

Stuart A. Kirk

Stuart A. Kirk is a distinguished professor emeritus in Social Welfare at the Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles. He is interested in mental health policy and services, particularly the interplay of science, social values and professional politics in the evolution of mental health professions. In 9 books and 140 articles and chapters he examines how professions try to make clinical practice more scientifically based. Many of his articles were co-authored with doctoral students. In scores of articles and three co-authored books–The Selling of DSM, Making Us Crazy and Mad Science–he challenges the scientific claims made about the foundational document of the psychiatric enterprise, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) often called the “psychiatric bible.” His critical views have appeared in columns in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Newsweek Magazine.  Some of his books have been translated into French, Italian and Japanese.

After receiving his doctorate at Berkeley in 1973, Professor Kirk taught at the Universities of Hawaii, Kentucky and Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and at 35 was appointed Dean of the School of Social Welfare at the State University of New York at Albany (1980-88). He was a Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work (1988-94), before joining the Department of Social Welfare at UCLA as the first occupant of the Crump Endowed Chair. He directed the PhD program for eight years and chaired the Department for three years. He served on the editorial boards of many journals and as Editor-in-Chief (1992-96) of the NASW journal, Social Work Research.

Among his honors are the Doctoral Alumni award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship on the 50th anniversary of the School of Social Welfare at Berkeley (1994); an invitation from the Rockefeller Foundation to be a Scholar-in-Residence at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy (1995); a Book of the Year Award for Making Us Crazyfrom MIND, the largest non-profit mental health organization in the United Kingdom (2000); the annual award for Significant Lifetime Achievement from the Council on Social Work Education (2003); and induction as a Fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, an honor society of distinguished scholars (2010).

He retired in 2012 and resides in Santa Fe, NM, where he has published a book and a series of magazine articles about his passion for motorcycling.

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

 

The Selling of DSM
Kirk, S.A. and H. Kutchins. The Selling of DSM: The Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter, 1992.

 

Social Work Research Methods
Kirk, S.A. (Ed.), Social Work Research Methods: Building Knowledge for Practice. Washington, D.C.: NASW Press, 1999.

 

Making Us Crazy
Kutchins, H. & S.A. Kirk. Making Us Crazy: DSM–the Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorder. NY: Free Press, 1997.

 

Science and Social Work
Kirk, S.A. & W.J. Reid. Science and Social Work: A Critical Appraisal. NY: Columbia University Press, 2002.

 

Mental Disorders in The Social Environment
Kirk, S.A. (Ed.), Mental Disorders in The Social Environment. NY: Columbia University Press, 2005

 

Mad Science

Kirk, S.A., D. Cohen, & T. Gomory. Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2013.

Laura Alongi Brinderson

Laura Alongi is a licensed clinical social worker whose interests lie in mental health issues with children, adolescents, and their families. She is also interested in parenting education and training, and the early childhood bonding process.

As a field consultant with the California Social Work Education Center program, a statewide program that trains social workers to become professional public child welfare workers, she works with first- and second-year students, and is involved in recruiting promising child welfare candidates.

Alongi has worked as a social worker in community mental health clinics including South Bay Child Guidance, the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, and Aviva Children and Family Services. She worked primarily with emotionally disturbed children and their families, both in individual/family and group modalities. She was also a supervisor for several years, and was involved in program development and administration when she served as a program director for the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center.

Currently, she has a small private practice, and provides supervision and consultation to new and unlicensed social workers.

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