Sid P. Jordan

Sid Jordan’s interdisciplinary research examines social inequity in health care and the law, particularly for survivors of gender-based violence, and integrates community and macro practice. Sid’s dissertation builds on a participatory action research project led by and for transgender community organizers in Los Angeles to better understand and address gender, racial, and economic inequities in health and access to health services. His study investigates how participants work to define, practice, and reimagine “transgender health care” in a period of increased social recognition, political uncertainty, and pervasive inequality.

Sid has published on the inclusion of transgender people in federal antiviolence policy and on juvenile justice policies and practices, with a focus on LGBTQ youth and institutional violence. His research and writing have appeared in the peer-reviewed journals Violence Against Women, the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, and Youth Justice, and in research reports published by the Williams Institute and the Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center. He has presented his work at the annual meetings of the Society for Social Work and Research, the American Public Health Association, and the National Transgender Health Summit, as well as a range of professional and public venues, including Los Angeles City Hall and the national Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit.

Sid’s research and teaching draws from his training in law and the social sciences, his practice experience in community development and antiviolence organizations, and his participation in social justice movements. He has advanced training in qualitative methods, legal analysis, and participatory research. He has worked with several research teams and non-profit organizations committed to community-based research and the translation of research into practice.

Sid previously led a national demonstration project to increase access to services for LGBTQ survivors of domestic and sexual violence. He started his social work career as a peer outreach worker for homeless youth and, for nearly two decades, has provided training and consultation to youth-serving and social service agencies. Sid earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria and an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Washington.

Shannon L. Dunlap

Shannon’s research is interdisciplinary and centers on adolescent and family development, mental health, stress and support. Her mixed-methods dissertation uses a life history calendar qualitative approach to interview transgender adolescent-parent dyads to explore their stress and support experiences across the adolescent life-span. Additionally, her dissertation includes a quantitative survey to further describe adolescent and parent perceptions of current adolescent psychological distress and school experiences. This research is important because it explores the role of parent- adolescent stress and support for adolescent gender identity development and affirmation.

Shannon earned her MSW from the University of Southern California and spent the 8 years prior to her doctoral training as a clinical social worker with children, families and adolescents. Specifically, she has worked as a clinical social worker within the field of child-adolescent mental health, LGBT adolescent mental health and youth HIV. During her PhD training, Shannon coordinated multiple research projects which included developing research protocols, collecting both quantitative and qualitative data and grant writing. Shannon has developed expertise in qualitative methodology and analysis, family mental health and qualitative dyadic analysis. Shannon used her clinical social work and research experiences within her teaching. During her doctoral education, she taught both MSW and Public Affairs undergraduate courses including human behavior, child and adolescent psychopathology and research methods.

Shannon received funding for her work from the American Psychological Foundation Roy Scrivner Memorial Research Grant and a National Research Service Award (NRSA) F31 predoctoral fellowship from NICHD. Shannon’s funding enabled her to expand her work to explore transgender adolescent-parent stress and support outside the contexts of her dissertation. During her doctoral studies and through her F31, she has collaborated with and been mentored by scholars across multiple institutions including UCLA, USC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Pitt and University of Hawaii. Through these collaborations, she published a manuscript as a lead author in the Journal of Sexuality Education and has collaborated on multiple manuscripts published in AIDS Care, Substance Use and Misuse, Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, and LGBT Health. Shannon plans to apply knowledge gained to: (1) develop larger grants and context specific interventions to support transgender children, adolescents and their families across multiple social domains; and (2) build upon the broader field of child, adolescent and family research and health.

Carol A. Leung, LCSW

Carol A. Leung’s research area is broadly focused on the areas of gun violence and suicide prevention. Her dissertation focuses on whether proximal and distal suicide risk factors are associated with firearm use for suicide by women in different age groups. In this work, Carol evaluates whether there are precipitating circumstances and life events that predispose women to suicide by firearms. This research is of particular importance given the complexity of gun violence in the United States as well as the rising suicide rates among women.

Carol has advanced training in research methods and theory development and is particularly skilled in conducting quantitative research with large data sets, including the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death Reporting System. She has published her research in peer-reviewed journals, including International Social Work and the Journal of Aging & Social Policy. Recently, Carol published a manuscript entitled “Deploying an Ecological Model to Stem the Rising Tide of Firearm Suicide in Older Age.” Carol has taught or assisted in teaching courses for undergraduate and graduate students at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs since 2015. These include classes in health policy, aging and diversity, adult psychopathology, firearm violence, human behavior and the social environment, and research methods. Additionally, she has worked on three grant-funded projects in her area of research and presented at 11 conferences and workshops.

Carol is a licensed clinical social worker. Prior to UCLA, she worked as a psychotherapist at Flushing Hospital Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in New York City serving immigrant and refugee populations. Carol has six other publications in clinical training guides and book chapters on topics related to multicultural skills and mental health interventions. She graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin in Psychology with a Business Administration minor in 2009.

Leung, C.A. (2014). Bye-bye bullies. In M. Cheung, Therapeutic games and guided imagery Volume II: Working with children, adolescents and families with special needs and in multicultural settings (A13). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Cheung, M., & Leung, C.A. (To be published in 2019). Social-cultural and ecological perspective. In R. Ow & A. Poon (Eds.), Mental health and Social Work. New York, NY: Springer.

Rachel Wells

Rachel Wells’ research examines assumptions about poverty that shape social services and the role of community-based organizations (CBOs). Her research focuses on frontline work with community members as a key site situated within a CBO’s mission, funding requirements, and poverty policy. Through an ethnography of CBOs that combine community organizing with service provision, Rachel’s dissertation looks at whether and how CBOs can challenge dominant narratives of poverty through this combination of services and organizing. As ideas of poverty shape different aspects of social welfare, from policy to implementation to community organizing, her research helps to understand critical moments when ideas of poverty change or are maintained and the consequences of these ideas for anti-poverty programs and program implementation.

 

Rachel specializes in qualitative research, specifically at the organizational level. Her prior research on nonprofit organizations has been published in Voluntas: International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations (as first author) and Human Services Organization: Management, Leadership, & Governance and her research as part of a team focusing on youth civic engagement has been published in Children and Youth Services Review. She has also presented her research at multiple conferences, including Society for Social Work Research and Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Organizations.

 

Prior to her doctoral program, Rachel gained practice experience in macro social work, through work as a program manager with a Detroit public health non-profit and volunteering with grassroots community organizations in Detroit. These experiences with case management, human services program design, and grassroots community efforts helped her to identify challenges with service delivery and have influenced her interests in and commitment to both social work research and teaching.

 

Rachel continues to be involved with community organizations through her research and integrates this knowledge of community-based efforts into her teaching. Rachel has taught at the graduate level and undergraduate level, including Social Work policy and research courses. Through a year-long teaching fellowship, she designed and taught her own seminar, titled Aging and Social Justice in Los Angeles, drawing from her background in social policy, urban planning and community organizing. Additionally, she holds an MSW and MUP from the University of Michigan (2009).

Ashleigh Herrera

Ashleigh Herrera’s research focuses on the treatment of co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders in minority populations.

This research endeavor seeks to provide insight into population characteristics related to experiences with trauma and psychiatric conditions in order to guide practice and policy related to the provision of SUD treatment services for patients and the importance of integrated treatment for trauma, PTSD, and other psychiatric conditions.

Her dissertation utilizes secondary data in order to examine the role of lifetime experiences of trauma and psychiatric conditions and distress on residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment outcomes for patients with Medi-Cal in Los Angeles County

Ms. Herrera specializes in quantitative methodology and program evaluation. She has training in

the following software systems: ARC-GIS, SPSS, and NVivo. She has worked as a research assistant for faculty members at UCLA as well as the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, culminating in several publications in peer-reviewed journals, such as Social Work and the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. She has presented her work at both national and international social work conferences, including in Hong Kong and Sweden. Ms. Herrera has taught undergraduate courses at UCLA. These have included classes in aging and human behavior in the social environment.

Additionally, Ms. Herrera has worked in direct clinical practice since 2015. In 2017, she obtained her LCSW. She is currently working as the onsite clinician at a residential SUD treatment facility. In this capacity, she conducts assessments, develops treatment plans, provides individual counseling, facilitates psychoeducational groups, trains AOD counselors, and collaborates with

DMH, SAPC, DCFS, and DOC to address the needs of her patients.

Prior to entering the doctoral program at UCLA, Ms. Herrera graduated at the top of her class from the MSW program at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, where she focused on Macro Practice and obtained a specialization in Trabajo Social (Social Work Practice with Latinos). During her MSW program, she completed internships in Houston, Texas, and Hong Kong. She also served as the President of the Hispanic Student Association. In 2010, she graduated Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in History and minor Sociology from the University of Houston.

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

“Factors Contributing to Depressive Symptoms among Mexican Americans and Latinos”

“The Perceived Role of Family in Heroin Use Behaviors of Mexican-American Men.”

Joanna Barreras

Dr. Joanna L. Barreras’ research focuses on understanding and addressing health and mental health disparities among Latinos. Joanna is particularly interested in the role of Latino cultural factors, such as familism, fatalism, family cultural conflict, acculturation, and acculturative stress, with regard to wellbeing and healthcare service utilization. Through her research, Joanna aims to develop culturally grounded policies and interventions to increase health and mental health service utilization.

Ms. Barreras is well-trained in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. In collaboration with faculty at UCLA, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the RAND Corporation, and Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Research & Evaluation, Ms. Barreras has worked on projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)— including PI and Co-I roles. Joanna has presented her work at interdisciplinary academic conferences, has taught graduate and undergraduate classes at UCLA and California State University Los Angeles, and has publications in high impact journals.

Joanna is currently the Associate Director of Research and Evaluation at Bienestar Human Services, Inc., a community-based organization that focuses on identifying and addressing health issues faced by Latino sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations. Drawing upon 10 years of research experience on Latino health and mental health disparities, five of which include research with the SGM communities and HIV prevention and intervention. Further, Joanna has contributed to several community-based initiatives and professional undertakings that address the needs of disenfranchised and marginalized groups.

Through her research, Joanna aims to develop interventions to improve the well-being of diverse minority communities. Joanna is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach (BA in Psychology) and California State University, Los Angeles (MSW). She was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California and is fluent in Spanish.

Courtney Demko

Courtney Demko’s research focuses on caregiver health and well-being. She is particularly interested in Alzheimer’s caregivers and young adult caregiver burden. Courtney’s dissertation uses national survey data and focuses on the multidimensional factors associated with caregiver burden among young adult caregivers from the millennial population. This research is of particular importance given the increase of the older adult population in the U.S. and will demonstrate to policymakers and program planners the unique needs of an overlooked population.

Courtney has training and experience in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies and has used her research skills on several grant-funded research projects at UCLA. She is a member of the Latino Economic Security (LES) team at UCLA which researches the economic impact of a nation growing older and more diverse. Courtney served as the Project Director for the team’s latest project which included conducting focus groups and surveying older white conservative adults in Orange County, CA looking at their attitudes and beliefs towards immigration and immigration policy. She has published in peer-reviewed journals such as The Journal of the American Society on Aging and book chapters on topics related to aging and diversity.

As part of Courtney’s doctoral training, she has also acquired management and administrative experience as the Assistant Director for the Center for Policy Research on Aging at UCLA’s Department of Social Welfare and Public Policy. Courtney’s expertise includes writing grants for leading foundations.

Courtney also has several years of teaching experience. She has assisted in teaching both master’s and undergraduate courses at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs Department of Social Welfare. These include classes in Social Work Research Methods, Social Work Policy and Diversity and Aging. She’s also served as a Guest Lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Social Welfare including topics on Caregiving and Public Policy. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Courtney acquired training leading support groups and providing one-on-one counseling with homeless women at the Downtown Women’s Center on Skid Row in Los Angeles. She also gained experience providing care consultations and co-facilitating support groups for early-stage Alzheimer’s patients and their family caregivers at the Alzheimer’s Association in Los Angeles.

Courtney earned her B.A. in Political Science from Davidson College (2005), and an M.S.W from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare with a specialization in Gerontology (2013).

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

The Politics of Aging in a Majority-Minority Nation and Later-Life Social Support and Service Provision in Diverse and Vulnerable Populations.

Lia W. Marshall

Lia W. Marshall’s research focuses on older adult well-being. She is particularly interested in understanding prolonged independence and ability to age in place by investigating the interconnections between social isolation, mobility, and the built environment. Lia’s mixed methods dissertation, situated at the nexus of social welfare, gerontology and urban planning, seeks to understand the mobility experiences of socially isolated older adult women. This research is an important step in guiding policymakers to effectively allocate resources to enable aging in place and to enhance the lives of older women.

While Lia has training in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, she is particularly skilled in employing qualitative methodologies. In collaboration with faculty in both UCLA’s Urban Planning and Social Welfare Departments, she has served as a graduate research assistant for several projects, including “Disrupting Aging & Building Livable Communities: Los Angeles”, and with The Los Angeles Community Academic Partnership for Research in Aging (L.A. CAPRA). Lia has presented her work at conferences across academic disciplines, and has taught and guest lectured with both master’s students and undergraduates. Lia’s interests in social welfare, gerontology and urban planning inspired her to develop and teach the course entitled: “Environmentally Sustainable Aging: Diversity, Resilience, and Health” as a teaching fellow at UCLA.

In addition to teaching, Ms. Marshall continues her community engagement work with the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust as a Steering Committee member for Golden Age Park, the first intergenerational park in Los Angeles, and as the Service Learning Coordinator for the UCLA undergraduate gerontology cluster. Lia received a Masters of Social Work from California State University, Los Angeles and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Ryan Dougherty

Ryan J. Dougherty’s research explores how political and social systems shape the ways that mental health services are delivered and experienced. Broadly, he aims to understand how governments can most ethically respond to the inequities experienced by people labeled with a serious mental illness, such as poverty, homelessness, and mass incarceration. To do so, Ryan explores ethical dilemmas that emerge in service delivery, particularly between providers and clients, and how broader political discourses shape decision-making in these scenarios. His dissertation examines how coercion in involuntary outpatient commitment is negotiated between treatment providers, the courts, and clients in relation to delivering psychiatric medications.

Ryan does applied research to impact mental health scholarship, policy, and practice. He specializes in qualitative methods and serves as a lead ethnographer for the UCLA Center for Social Medicine and Humanities, an interdisciplinary research team that works in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. He also serves as a qualitative researcher for the Recovery-Oriented Care Collaborative, a practice-based research network that connects researchers and providers to produce research relevant to pressing issues in services. He is particularly interested in interdisciplinary research and draws from theories in sociology, anthropology, and disability and mad studies. Ryan aims to pursue his interests in the philosophy of science and qualitative methodologies to support social workers in addressing complex social problems.