Assistant Professor Carlos Santos of UCLA Luskin Social Welfare will be honored with a 2019 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Scholarship (SOGIE) award for recent research at the 65th annual meeting of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) this October in Denver, Colorado. Santos will share the award with co-author Rachel A. VanDaalen, a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Arizona State University, for their paper, “The Associations of Sexual and Ethnic-Racial Identity Commitment, Conflicts in Allegiances, and Mental Health Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Racial and Ethnic Minority Adults,” published by the American Psychological Association in the Journal of Counseling Psychology. “This study offers evidence in support of the assertion that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) racial and ethnic minority adults who perceive a conflict between their LGB and ethnic-racial identities may experience psychological distress,” assert the authors. They add, “It shows that having a strong sense of commitment to one’s LGB identity may buffer the positive association between this conflict and psychological distress among LGB racial and ethnic minority adults.” The SOGIE award recognizes “excellent scholarship that addresses issues of importance to the LGBTQ community and has important implications for social work practice and education,” said Pam Bowers, chair of the SOGIE Scholarship Award Committee, in announcing the award. This is the eighth year that the SOGIE has been awarded by CSWE, which is the accrediting agency for social work education in the United States.
Tanzanian girls attend a club aimed at education and empowerment. Professor Manisha Shah’s research team is evaluating the program. Photo by Manisha Shah
By Mary Braswell
In Tanzania, programs aimed at improving women’s health have been in place for decades, but rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents remain high.
In El Salvador, several comprehensive centers for women needing health care, job training, legal help and protection from domestic violence have opened. Why aren’t more women taking advantage of these services?
Around the world, when well-intentioned policies to improve the lives of people fall short of expectations, researchers mobilize to investigate and advise.
This is the mission of a new initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs called the Global Lab for Research in Action.
The Global Lab’s focus on health, education and economic empowerment comes at a critical time, said Manisha Shah, professor of public policy and founding director of the initiative.
“There is so much need right now,” said Shah, whose extensive research as a development economist in Africa, Asia and Latin America has guided governments and agencies seeking effective, evidence-based policies.
Shah cites this sobering statistic: Of all new adolescent HIV cases in the world, three out of four are in sub-Saharan Africa. Of those cases, 80% are girls.
She is currently evaluating a safe-sex campaign in Tanzania, where 60% of teen girls are sexually active by age 18. Fewer than 10% of girls ages 15 to 19 use any modern contraception, however. And adolescent girls there experience high rates of violence by their intimate partners.
Shah said policies grounded in research can bring about improvements in the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents during the next decade — which in turn would create better educational and employment opportunities.
“There is a great need to look at some of these subpopulations that aren’t historically targeted by the average intervention or policy being implemented in lower-income countries,” she said. “Part of what’s exciting at Luskin right now is the number of faculty who are doing this type of international work.”
The Global Lab integrates their efforts, puts a spotlight on their findings, builds a network of international stakeholders, and acts as a springboard for advocacy, Shah said.
“There is so much potential in bringing our international findings back to the United States, too, by identifying how our research can inform programs and policy here,” she added.
The initiative will also create opportunities for students of public policy, social welfare and urban planning who are drawn to international development issues, Shah said.
The health of an entire community hinges on the well-being of women and children, the researchers at the Global Lab have established. They have studied teachers in Pakistan, caregivers in rural Colombia, sex workers in Indonesia and young HIV patients in South Africa, among many other populations.
In Shah’s Tanzania research, advocating for girls means also reaching out to boys. The boys come to play soccer and stay to hear about health risks and violence against girls — part of an international program that combines sport with sex education.
Shah’s research team is measuring the relative impact of empowering girls, turning boys into allies and simply providing access to contraceptives. The goal is to identify and invest in the most effective policies — to find some way to curb adolescent pregnancy, the spread of disease and intimate partner violence. The Tanzania project is being conducted in collaboration with the international development organization BRAC.
Shah is also helping design strategies to promote El Salvador’s Ciudad Mujer women’s resource centers.
“These are safe spaces where women can come if they need a lawyer, health services, employment services. But take-up rates for the domestic violence services have been relatively low, and they don’t understand why,” Shah said. “I’m working with the Inter-American Development Bank and the government of El Salvador to do the research and to figure out what is going on.”
This is the kind of practical impact that powers the Global Lab, which is launching this summer with support from UCLA Luskin Dean Gary Segura.
“We have so many great professors across all departments working internationally,” Shah said. The Global Lab “speaks to some of our newer strengths, bringing it all together to foster research, support faculty, and advocate for better policies through our findings and our relationships abroad.”
Editors Note: A previous version of this story referred to the Global Lab for Research in Action by its former name, International Development and Policy Outreach.
Laura Wray-Lake, left, and Jason Anthony Plumber are among the many from UCLA Luskin presenting at the SSWR conference. Photos by Laura Abrams
A contingent of 20 faculty and doctoral students from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs are representing the School at the 2019 Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Conference Jan. 16-20 in San Francisco. Research is presented during symposia, workshops, roundtable discussions, and paper and poster presentations at the annual conference, which in 2019 is dedicated to ending gender-based, family and community violence. “We’re excited to see so many of our faculty and Ph.D. students presenting,” said Laura Abrams, professor and chair of UCLA Luskin Social Welfare. The presentations cover a broad spectrum of topics within social work and research, including mental illness, gerontology, child welfare, adolescence and parenting, racial and ethnic minorities, and civic engagement. Featured UCLA Luskin Social Welfare faculty are Abrams, David Cohen, Ian Holloway, Aurora Jackson, Leyla Karimli, Ayako Miyashita Ochoa, Amy Ritterbusch, Latoya Small, Carlos Santos and Laura Wray-Lake. Presenting doctoral students from UCLA Luskin are Skye Allmang, Donte Boyd, Ryan Dougherty, Shannon Dunlap, Jianchao Lai, Gi Lee, Carol A. Leung, Jason Anthony Plummer, Alex Recault and Rachel Wells. Holloway, associate professor of social welfare, remarked, “We are very proud of our doctoral students presenting at SSWR this year. They are advancing social welfare scholarship and representing UCLA well at our premier social work research conference.”
Among the nine new faculty members at UCLA Luskin are Amada Armenta and Carlos Santos. Photo by Les Dunseith
By Stan Paul
Retreating coastlines. An information revolution. The ever-evolving ethnic makeup of the United States. These are times of rapid change, presenting new challenges to how and where we live and work.
Meeting the challenges of this new normal and finding solutions to shifting problems and populations, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has undergone unprecedented growth. In fall 2018, nine new scholars joined Luskin’s faculty in positions that cross disciplinary lines within the School and across the campus. This follows the addition of six other new faculty members since 2016. Four more are being recruited.
This expansion is partly tied to the launch of a new undergraduate major in public affairs, but it’s about more than filling out a schedule of classes. The School has become one of the most diverse and interdisciplinary units in the University of California system, Dean Gary Segura said. The additions were designed to expand “expertise and social impact,” making the school “profoundly well-positioned to engage, educate, study, and contribute to California’s diverse and dynamic population.”
Among the new faculty, six are women and four are Latino.
Some already have strong interests in Los Angeles as well as ties to UCLA and the region, and others will have the opportunity to incorporate Los Angeles into their work.
“I’m extremely excited to be coming home, living on the Eastside and working on the Westside,” said Chris Zepeda-Millán, associate professor of public policy and Chicana/o studies. Zepeda-Millán, a political scientist who grew up in East Los Angeles, studies how mass protest impacts public opinion, policy preferences, identities and political participation. His book, “Latino Mass Mobilization, Immigration, Racialization, and Activism,” received awards this year from the American Political Science Association and the American Sociological Association.
Zepeda-Millán is thrilled to be at UCLA: “It’s truly a dream come true.”
Martin Gilens, professor of public policy, previously taught political science at UCLA. After a long stint at Princeton, he returned to UCLA, where he has multi-generational ties — his parents and grandfather are
Bruins. A native Angeleno, Gilens studies race, class, social inequality and their representational effects in the political system. He teaches courses to graduate and undergraduate students.
“I’m looking forward to the interdisciplinary environment of the Luskin School,” Gilens said. “My Ph.D. is in sociology, and I’ve taught in political science and public policy, so I’m a walking embodiment of interdisciplinarity.”
Natalie Bau adds global perspective and reach. She is an economist studying development and education, with a particular interest in the industrial organization of educational markets. She looks at cultural traditions — such as bride price and dowry practiced in some countries — and their role in determining parents’ human capital investments in their children, and how they evolve in response to the economic environment.
In Zambia, she and research colleagues are tracking the outcomes of 1,600 adolescent girls to evaluate the effects of an experiment that randomly taught negotiation skills.
“My research interests include understanding factors that impact police decision-making and public trust in police,” said Assistant Professor of Public Policy Emily Weisburst, who studies labor economics and public finance, including criminal justice and education. “I am also interested in how interactions with the criminal justice system affect individuals, families and communities.”
Amada Armenta earned her doctorate in sociology in 2011 from UCLA and returns as an assistant professor in UCLA Luskin Urban Planning.
“I am thrilled to be back, to contribute to a university that has played such a formative role in my education,” said the author of the award-winning book, “Protect, Serve and Deport: The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement.” Most recently she has examined how undocumented Mexican immigrants navigate bureaucracies in Philadelphia.
“Put briefly, I study the social impacts of climate change and how cities are adapting,” says Assistant Professor of Urban Planning Liz Koslov. “My research specifically focuses on the adaptation strategy known as ‘managed retreat,’ the process of relocating people, un-building land, and restoring habitat in places exposed to flooding, sea level rise, and other effects of climate change.”
Koslov is working on a book aptly titled, “Retreat,” that follows residents of Staten Island in New York City whose houses were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and who subsequently decided to relocate rather than rebuild in place.
Like Koslov, new Urban Planning colleague V. Kelly Turner conducts research with an environmental lens. Her work addresses the relationship among institutions, urban design and the environment through two interrelated questions: How does urban design relate to ecosystem services in cities? And to what extent do social institutions have the capacity to deliver those services?
Turner said her approach draws from social-ecological systems frameworks to address urban planning and design problem domains. She has used this approach to investigate microclimate regulation through New Urbanist design, water and biodiversity management through homeowners associations, and stormwater management through green infrastructure interventions.
Joining UCLA Luskin Social Welfare is Amy Ritterbusch, who has led social justice-oriented participatory action research initiatives with street-connected communities in Colombia for the last decade, and also recently in Uganda. Her work documents human rights violations and forms of violence against the homeless, sex workers, drug users and street-connected children and youth, and subsequent community-driven mobilizations to catalyze social justice outcomes within these communities.
“My current research contemplates the dilemmas within our social movement in terms of how to create protective environments for social justice researchers and activists in the midst of working on and against acts of violence and injustice,” Ritterbusch said.
Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Carlos Santos draws on diverse disciplines, theories and methods to better understand how oppressions such as racism and heterosexism overlap to create unique conditions for individuals.
With a background in developmental psychology, Santos believes that developmental phenomena must be studied across diverse disciplines and perspectives. He draws on the largely interdisciplinary interpretive framework of intersectionality, which is a view “underscoring how systems of oppression overlap to create inequities.”
Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Carlos Santos has been named winner of the 2019 Early Career Award by the Society for Research on Child Development Latino Caucus. The honor is the third national early career award received by Santos, who joined the UCLA Luskin faculty this year. Santos, whose doctorate is in developmental psychology, works in an interdisciplinary framework of intersectionality, focusing on how systems of oppression overlap – from heterosexism and racism to issues affecting undocumented youth. The SRCD award recognized his work on diverse groups within the “Latinx umbrella” that are often overlooked in research in the U.S. “From his early training and beyond, he has a steadfast commitment to engage in normative research with Latinx youth and families,” according to the SRCD Latino Conference awards committee. He will receive the award at the organization’s biennial conference this March in Baltimore. Santos also has been named a Rising Star by the National Multicultural Conference & Summit (NMCS), a coalition of four divisions of the American Psychological Association. The award, to be conferred in January, recognizes the efforts of early career psychologists with an interest in multicultural research, teaching, advocacy, policy or clinical care. In 2017, Santos also was honored as an Emerging Professional by the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race for outstanding research contributions in the promotion of ethnic minority issues within 10 years of graduation. “I think these recognitions affirm the need for an intersectional lens in the study of psychological issues among groups that experience multiple forms of marginalization,” Santos said. — Stan Paul
Dr. Santos’ research draws on diverse disciplines, theories and methods to better understand how oppressions (e.g., racism, heterosexism, etc.) overlap to create unique conditions for individuals; conditions that are shaped by the contexts one occupies, with implications for one’s development and well-being. He is interested in how individuals cope with these overlapping stressors through attitudes associated with membership in different social groups (e.g., having pride in one’s ethnic-racial and/or sexual identity group), and positions one occupies (e.g., being undocumented), and whether such coping attenuate or amplify the negative consequences of overlapping oppressions on mental health, educational outcomes, and civic engagement. His research is concerned with questions such as: How are racist and heterosexist events uniquely and jointly related to mental health among queer Latinx youth? Does having pride in being Latinx and/or queer buffer or amplify these effects? Ultimately, the aim is to translate this research into practical intervention.
Dr. Santos has authored nearly 30 peer reviewed publications. His co-edited book with Adriana Umaña-Taylor, Studying Ethnic Identity: Methodological and Conceptual Approaches Across Disciplines, was published in 2015 by the American Psychological Association Press. He co-edited a peer reviewed journal section on the applications of intersectionality to the helping professions published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, and he co-edited a special issue on the integration of an intersectionality lens in developmental science published in New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. Along with colleagues, he has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. In 2017 he was awarded the “Emerging Professional Contributions to Research Award” by the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race of the American Psychological Association.
Dr. Santos received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from New York University, a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree from New York University.
Santos, C. E., & Toomey, R. B. (Eds.). (in press). Envisioning the integration of an intersectionality lens in developmental science. [Special issue]. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.
Santos, C. E., & VanDaalen, R. A. (2018). Associations among psychological distress, high-risk activism and conflict between ethnic-racial and sexual minority identities in lesbian, gay, bisexual racial/ethnic minority adults. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 65(2), 194-203. doi: 10.1037/cou0000241
Santos, C. E., & Toomey, R. B. (2018). Integrating an intersectionality lens in theory and research in developmental science. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cad.20245
Santos, C. E., Kornienko, O., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2017). Peer influence on ethnic-racial identity development in adolescence: A multi-site investigation. Child Development, 88(3), 725-742. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12789
Santos, C. E., Menjívar, C., VanDaalen, R. A., Kornienko, O., Updegraff, K. A., & Cruz, S. (2017). Awareness of Arizona’s immigration law SB 1070 predicts classroom behavioural problems among Latino youths during early adolescence. Ethnic and Racial Studies 41(9), 1672-1690. doi: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1311021
Santos, C. E., Grzanka, P. R., & Moradi, B. (Eds.). (2017). Intersectionality research in counseling psychology. [Special section]. Journal of Counseling Psychology.
Santos, C. E., & Collins, M. A. (2016). Ethnic identity, school connectedness, and achievement in standardized tests among Mexican-origin youth. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 22(3), 447-452. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000065
Santos, C. E., & VanDaalen, R. A. (2016). The associations of sexual and ethnic–racial identity commitment, conflicts in allegiances, and mental health among lesbian, gay, and bisexual racial and ethnic minority adults. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(6), 668-676. doi: 10.1037/cou0000170
Santos, C. E., & Umaña-Taylor, A. J. (Eds.). (2015). Studying ethnic identity: Methodological and conceptual approaches across disciplines. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. doi: 10.1037/14618-000
Santos, C. E., & Updegraff, K. A. (2014). Feeling typical, looking typical: Physical appearance and ethnic identity among Mexican-origin youth. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 2(4), 187-199. doi: 10.1037/lat0000023
Social Welfare Assistant Professor Carlos Santos is the co-editor of the latest publication of the journal New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. Santos, who recently joined the UCLA Luskin faculty, is also a co-contributor to the special edition titled, “Envisioning the Integration of an Intersectional Lens in Developmental Science.” With a background in developmental psychology, Santos notes that he “adheres to the belief that developmental phenomena must be studied across diverse disciplines and perspectives,” and this project draws on the “largely interdisciplinary interpretive framework of intersectionality” — a view underscoring “how systems of oppression overlap to create inequities,” including heterosexism, racism, ableism or issues affecting those who are undocumented. His research has focused on gender and ethnic identities, stereotypes and their impacts on social adjustment, mental health and educational outcomes among adolescents and young adults in communities of color. Citing the relative lack of an intersectionality lens in the developmental sciences, Santos and co-author and editor Russell B. Toomey designed the publication to bring together developmental scientists who are actively incorporating intersectionality scholarship into their research. Each of the contributors was asked the following question: How can an intersectionality perspective inform the developmental phenomena of interest and particular developmental theories you draw upon in your area of research? “A lot of this piece is grappling with how to reinvent all of this to better capture the ways in which oppressions overlap. I really feel committed to that goal, to better understand that.”
Newly hired Urban Planning faculty member Kelly Turner speaks during the "job talk" with UCLA Luskin faculty, staff and students that took place when she visited campus in January to interview for the position. Photo by Les Dunseith
By Les Dunseith
Nine new faculty members will be joining the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs on July 1 as part of a hiring binge that will soon enlarge the size of the full-time faculty by almost 20 percent and further diversify its demographic makeup.
The additions will help UCLA Luskin expand it course offerings, in part to support the new undergraduate major in public affairs set to launch in fall of 2018. A few positions will fill openings that had become vacant because of faculty retirements and other departures.
Dean Gary Segura said the new hires expand the Luskin School’s range of knowledge and evolve its faculty to better match the country’s rapidly changing demographics.
“These additions to the Luskin School faculty represent an outstanding growth and expansion of our expertise and social impact,” Segura said. “With these additions and those last year, we are among the most diverse and interdisciplinary units in the entire UC system and profoundly well-positioned to engage, educate, study, and contribute to California’s diverse and dynamic population.”
Six of the new hires are women and four are Latino. They include two new assistant professors in Social Welfare and three new assistant professors in Urban Planning, plus two assistant professors, one associate professor and one full professor who will join Public Policy.
The new faculty represent additional expertise for the School in international human and women’s rights; survey research; environmental planning, adaptation, and justice; criminal justice and bias in policing; immigration; gentrification; social and political inequality; poverty; and social identity among youth.
Among the additions are three political scientists, two economists, a developmental psychologist, a sociologist and a geographer. All of the positions have multidisciplinary aspects, crossing department lines not only within the Luskin School but also, in some cases, with academic units elsewhere on campus.
In all, 40 candidates were interviewed, coming from across the United States and around the world. The new faculty range from people just finishing graduate school to a full professor.
Here are the nine new faculty members:
- The full professor is Martin Gilens, who previously taught political science at UCLA and has also worked at Yale and, most recently, Princeton. Gilens, who will join the Public Policy faculty, grew up in Los Angeles and has strong ties to the university.
- Amada Armenta: She is returning to UCLA where she completed her PhD in sociology, and will join Urban Planning in the fall. Armenta comes to UCLA from the University of Pennsylvania where she is an Assistant Professor of Sociology. Her work looks at immigration enforcement and its impact on the lives and communities affected. She is particularly interested in the intervention of the criminal justice system in immigration enforcement. She has been published in Social Problems and the Annual Review of Sociology, in addition to her University of California Press book, “Protect, Serve, and Deport: The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement.”
- Natalie Bau: She is an international economist currently at the University of Toronto and will be joining Public Policy. Bau’s work examines several different aspects of the economics of education and educational policies and their downstream implications, including the effects on marriage patterns, teacher pay, student achievement and motivation, and others. She has projects in the works including “The Misallocation of Pay and Productivity in the Public Sector: Evidence from the Labor Market for Teachers” as well as “Labour Coercion and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Harrying of the North.”
- Liz Koslov: She will assume a joint post in Urban Planning and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability as an assistant professor. Koslov is a scholar of environmental justice and specifically examines the urban socio-cultural impacts of climate change. She is currently a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at MIT, and holds a PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. She is in the process of completing her first book, “Retreat: Moving to Higher Ground in a Climate-Changed City,” under contract to the University of Chicago Press.
- Amy Ritterbusch: She will be joining Social Welfare. Ritterbusch is a human and urban geographer and currently an associate professor of government at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Her work is focused on urban social justice movements, marginalized youth, substance abuse, prostitution and other downstream effects of child poverty. She also brings extensive expertise in field work, ethnographic methods and Latin American populations across the hemisphere. She has written several journal articles, which have been featured in Child, Abuse & Neglect, Global Public Health, Annals of the American Association of Geographers and other peer-reviewed journals.
- Carlos Santos: Currently an assistant professor in counseling psychology at ASU, Santos is coming to UCLA Luskin Social Welfare. His work is principally on gender and ethnic identities, stereotypes, and their impacts on social adjustment, educational performance and outcomes among adolescents in communities of color. He received his PhD from NYU and his work has been funded by NSF and NIH. In addition to his monograph “Studying Ethnic Identity” for the American Psychological Association, his work has been published in many outlets, including the Journal of Youth and Adolescence and the Journal of Counseling Psychology.
- V. Kelly Turner: Turner is currently an assistant professor of geography at Kent State and her focus is human-environmental interaction and urban management. She will join Luskin Urban Planning in the fall. Her focus has been on how institutional arrangements and good metrics for resource consumption can help us build toward a more sustainable ecosystem, and she has applied this work to water resources, sustainable urbanism, and green infrastructure. She is the author of more than a dozen journal articles in publications such as Applied Geography, Ecology and Society, Urban Geography, and others.
- Emily Weisburst: She is finishing a PhD in economics at UT-Austin and will be joining Public Policy. Her work focuses on bias in policing, officer discretion in arrest behavior, police reform, and the effects of police presence in public schools. Weisburst previously served as a staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisors in the Executive Office of the President, and has done collaborative research for RAND and the State of Texas. Her work has been published in the Journal of Higher Education and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
- Chris Zepeda-Millan: He joins Luskin Public Policy. Zepeda-Millan is a political scientist and current professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on social movements, immigration and communities of color, and has been published in American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, and Politics, Groups and Identities. His book, “Latino Mass Mobilization: Immigration, Racialization and Activism,” was recently published by Cambridge University Press. Zepeda-Millan will be jointly appointed in the Department of Chicana/o Studies and will be working with the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative.