Joan Ling Named Third District ‘Woman of the Year’ The Urban Planning alumna and lecturer was honored on March 9.


Urban Planning alumna (MAUP ’82) and adjunct professor Joan Ling was recently named “Woman of the Year” in Los Angeles County’s Third District for her work to improve public policy, legislation, and government regulations that impact quality of life.

District 3 Supervisor Sheila Kuehl presented the award to Ling at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles on Monday, March 9. In her newsletter, Kuehl included a mention of the award saying: “At the thirtieth LA County Women’s Commission luncheon, I was very pleased to honor amazing affordable housing builder, activist and visionary, the incomparable Joan Ling, as the Third District’s Woman of the Year. Congrats again Joan!”

According to Kuehl’s website, the Los Angeles County Commission for Women and the Board of Supervisors honored a “Woman of the Year” from each Supervisorial district in celebration of Women’s History Month (March).

The website said: “These awards provide an opportunity to lift up and recognize courageous and dedicated women for their outstanding accomplishments in seeking gender equity as well as their valued contributions in addressing a variety of wellness and quality of life issues facing women throughout the County of Los Angeles.”

Last year, Ling was the Department of Urban Planning’s Alumna of the Year. Her projects include the first multi-family structure in the country awarded the gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

To read more about Ling’s accomplishments from Supervisor Kuehl’s website, go here.





Luskin Center Deputy Director Briefs U.S. EPA Leadership and National Conference Participants on Advancing Climate Justice Luskin Center representative at EPA Conference

One of the most significant events in the arena of climate justice took place when California’s Senate Bill 535 (SB 535) was signed into law, stated Charles Lee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and one of the nation’s most prominent leaders on environmental justice.  SB 535 mandates that at least 25% of the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund investments go to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.

Colleen Callahan, deputy director of the UCLA Luskin Center, was one of four SB 535 leaders from California invited by Lee to meet with senior EPA staff and also speak on a panel at the National Environmental Justice Conference on March 12 and 13th in Washington D.C. In addition to Callahan, the other panelists were the “father of SB 535” Shankar Prasad of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA, and formerly with the Coalition for Clean Air); Mari Rose Taruc, organizing director for the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and coordinator of SB 535 Coalition; and Arsenio Mataka, assistant secretary of environmental justice and tribal affairs, CalEPA.

The panelists shared the “backstory” of the efforts to conceive, pass and now implement SB 535.  They provided first hand perspectives on lessons regarding their successes and challenges—past and present, as well as implications for other parts of the nation.

Callahan emphasized that SB 535 and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) represent a tremendous opportunity to advance climate justice. She also noted the challenge in implementing such a major and unprecedented initiative. Pulling from the UCLA report on SB535 entitled, “Investment Justice through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund,” she provided key recommendations for implementing the GGRF to ensure the investments maximize environmental, economic and public health benefits for communities across California most in need. The recommended evaluation and performance management approach draws from an earilier report “Pathways to Environmental Justice: Advancing a Framework for Evaluation” created by the UCLA Luskin Center in collaboration with EPA and EJ leaders from across the nation.

Public Policy Alumna Gives Testimony on US Trade Partnership Importance Celeste Drake presents testimony on US trade possibilities


By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin student writer 

Public policy alumna Celeste Drake presented testimony about U.S. trade possibilities in the Trans-Pacific Partnership at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing last Wednesday.

Her testimony addressed how trade through the Trans-Pacific Partnership can be used to ensure sustainable economic growth in the US, particularly by increasing wages and improving working conditions. Drake said that trade deals after NAFTA have created stagnant wages and increasing inequality, and suggested ways the Trans-Pacific Partnership can help revert those effects.  

“The most important thing the TPP can do to create jobs and raise wages is to address currency manipulation,” she said. “ If the TPP leaves countries free to use currency to create trade advantages,  the mammoth, job killing 500 billion dollar US trade deficit is only likely to grow.”

In her concluding statements, Drake asked for the US government to increase leverage over the TPP by rejecting a fast track model and properly enforcing it. 

“The TPP rules must require compliance on day one or it sends the message that the commitments aren’t serious. If the TPP rules  are entirely  discretionary allow for delays or no action at all they will not help workers gain the voice they need to raise wages and make their jobs safer,” she said.

UCLA Medical Marijuana Research Team Releases Brief On Dispensaries The team examined the changes in the number and location of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles.

By Angel Ibanez
UCLA Luskin Student Writer 

The UCLA Medical Marijuana Research team led by Social Welfare professor Bridget Freisthler recently released a brief that examines the changes in the number and location of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles over a seven year time period.

The brief illuminates the prevalence of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. In 2007, Los Angeles had 187 open and operating dispensaries but by 2014 the number had reached 418. This finding could have implications on the monitoring of dispensaries. In 2013 voters passed Proposition D, a city ordinance that would, in part, limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed in the city to 135. Despite this ordinance, Freisthler’s research showed that the city currently has over three times that limit as of 2014. 

The research also showed a shift in distribution of dispensaries across the city, moving “from the San Fernando Valley and East L.A. to the South L.A. and San Pedro areas”.

The map shows the rate of change of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city from 2007 to 2014. While some neighborhoods saw a decrease in dispensaries, the rate of change in others, like South LA and San Pedro, increased over 250 percent. 

According to Freisthler, the shift in dispensary distribution can be attribute to gang activity where in areas like South LA “dispensaries were run out by the gangs. And now gangs are converting parts of their street market to dispensaries.”

The large increase in dispensaries in San Pedro could also be a result of cause and effect.  As dispensaries were being shut down in Long Beach “due to increased enforcement, dispensaries migrated to San Pedro,” Freisthler says. 

The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and led by Dr. Bridget Freisthler, Principal Investigator, with Dr. Paul J. Gruenewald, Co-Investigator; Crystal Thomas, Graduate Student; Alexis Cooke, Graduate Student Researcher; and Alex Creek, Student Researcher.  

The UCLA Medical Marijuana Research team was initiated as a way to examine how the emergence of dispensaries change the ecological landscape of the neighborhoods in which they are located, including changes in crime and dependence. The research team hopes to provide communities with guidance on regulatory processes that may improve neighborhood problems related to dispensaries.


German Exchange Students Explore Policy in Los Angeles Hertie School of Governance students Niels Boehm and Oliver Loeffler share their experience studying at Luskin as part of an exchange program.


Niels Boehm and Oliver Loeffler traveled from Berlin, Germany to spend Fall quarter here at the Luskin School as part of a reciprocal international exchange program with the Hertie School of Governance. The Hertie School is a private governance and political science school in Berlin. Two Luskin students, Naoki Yamazaki and Hirofumi Kyunai, returned from Hertie in January.

Boehm’s focus is on climate change policy, including energy and transportation policies. Loeffler studies international labor governance, looking at how governments can induce transnational corporations to uphold human rights standards. Before the two students returned to Germany last quarter, we asked them to share their experiences and unique perspectives with us about living and studying at UCLA and the Department of Public Policy at the Luskin School of Public Affairs.


Luskin: Why did you choose to come to Los Angeles?

Loeffler: I thought living in a mega-city such as LA would be interesting from a policy perspective.

Luskin: Did you feel you could venture out into the city and get to learn about public policy that’s actually happening in LA?

Boehm: I had a great course about transportation policy planning. Urban Planning professor Brian Taylor was very engaged in giving us the opportunity to get to know what we were learning about in class in real life. So we did a one day field trip and visited the major transportation policy and planning institutions around the city. That was a good experience because it linked the theoretical class debates to the real world.

Loeffler:  I think what’s good also about the Luskin school is that it offers programs which are directly related to the challenges here in LA and offers connections to other public policy courses.

Boehm: This is also a great opportunity for us because we can take courses from different departments. I think that was also one of my major motivations to come to UCLA, that you offered students the opportunity to pick courses out of this really impressive curriculum.

Loeffler: That’s a great point. My policy focus is on the frontier between the public and private sector. The exchange program offered me opportunity of studying at the management school (Anderson) which I would have never had studying in Berlin only. That’s a big asset of the exchange program — that you can pick courses you’re really interested in and help you advance your focus area.

What’s also great about my stay here is that my girlfriend was able to visit me for a month. The scheduling of the university was flexible which allowed us to travel a little bit. We got a tent from the outdoor recreation center here at UCLA, rented a car and drove up the PCH.

Boehm: Yeah I would also underline you have this great combination of studying and opportunities to do all kinds of things, whatever you want.

Luskin: Was there any cultural shocks or things you thought were strange or funny about studying in America?

Boehm: We’ve both traveled around the world to a lot of countries… but we got to see how things differ in terms of daily life. You have these dining halls here on campus, all this school pride for example. I mean we knew it existed, but to live it and to go to a college football game and tailgates was different. It was a cultural shock I would say, how huge the identification with the school is.

Loeffler: In Germany we would watch American TV shows…and are aware of what’s going on in politics and society in the US. But living here and experiencing some of the major political and social discussions was a great experience. I got a much better feel about the inner functioning of this country.

Luskin: Can you elaborate on the difference between studying in LA as opposed to Berlin?

Loeffler: The structures of the courses are sometimes a little different and also in terms of class discussions, there’s a different style to it. But it’s not a difference of quality, just maybe the difference between the European and the American system.

Luskin: Would you recommend your other classmates to come here in the future?

Both: Yes. Definitely.

Boehm: We had a presentation on the Hertie School because there’s discrepancy between the students who go to Berlin and the students who come to UCLA and want to come to UCLA. We have like 20 to 30 applicants for the few spaces here, but there are very few people who would come to Germany, so we try to promote it and engage people more

Luskin: So, can you give your pitch for why your German friends should come to UCLA and why your American friends should go to the Hertie School?

Loeffler: UCLA is the policy capital of the US and in the US there are a lot of policy challenges, especially topics related to urbanization and social inequality, which really crystalize here. We are in California, where a lot of innovative solutions are explored. UCLA offers a lot of resources to students and is a great campus and it’s a fun place to be. It’s California.

Boehm: I think for Germany, my pitch is if you want to get to know Europe, Berlin is the best place to do it. Berlin is currently the most exciting city in Germany. Politically, its the most relevant city for both German and European politics. Also, it would be a great opportunity because it’s an English-speaking environment and Berlin has an international character,  so you wont have any issues to get along with your language skills which can be a major barrier for people.



If you are interested in learning more about the Hertie Exchange Program, there will be an information session on Thursday, March 12 from 12:30 – 1:00p.m. in room 4371. Naoki Yamazaki and Hirofumi Kyunai will discuss their experience at the Hertie School and answer any questions at the info session.

Although the Hertie School program is a Master of Public Policy, many of the elective courses are relevant to all three Luskin School Departments. Applications will be due on Monday, March 23.

Bridget Freisthler’s Research Shows Correlation Between Alcohol Density And Crime Research examines liquor stores in South LA

Bridget Freisthler

By Angel Ibanez
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Social Welfare professor Bridget Freisthler was recently mentioned in an article for her expertise on alcohol and abuse. Part of Freisthler’s research is based on substance use and related problems, and child abuse and neglect.

In the article titled, “South LA liquor stores may put residents’ health at risk” published by Intersections South LA, reporter Morgan Greenwald discussed the correlation between liquor stores and the detrimental effects it causes on communities.

South L.A. has one of the highest density of liquor stores with 150 liquor stores and one of the highest car accidents rates involving alcohol in the country. A study in the county showed that an increase in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes correlated with the number of liquor stores in the area.

The article references Professor Freisthler’s research on the effect that access to alcohol has with violence, “places that have higher densities of outlets have increases in violence, child abuse and neglect [and] traffic crashes,” said Freisthler. 

Many organizations in the community are getting involved to decrease the liquor store density in hope of closing stores that contribute to the cycle of crime and addiction.



Contributing to Community and Higher Education Antonia Tu (MSW '73) is giving back to support young Social Welfare students and the community.

By Adeney Zo

After working in social welfare for 10 years and in business the years following, Antonia Tu (MSW ’73) found a new way to give back to the community.

She and her husband, Norman Tu, recently created the Antonia Tu Fellowship in Social Welfare. “I appreciate the opportunities given to me [at Luskin], so I’m trying to do the same thing for students now,” says Tu. “I know that people going into social work are not there to make money, so I want to help them with books and costs.”


Antonia Tu

Kate O’Neal, assistant dean for External Relations, was also involved in the process of creating the fellowship. “When we met, Antonia asked about how she could do something more substantial to give back and support young Social Welfare students,” says O’Neal. “Now every year, a promising student in Social Welfare will receive support in Antonia Tu’s name for their education at UCLA.”

Tu first came to the US as an international student from Hong Kong, going through community college and eventually the UCLA Social Welfare program. Following graduation, she worked in the field of developmental disability for 10 years before starting DCL Corp, a distribution fulfillment business, with her husband in 1982.  She held various executive positions in Human Resources and Operations.  Today DCL is a successful business with locations in Northern and Southern California and Louisville, Kentucky.

“From social work, I learned how to find the right employee and place them in the right position, so the skill set was transferrable,” explains Tu. “I would assess strengths and weaknesses of families and clients, which was later very applicable in business.”

Now retired, the Tu couple give back to their local community through a number of scholarships and donations. They contribute to a scholarship program for Asian high school students with financial need in the Bay Area, as well as a self-help group for the elderly. Tu also sponsors her former community college on an annual basis in addition to the new Social Welfare fellowship program at the Luskin School.

“We’re very active in the community, so I’m still involved in social work, in a way,” says Tu. “This is the beginning of a phase that I hope my children can follow by giving back to the community.”

Todd Franke, Chair of the Social Welfare Department says: “It is extremely gratifying to me to see alumni like Antonia giving back to UCLA Social Welfare, helping our next generation of students to achieve their MSW degree and embark upon rewarding careers in social work.”


Mark Kaplan Says There is Lack of Analysis of the Military as a Social Setting The social welfare professor discussed mental health and suicide prevention for veterans on NPR.



By Alejandra Velarde-Reyes
UCLA Luskin student writer

According to an NPR radio broadcast on Thursday morning, 22 veterans commit suicide every day, or about one every hour. The broadcast invited experts in mental health and veteran services, including social welfare professor Mark Kaplan to address the problem of suicide risk among returning veterans.

In 2007, Kaplan was part of one of the first groundbreaking research studies to reveal that veterans were at higher risk of suicide than the general public, a study that followed thousands of veterans over a 12 year period. Gaining national attention by the media and by congress, the study prompted increased action toward suicide prevention for veterans, Kaplan said in the broadcast.

Since then, new studies have been conducted revealing more detailed information and Kaplan has become more involved in the issue of veteran suicide risk. He expressed concern over gun access, higher risk women in the military, and what factors really contribute to suicide and mental health problems for veterans.

“We’ve assumed many suicides were associated with trauma from deployment but a recent study found that…the risk of suicide among veterans who were deployed and those who were not, were not significantly different,” Kaplan said.

The broadcast explored the reasoning for such evidence, suggesting that it is military service itself rather than exposure to war that causes higher suicide risk.

Though the military attempts to increase resilience in soldiers individually, Kaplan said there is a lack of analysis of the military as a social setting.

“What about the psycho-social environment of the military? What role that may be contributing is pretty much unknown,” Kaplan said. “The military has been resistant to looking at itself as an institution and instead focused on individuals and defines the problem in purely psychiatric and therapeutic ways.”

Kaplan suggested that other factors such as family crisis and financial problems that have little to do with military service precipitate events that lead to suicide.

The segment also addressed the problem of veterans’ access to guns, a central element in suicide risk among veterans.

“There are many veterans who still sleep with a gun under there pillow. This is not uncommon. Many find it difficult, whether they are at risk or not, to part with their guns. We need to do a much better job at probing for gun access and doing something about it,” Kaplan said.


John Villasenor on digital media sales, hardware hacking and banking for the poor Research on digital security and risk assessment


By Angel Ibanez
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Public Policy and Electrical Engineering professor, John Villasenor, was recently featured in the media on the topics of selling used digital media and the growing danger of hacked hardware. He also co-wrote a blog post for the Brookings Institute on the role of the global financial system in helping the poorest and most vulnerable.

In the article titled, “Secondhand Downloads: Will Used E-Books and Digital Games Be for Sale?” published by Bloomberg News, reporter Joshua Brustein explained that the mechanics of selling used digital media are not clearly set and possibly not legal. Professor Villasenor offered one potential solution to addressing some of the issues in music: to establish a “short-term online lending library” for songs. 

Through this short-term lending library, the owner of the song would “lose access whenever someone else listened to the song he contributed.” When capitalizing on the song, the recording artist would only be able to “sell the number of copies of a song equal to the maximum number of people listening to it at any one time.”

Popular Science’s “Nowhere to Hide” piece discusses the growing problems that hacked hardware could cause for security in the future. The article references Villasenor’s research in which he stresses the realization that possible attacks are only a matter of time “the laws of statistics guarantee that there are people with the skills, access, and motivation to intentionally compromise a chip design.” This becomes an ever bigger problem when so little is being done to prepare for such a scenario, “defensive strategies have not yet been fully developed, much less put into practice.”

In a blog post co-written for the Brookings Institute last week, Villasenor and Peer Stein discussed how the current rise of “retrenchment by global financial institutions may be undermining years of progress in providing the world’s poor with financial services.”

The problem of retrenchment comes from large fines against banks for failing to comply with international sanctions and anti-money laundering rules. Banks are doing what is known as “de-risking” where they restrict or terminate business with clients to avoid risk. 

This has led to a rise in banks closing remittance accounts and has affected civil society organizations. One NGO involved in helping women’s groups in the Middle East was denied a bank account to avoid the risk of funds indirectly ending up in Syria. 

In order to address this important problem, Villasenor suggested three pillars necessary for finding solutions going forward:

1. Public authorities need to provide more meaningful information on ML/TF risks to the financial industry, clarify their regulatory expectations, and adopt a genuinely risk-based approach in their supervisory and enforcement actions.

2. Financial institutions need to step up their understanding of the risks of their customer base, and direct internal control efforts accordingly. Risk management approaches should focus more on individual clients, and not write off entire sectors.

3. Countries with significant inflows of remittances need to improve the effectiveness of their regulatory regimes to combat ML/TF, and to provide more comfort to global financial institutions with banking relationships with clients in the developing world.

After Academic Career, Professor Writes for Kids Emerita Social Welfare profesor Diane de Anda has established a post-instructional career as an author of bilingual children's books.


When she was younger, Diane de Anda recalls listening to stories from her grandparents about the Mexican revolution and other historical events they had lived through. After working as a professor and researcher in the department of Social Welfare at UCLA Luskin, she decided it was time to go step away from her academic roots and focus on creative writing, submitting short stories and poetry for publication in various literary journals.

In addition, de Anda has become an award-winning author of several works for children, including The Patchwork Garden and A Day Without Sugar. She also writes satirical pieces about current political and social issues that are published in the Humor Times and Satire and Comment.

Before becoming a professor at UCLA, de Anda’s experience as a junior high school teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District inspired her to work with youth, drawing her into the field of social welfare with a focus on issues related to young populations and families, particularly in the Latino community.

“Most people don’t like teaching junior high students, but I adored them,” de Anda said. “They were at a very critical point in their lives. I think if you catch potential problems (at that age), they have a chance for more productive adult lives. Working with youth seemed like a hopeful kind of thing to do.”

Though she enjoys writing creatively, she doesn’t think this has to compromise her academic work. She continues to contribute to the social welfare literature and also spends time discussing research with former doctoral students and faculty members.

“I love research and its intellectual challenge. I invite present and former doctoral students and faculty members to my house where we have dessert and share ideas about research,” de Anda said. “Research is an intellectual endeavor that should not be limited to the classroom; rather, intellectual exchange should be part of your life as a whole.”

During her time as a professor, she taught subjects including cognitive behavior, adolescent behavior, cross cultural awareness and research at the master’s and doctoral levels. De Anda formulated the concept “bicultural socialization,” and her best-noted research focused on adolescent pregnancy and motherhood.

Her passion for social work and working with adolescents has extended beyond her work in academia. De Anda has consulted and volunteered for organizations that provide services to disadvantaged youth, such as the Human Services Association and El Nido Family Centers, among others. Her focus in this work has been on stress and coping, violence prevention, and adolescent pregnancy and STD prevention in Latino youth.

Rosie Ramos, the director of the Pasitos Early Head Start program at the Human Services Association, and a 10-year colleague of De Anda’s, spoke highly of de Anda’s dedication to the subject.

“She is a very hard working and genuine person, very dedicated and most caring about what happens to teens and pregnant mothers, “ Ramos said. “I have a great deal of respect for her and the work that she does.”

De Anda said what she enjoyed most during her time as a professor at UCLA was interacting with her students. After retirement, she has kept in touch with many former doctoral students, advising and encouraging them to publish their own research.

“I find speaking with students the most rewarding both personally and intellectually. They were always challenging and interactive in my classes,” she said.

Susan Snyder was a student in de Anda’s courses on cultural competence and cognitive behavior theory. She was part of Snyder’s dissertation committee and helped her edit her manuscripts.

“Dr. de Anda provided the most feedback I have ever received on papers,” Snyder said. “Even though my dissertation was over 100 pages, she provided comprehensive feedback on each page.

“She has a way of teaching that energizes students and makes learning engaging, bringing energy and passion in a way that few can master,” Snyder added.

Though Snyder said de Anda’s courses were the most difficult she had, she said her impact in academic life and the larger community inspired Snyder to pursue a career in academia.

“Dr. de Anda is compassionate, generous and tireless. She is incredibly brilliant and able to analyze complex problems with ease. She also is a phenomenal writer,” Snyder said. “More than anything Dr. de Anda believes in ensuring that each person is treated with dignity and respect. She is a stalwart advocate of social justice.”

In the future, de Anda said she hopes to continue working with doctoral students at UCLA, helping them with their writing as well as publishing her own collection of short stories for adults and the additional children’s books she has written, including a collection of 80 animal limericks and a book of nonsense poems for young boys.