Jason Vorderstrasse

Jason Vorderstrasse joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2004 and currently serves as the Diplomat in Residence for Southern California, Hawaii, and Nevada.  Prior to this assignment, he served as the Reports and Blockchain Coordinator and the Deputy Director of the Office of International Labor Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.  Previously, he worked as the Chief of the Political and Economic Affairs Section at the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, Mexico.

Other assignments include Chile Desk Officer in Washington, Global Affairs Officer for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in Washington, Consul in Hong Kong, and Vice Consul in Kingston, Jamaica. Prior to joining the Department of State, he worked for the U.S. Department of Labor in Los Angeles.

Jason holds a law degree from Golden Gate University and a B.A. in International Relations from Pomona College. He grew up in Oregon and speaks Spanish, intermediate Mandarin, and intermediate Cantonese.

Khush Cooper

Khush Cooper, MSW, PhD. is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs as well as a consultant to public child welfare systems and private child welfare organizations in the areas of foster care reform, LGBTQ youth in systems, implementation science, and leadership. Dr. Cooper teaches Child Welfare Research, Leadership, Public Policy for Children and Youth, and Macro Practice at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA and is a foster care subject matter advisor to the UCLA Williams Institute, a nationally renowned LGBT research and policy analysis center. She received her MSW (2000) and PhD (2010) in Social Work from Luskin.


Her research projects include the California Residentially-Based Services (RBS) Demonstration Project which tested new models for the provision of residential treatment to foster children across four jurisdictions, which models influenced AB 403 Continuum of Care Reform – the largest overhaul of California’s child welfare system in 30 years; the RISE Project, a $13 million, federally-funded 5-year demonstration project which developed evidence-based practices and a rigorously evaluated training curriculum aimed at reducing barriers to permanency for LGBTQ youth in foster care; the Los Angeles Foster Youth Study, the first empirical study to determine the disproportionality of LGBTQ youth in a large urban child welfare system; and the LA LGBTQ Youth Preparedness Scan which used a preparedness framework (as opposed to a cultural competence framework) to analyze the eleven youth-relevant Los Angeles County departments’ capacity to properly serve LGBTQ children, youth and families.


Additionally, as a social entrepreneur and specialist in the study and implementation science, Dr. Cooper has cultivated long-standing relationships with policymakers, leading practitioners, and consumers to shield and guide California’s child welfare organizations, both public and private, through reform initiatives. Her credibility in the child welfare field is further enhanced by her years of direct practice experience in foster care, residential treatment and community adolescent service settings. She has deployed performance management systems for large multi-site child welfare and mental health provision organizations; designed practical implementation support and readiness initiatives with regard to state and federal legislative mandates (such as the Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project and the Families First Prevention Services Act; and currently is an adjunct member of the Implementation Collaborative within Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago as well as CQI subject matter expert utilized widely by Casey Family Programs.


Michael Fleming

Michael Fleming is the Executive Director of the David Bohnett Foundation – a grant making foundation charged with “improving society through social activism”. Since 2000, he has shepherded more than $125 million dollars to organizations and institutions that share the foundation’s goals and vision.

Michael has been appointed to boards and commissions at every level of government.  In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom named him as one of his two appointees to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, a Joint Powers Authority between the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and the State of California. From 2018 to 2022, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Getty House Foundation, dedicated to civic education, community engagement, and the preservation of Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles.

From 2013 to 2017, Michael served on the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners – the five member panel that oversees the nation’s largest public utility. He previously served as the President of the East Los Angeles Area Planning Commission and as a Commissioner on the Board of the Los Angeles Convention Center. In 2010, President Barack Obama named Fleming to the White House Council for Community Solutions.

Michael sits on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations including The Carr Center at Harvard Kennedy School, The University of Limerick’s Kemmy School, and public radio powerhouse KCRW, where he served as Chairman of the Board and Co-Chair of their capital campaign.  Since 2003, he’s been an adjunct professor of organizational development and public policy at UCLA, a member of the LGBTQ Studies Faculty Advisory Committee, and, in 2023 was awarded the Student’s Choice Outstanding Faculty Award at UCLA’s 25th annual Lavender Graduation.  From 2013 to 2016 Michael was also an adjunct professor of public policy at NYU.

Michael is married to California Court of Appeal Justice Luis A. Lavin.


Michael is currently teaching:

  • Politics, Power, and Philanthropy (Public Policy M227, Social Welfare M290S, Urban Planning M287) – Winter
  • Institutions & Organizations (LGBTQ Studies 180XP) – Spring

Monica Blauner

Monica Blauner, LCSW is a graduate of Smith College School for Social Work 1979, and earned a certificate in psychoanalysis from the New York Freudian Society Psychoanalytic Training Institute. She is currently in private practice in Los Angeles, and has worked at all levels of care in mental health and substance abuse treatment. She has led an Integrative Seminar for Smith College School for Social Work students placed in Los Angeles and taught at The Psychoanalytic Training Institute of the New York Counseling Center and Metropolitan Institute for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She is dedicated to teaching foundational clinical skills, including client engagement, understanding unconscious process and using the therapeutic relationship.