Abrams’ Article Named Best of 2013

An article by Social Welfare professor Laura Abrams has been named the best article of 2013 to be published in the academic journal Social Service Review.

Abrams’ article, “Juvenile Justice at a Crossroads: Science, Evidence, and Twenty-First Century Reform,” was selected as the winner of the Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize, named for a University of Chicago professor of social service administration. The award carries with it a $1,000 honorarium.

Weaving together a survey of the history of the juvenile justice system with a detailed narrative of recent efforts to use scientific advances to spur policy reforms, Abrams’ article argues that “social workers ought to play a more visible role” in shaping the future of the system. Only the input of those who work most closely with troubled youth — and their families, schools and neighborhoods — can help build a better system, she writes.

The journal’s editorial board heralded Abrams’ inclusion of historical context, admiring the article’s ability to drive “the profession to take stock and to rethink its current direction.”

Abrams, who chairs UCLA Luskin’s doctoral degree program in Social Welfare, most recently wrote Compassionate Confinement: A Year in the Life of Unit C, which draws on a decade of research and more than a year of fieldwork she and her co-author conducted at a juvenile justice facility in Minnesota. Reviews have recognized its “engaging narratives, rich observations, and descriptive depictions of human experiences.” In October 2013 Abrams was selected to deliver the Seabury Memorial Lecture at UC Berkeley.

Abrams’ article appeared in the December 2013 issue of Social Service Review, Vol. 87, No. 4, pp. 725-752.

Madeleine Albright to Deliver Luskin Lecture, Accept UCLA Medal

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will present remarks and participate in a public discussion hosted by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

Prior to her address, presented as part of the Meyer and Renee Luskin Lecture Series, Albright will receive the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor, from former UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale.

When President Bill Clinton appointed her as Secretary of State in 1997, Albright became the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. She led the country’s diplomatic corps during a dynamic period of expanding global engagement, advocating for democracy and human rights around the world. Her other government experience includes service as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council.

Today, Albright is chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. She is also the Mortara Endowed Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Pew Global Attitudes Project and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. In 2012 President Barack Obama honored her achievements with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“It is a privilege for the campus to bestow the UCLA Medal upon Secretary Albright, whose tireless commitment to expanding democracy and ensuring human rights around the world are an inspiration to countless people,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “”With principled vision, she has been a trailblazer for women and a champion for diplomacy throughout her life.”

The UCLA Medal is bestowed on those with exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement whose bodies of work or contributions to society illustrate the highest ideals of UCLA. Recipients have included national and international leaders in government, education, science, industry and the arts. Previous recipients include Nobel laureates, President Bill Clinton, UCLA alumnus and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, basketball coach John Wooden, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun and UCLA alumnus and astronaut Anna L. Fisher.

In her lecture, “The Next Generation of Global Leadership,” Albright will apply her unique perspective to the pressing questions of equality, democracy and leadership that face the next generation of diplomats, elected officials and public intellectuals. Her address will be followed by a question-and-answer period moderated by UCLA Luskin Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.

“The students and scholars at UCLA Luskin work to bring positive change to the world, and they stand ready to be a part of the changing face of leadership that is addressing challenges in an environment of rapidly shifting political and cultural landscapes,” Gilliam said. “I am delighted to welcome Secretary Albright to the UCLA community, and I look forward to a stimulating discussion.”

The event is the latest in the school’s signature Luskin Lecture Series, which has featured speakers including former Vermont Gov. and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, and Children’s Defense Fund founder and president Marian Wright Edelman.

Please note: This event is sold out. Click here for more information.

On the (Bike) Path to Making a Difference

By Adeney Zo
Student Writer

The bridge between a university and the working world can be a difficult one to navigate — while some students quickly satisfying employment in their field of interest, others take time discovering a suitable career. For 2011 Urban Planning alumnus Omari Fuller, graduation entailed a bit of self-discovery and experimentation before he found his current career.

“The Urban Planning program was challenging, but it ultimately gave me the preparation and skills to enter the work world. It also led me on a route of trying out different things and finding out what really interests me,” Fuller recalls.

“After graduation, I wanted to try out everything except urban planning,” he continues. “First I wanted to open my own grocery shop, then I got into community activist programs, then I switched to working at a hall for the developmentally disabled.”

However, something from Fuller’s days as a commuter student sparked an interest in returning to the urban planning field.

“When I was a student, I made an 8-mile bike commute, several times a week, to go from east Hollywood to UCLA. Very quickly, it became a matter of putting my life on the line just to get to school each week,” Fuller says.

Fuller now works for the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, a non-profit “advocacy and resource organization” that aims to improve road safety and provide resources for local bikers. “My main goal in my work is to make it safe for everyone to go to the city — whenever, wherever, and however they’re going,” he says.

“So many fatalities happen with cars, but these are preventable through proper integration with other modes of transportation,” he explains. “Bikes are also great for exercise and personal health along with helping the environment. The benefits just go on and on.”

Beyond urban planning, Fuller hopes to invest himself further in the community by working with youth offenders in probation camp. The program, called “Computers for Families,” trains youth in probation camps to fix computers that are then given to families in need. Fuller’s work helps youth offenders learn a skill set that will show them the value of both work and charity.

“I want to give youth offenders better options in life, and I believe that by involving them in charity, they can learn to give back to the community as well,” Fuller explains.

No matter where the future takes him, Fuller knows he is on the right path. “Right now I find that I finally am doing something I like, something that I really enjoy,” he says. “I feel like I am making an impact on bikers and the community through my work —that is my ultimate goal.”

Alumni Leaders: Iczel Santizo

By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

“I was a victim, I became a survivor, and now I’m an advocate for women, minorities, and social justice,” Iczel Santizo, a 2010 Master of Public Policy alumna, summarizes about her life’s experiences.

Santizo is the co-founder of Kishé Foods LLC., a US-based social enterprise created with the goal of gaining support for fair trade coffee as well as self-sufficiency for small-scale farmers and, in particular, women in the industry. Many factors inspired Santizo to start this company, starting from her personal experience with poverty as a child.

Santizo was born in Guatemala and grew up in a world of hardship, violence and turmoil during the country’s civil war.

“There was domestic violence in my home. There was also violence outside of my home, as Guatemala suffered a 36-year civil war that began in 1960, and ended in 1996. My father was a university professor, which led to death threats against my dad, my mom, and the children,” Santizo details.

Santizo’s family briefly moved to the United States to escape the war and allow her father to earn his Master’s degree, but they eventually returned following the end of the war. Santizo decided at this point to pursue a career in the medical field and went into medical school.

“After my first year of school, I interned for one month at a government-run regional hospital in Huehuetenango, where I saw many people die due to preventable diseases and poverty,” she said.

This experience would later inspire her to direct her studies toward combatting poverty in Latin America.

Santizo left medical school in 1996 and moved to the United States for work purposes but eventually decided to resume her studies, earning first her BA and then her Masters in Public Policy at UCLA. For her Applied Policy Project, Santizo and her partner, Monica Gudiño, chose to focus on Guatemala and the topic of violence against women. Santizo and Gudiño traveled back and forth between Guatemala and the U.S., reaching out to family members and various contacts in order to gather information about this issue.

“One of the most important things I learned while doing this research is that if you empower women economically, the violence decreases for women, and their children,” Santizo explains.

Following her graduation, Santizo began working for Chrysalis, a non-profit organization focused on “Changing Lives through Jobs.” She describes Chrysalis as her “first direct experience with social enterprise.” However, health issues forced Santizo to quit her job in 2012 while simultaneously, and unexpectedly, opening the gateway for Santizo to found Kishé Foods.

“While I was home recovering, [my brother-in-law] Juan Francisco asked me if I could support their project — Kishé,” she said. “They’d been planning it in Guatemala. However, they needed someone to help them execute it in the U.S.”

Though Santizo initially had limited knowledge about the coffee industry and factors of production, she agreed to support her brother-in-law in this grassroots project.

The coffee industry is one of the largest in the agricultural sector, and while the demand for coffee is high, farmers have little control over price and revenue from their coffee beans. Santizo aims to change this by equipping small-scale farmers with the resources and medium by which they can earn their fair share of income.

“Kishé is a US based, producer owned social enterprise,” Santizo said. “Kishé sells organic, fair trade Guatemalan specialty coffee from 3,800 small producers. Our coffee is locally roasted in North Hollywood.”

In addition to helping small-scale farmers, Santizo continues to focus her goals on empowering women to gain equal footing in the coffee industry.

“We [Kishé Foods] offer single origin, and woman-grown coffee, as a third of our producers are women,” she explains.

Following the recent launch of Kishé Foods, Santizo has been busy gathering support and publicity for the company. However, she is still actively involved with the Luskin School and attends as many Schoolwide events and activities. Santizo also is an annual Luskin donor, and her 2011 monetary gift made it possible for a new social justice prize for best MPP Applied Policy Project concerning race/gender to be formed. Previously an anonymous gift, this is the first year her name will be associated with the prize.

“I’m very excited that the Luskin School is moving into a more global perspective, as I believe that many current issues are global in nature,” she said. “I am happy with the direction things are going and look forward to seeing the school grow.”

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Marian Wright Edelman Delivers Stirring Speech

By Max Wynn
UCLA Luskin Student Writer 

Marian Wright Edelman, the second speaker in the 2013-14 UCLA Luskin Lecture Series, delivered a stirring call to action to the community members, city leaders, educators and students who had gathered to hear her speak on Wednesday.

Edelman is the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, as well a veteran of the civil rights movement, and her speech at the California African American Museum emphasized that child advocacy and the struggle for social equity were inseparably linked.

Click here to see Edelman’s “The Art of Leadership video”

Edelman described child advocacy as a marathon, but there was a sense of urgency as she outlined the issues facing America’s children and the nation as a whole.

“If we don’t break up that cradle to prison pipeline we are going to lose the last 50, 60 years of social progress,” she said. “We’ve got to replace massive incarceration and private prisons with early child education and health care and good schools.

“If we don’t save our children we cannot save this nation’s future,” she said.

Having established the critical role of child advocacy in securing a stronger and more equitable United States, Edelman declared that it was time for a movement. She emphasized throughout the night that for the nation’s children to overcome the formidable obstacles they face, Americans must share a renewed dedication to serving the greater good.

In his introductory remarks, Duane Dennis, the executive director of the child advocacy group Pathways, and a commissioner of First 5 LA, explained that to really know Marian Wright Edelman is to understand the value she places in service.

“Service is the rent we pay for being, it is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time” he read, quoting her words. He went on to say that “her service, her life, her very being has enriched us all.”

As the lecture drew to a close Edelman told the story of a dinner party Dr. Martin Luther King attended less than a year before his death. Dr. King shocked the guests at the party by stating that he feared that they were integrating into a burning house. He feared that the country was going to be undone by extreme materialism, extreme militarism, and extreme racism. All there was to be done, he said, was to go out there and be firemen, to sound the alarm.

“I want to tell you that it’s time to get out there and sound the alarm” Edelman said, her voice growing louder. “This is a dangerous time, but we can turn danger into hope.”

Following the lecture, as the audience filed out of the auditorium many stayed behind to chat or have their picture taken with Edelman. One audience member turned to her friend and, with a palpable sense of joy, compared talking to Edelman with meeting Dr. King.

The Luskin Lecture Series is designed to enhance public discourse on topics relevant to today’s societal needs. Bringing renowned public intellectuals and scholars together with national and local leaders, the Luskin Lecture Series presents issues that are changing the way our country addresses its most pressing problems. For more information on upcoming Luskin Lecture Series events, please click here.

The Art of Leadership: William Bratton

Former Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department William J. Bratton is our latest in the series, “The Art of Leadership.”

Prior to speaking during the Luskin Lecture Series, Bratton discussed his ideas and thoughts on the subject of leadership, a subject that is important to UCLA Luskin. Leadership is one of the many things the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs emphasizes for its students with the Leadership Initiative, pairing tomorrow’s leaders with the leaders of today.

To see the Luskin School’s other Art of Leadership interviews, please visit our YouTube page.

 

Bratton Opens Luskin Lecture Series With Lively Talk

By Max Wynn
UCLA Luskin Student Writer
 

Former Los Angeles police chief William J. Bratton kicked off the new academic year’s UCLA Luskin Lecture Series last week with a speech that highlighted the ability of the police to be a force for positive social change. 

Community members and city leaders joined UCLA students, alumni and faculty at the Japanese American National Museum in Downtown Los Angeles to hear the former Chief speak. Bratton’s lecture linked the experiences of his 40 years of police work, during which he has also served as Police Commissioner in Boston and New York, with the evolution of the profession as a whole.

In no small part thanks to Chief Bratton’s contributions, policing has moved from responding to crimes that were committed, to preventing those crimes and improving the communities in which they occur. Crime prevention, and the importance of the relationship between the police and the community, were key elements of both his speech and the policies he implemented during his time as Los Angeles’ Chief of Police, which lasted from 2002-09.

LAPD Bureau Chief and UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs board member Gerald Chaleff said, during his introductory remarks, that these policies have “made the Los Angeles police department into a place where everyone else in law enforcement now comes to learn and be trained.”

Chief Bratton’s policies reduced crime in Los Angeles and repaired the reputation of the police department, but he believes that quality policing can have an even greater impact. 

“If we the police get it right in delivering public safety in a way that we build trust, in a way that improves race relationships, in a way that improves our efficiency,” he said, “then we are effectively a force multiplier for expanding on all the promises of democracy that go back to the creation of our country, and our constitution, and our Declaration of Independence.”

Throughout his speech Chief Bratton repeated his mantra “cops count, police matter”, and as his speech drew to a close he built upon this phrase, adding that “we can matter so much more if we do it the right way.”

Following the lecture Frank D. Gilliam Jr., Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, joined Chief Bratton on stage. The two had a conversation about a wide range of topics, among them terrorism, gun control, trends in crime statistics, and how to best enforce stop-and-frisk policies.

The Luskin Lecture Series continues with “A Conversation with Marian Wright Edelman.” The civil rights activist and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund will be speaking on December 4th at the California African American Museum. For more information and to RSVP, please click here.

The Luskin Lecture Series is designed to enhance public discourse on topics relevant to today’s societal needs. Bringing renowned public intellectuals and scholars together with national and local leaders, the Luskin Lecture Series presents issues that are changing the way our country addresses its most pressing problems. For more information on upcoming Luskin Lecture Series events, please click here.

 

Akee Appointed to U.S. Census Panel

Public Policy professor Randall Akee has been named to the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations.

The panel, which includes academics, civic leaders and executives on its roster, helps the Census Bureau ensure it accurately counts racial and ethnic minorities in its surveys and programs. According to the Bureau, members of the committee “are chosen to serve based on their expertise and knowledge of the cultural patterns, issues and/or statistical needs of “hard-to-count” populations.”

Akee was appointed an assistant professor at UCLA Luskin and American Indian Studies earlier this year, having previously held professorships at Tufts University and UC Berkeley. He has researched labor economics, migration and development across several Native American, Canadian and Pacific Islander communities.

Akee is one of 10 committee appointees announced today. He begins his term Aug. 1.

Social Welfare Presentation — Fast Cars and Battle Scars: Understanding the Modern Combat Veteran and PTSD Army veteran Andrew Nicholls speaks on military social work

By Ramin Rajaii
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

How is a military man supposed to assimilate back into society following a traumatic experience abroad?

UCLA senior Andrew Nicholls served eight years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Iraq, providing him with a unique perspective on the subject.

Now, he’s sharing his firsthand perspectives about the military and combat through a UCLA psychology course entitled, “Fast Cars and Battle Scars: Understanding the Modern Combat Veteran and PTSD,” the purpose for which is raising awareness of what it is like to serve and return to civilian society.

On Tuesday afternoon, Nicholls spoke on the subject at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, in a lunchtime chat presented by the Social Welfare department to promote military social work.

Nicholls led a discussion regarding the seminar, and various ways in which we can re-forge hope for war veterans.

Combat veterans make up 9% of the U.S. population. In their training, they must endure both extremely high mental and physical standards. As a result, returning to an entirely different world from which you have been disconnected is a near insurmountable task.

“You’ve been on an adrenaline rush the entire time,” Nicholls said, “Then you get home to a mundane life, and a lot of guys start racing motorcycles, skydiving and finding other thrill-seeking activities.”

Without such outlets, many veterans suffer from severe cases of PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder, experiencing everything from their ears ringing spontaneously and tunnel vision to a sudden inability to breathe.

In the talk, Nicholls emphasized that civilians must recognize war veterans for having provided service to their countries, and in so doing, military members have “written a check up to and including their lives.”

Nicholls is teaching the course through the UCLA Undergraduate Student Initiated Education Program, which enables outstanding juniors and seniors in the College of Letters and Science to develop and teach a one-unit seminar, under faculty supervision.

The class also will cover the experience of basic training, unique issues facing female veterans and how military training prepares prospective soldiers to kill.

 

Debra Duardo Named Social Welfare Alumna of the Year Debra Duardo, a 1996 Master of Social Welfare graduate from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and LAUSD Student Health Director, has been selected to receive the Joseph A. Nunn Award

By Joe Luk

Debra Duardo, a 1996 Master of Social Welfare graduate from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, has been selected to receive the Joseph A. Nunn Award, honoring her as the department’s Alumna of the Year. The award will be presented to Duardo in a ceremony on Saturday, April 20.

The Social Welfare Alumnus of the Year award recognizes outstanding social work professionals who have contributed leadership and service to the school, university, and/or community, and who have otherwise distinguished themselves through commitment and dedication to a particular area of social work.

Duardo is currently the executive director of student health and human services for Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the United States. As the executive director she is responsible for the administrative oversight of support services and district programs designed to address the physical health, mental health, and home and community barriers that prevent student academic success, including student medical services, school nursing, pupil services, dropout prevention and recovery, school mental health, community partnerships, and Medi-Cal programs.

In this role she manages a $100 million budget and over 3,000 employees including directors, specialists, pupil services and attendance counselors, psychiatric social workers, nurses, organization facilitators, and healthy start coordinators.

After graduating from UCLA with a major in Women Studies and Chicana/o Studies in 1994 Duardo earned her Master of Social Welfare degree at UCLA in 1996 with a specialization in school social work. Since that time she has earned her school administrative credential and is currently completing her Ed.D. in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Following completion of her MSW, Debra started her career serving as a school social worker and the Healthy Start project director at Wilson High School.

She advanced to being the LAUSD Healthy Start District Administrator. Since that time she has served as assistant principal at Le Conte Middle School, the director of dropout prevention and recovery for LAUSD, and director of pupil services for LAUSD.  Through all of these positions she has maintained her focus on the important of health and social services for children and families.

The Joseph A. Nunn Social Welfare Alumnus of the Year award was established to honor Joseph A. Nunn, former director of field education at the Department of Social Welfare at UCLA. Dr. Nunn brought leadership and service to UCLA and the Social Welfare program at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for over two decades. Dr. Nunn received his B.S., M.S.W. and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA. After working as a probation officer for 15 years, he became a member of the field education faculty in 1980, and except for a three-year, off-campus appointment, remained at UCLA until his retirement in 2006. During his last 15 years, he served with distinction as the director of field education and, simultaneous for the last decade, as vice chair of the Department of Social Welfare, where he supervised the field education program.