Mark Abelson is a guest lecturer in the Social Work Department at UCLA (macro practice) and at CSUN (human behavior and macro practice. He is a human relations consultant with more than 18 years in social service planning, administration and training, more than 15 years in human relations education and seven years in public education. The primary focus of his consulting practice is the design, implementation and evaluation of programs on a wide variety of human relations issues, particularly programs/interventions related to sexual orientation and gender identity. As part of his consultant practice, Abelson worked for the Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS) as Training Director. GLASS provided long-term residential treatment, case management, family reunification and emancipation services to self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. There he trained staff in nine residential group homes on best practices for working with LGBTQ youth in foster care.
Prior to his work as a human relations consultant, Mark worked at United Way of Los Angeles addressing the needs of children, people with HIV/AIDS and homeless populations, as a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and as the coordinator of a legal advocacy effort for General Relief recipients in Los Angeles County.
He is the Board Chair of the Los Angeles County LGBT Child Abuse Prevention Council, co-chair of their Los Angeles Police Department Professional Advisory Committee, and the chair of the LAUSD Human Relations, Diversity and Equity Commission. Abelson received his MSW from UCLA (1991). He has been a field instructor for UCLA, and conducted introductory lectures on LGBT practice issues for first year MSW students.
Wendy Ashley, Assistant Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in Fall of 2008. Dr. Ashley received her Psy.D. from Ryokan College and she received her MSW from the University of Southern California. She has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 1998 and has over fourteen years of social work experience in the areas of community mental health and child welfare.
Dr. Ashley has been employed in many settings within the arena of community mental health, including Family Preservation, Mental Health, Adoptions, Foster Care, Wraparound, Residential and Group Homes, and Day Treatment. Most recently, she was a Clinical Director from 2000-2008 for a Foster Family Agency (FFA) providing mental health services to children and families in the foster care system. Dr. Ashley has also worked as an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Southern California and National University, and has served as a field instructor for CSU Northridge, CSU Long Beach, Pepperdine and Alliant (for MSW, MA and Psy.D. programs) for over five years.
In addition to the Practice, Policy, Trauma, DSM-IV-TR, Human Behavior and other courses she teaches as CSUN, Dr. Ashley currently works as a clinical supervisor at Phoenix House, maintains a private practice and provides individual, group and family therapy for Probation group home youth. Dr. Ashley's dissertation proposed a model for addressing the obstacles inherent in clinical work with African American males. Additional research interests include treatment models for working with African American and Transgender clients, creative engagement of involuntary clients, and child welfare.
Eli Bartle, Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 1998. Dr. Bartle received his Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Kansas, Lawrence and his MSW from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Dr. Bartle has practice experience as a caseworker and youth counselor in both Child Protective Services and other Child Welfare agencies in Nebraska and Arizona. His MSW Internship involved establishing a research center to assist students and faculty in conducting and disseminating their research. During his Ph.D. work, Dr. Bartle was part of a team of ethnographers who worked with staff and clients to document the empowerment progress of families who had pre-school-aged children at risk for developmental difficulties.
Prior to being hired at CSUN, Dr. Bartle worked for a year as a researcher at the Family & Children Research Center and Social Work Program University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. Dr. Bartle’s research interests are in the areas of public assistance, workplace policy, child welfare supervision, hate crimes, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender health care issues. He has published several juried articles. Dr. Bartle also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Poverty.
Jodi Constantine Brown, Assistant Professor, Director of Online and Offsite Programs and Associate Chair of the Social Work Department, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2011. Dr. Constantine Brown received her MSW from the University of Illinois-Chicago and her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. She completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in mental health economics at the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School before moving to California in 2001.
In her previous position as Program Director for Team Survivor, a non-profit that provides free exercise for women with cancer, Dr. Constantine Brown developed and implemented the organization’s first program evaluation, expanded the program by six percent annually, and generated over $300,000 in grant funding. Her teaching and research interests include mental health care policy, program evaluation, organizational networks, and access to care.
Luis O. Curiel, CalSWEC Field Consultant and Part-time Lecturer, joined the CSUN faculty in the Spring of 2011. Mr. Curiel oversees the Inter-University Consortium Child Welfare Stipend program. He received his MSW from California State University, Northridge in 2008 making him the first CSUN MSW alumni to join faculty. Mr. Curiel teaches the Child Welfare Services elective courses including Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief in Urban Settings and Spanish Conversation for Clinicians and Community Organizers as well as introductory Child Welfare to undergraduate sociology students.
In addition, Mr. Curiel’s child welfare and community mental health experience includes working as a Children’s Social Worker for the Los Angeles County, Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) where he investigated cases of child abuse and neglect in an emergency response capacity as well as provided Family Maintenance and Reunification services to families with medically fragile/terminally ill children in the Department’s Medical Case Management Services unit. Also, Mr. Curiel has seven years of experience working with the medically fragile/terminally ill child and adolescent population through his work with the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House of Charities non-profit organization.
In addition, he has worked as a Bilingual, In-Home Outreach Counselor providing Family Preservation services to Spanish-speaking families under the supervision of the DCFS. Mr. Curiel’s teaching experience includes working for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) where he developed literacy curriculum for K-3rd grade students and taught professional development, community service/organizing, creative teaching techniques and methods to literacy tutors, LAUSD teachers and community-based literacy tutoring programs. Mr. Curiel currently serves as founding President of CSUN's MSW Alumni Association.
Judy DeBonis, Assistant Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2011. Dr. DeBonis is a licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years of professional experience in clinical practice and research, program development, teaching and training in clinical, academic, and business environments. A Ph.D. Social Work practitioner with practice experience including a wide variety of patient populations in diverse settings, Judy is also a researcher, and educator with a with a proven record of design and implementation of health care models which significantly improve delivery of health care services for individuals and groups with chronic illnesses.
Her special expertise is in incorporating individualized, person-centered, empowerment, and solution-based models of care as the foundation for effective clinical practice, education, and training. She has extensive knowledge and practical application of human behavior, developmental and change theories, diagnostics and psychopathology, and educational and therapeutic approaches for individuals, families, and groups. Judy holds a Ph.D. from the USC of Social Work and an MSW from the State University of New York at Albany. She received a funded dissertation grant from NIMH and has two published journal articles in refereed journals.
James T. Decker, Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in the summer of 2006. He was appointed to the Director of the Institute of Social and Behavioral Science in the summer of 2009. His degrees include a Ph.D. in Organizational Development from the University of Minnesota, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, and MSW degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Decker has been the Director and Graduate Coordinator of three different MSW Programs: Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Massachusetts. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Radford University, Radford, Virginia. Dr. Decker was also Chair of the Department of Social Work, Human Services, and Allied Heath at Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky as well as The Department of Social Work at California State University, Northridge, and Director of the BSW Program at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Dr. Decker has consistently received high teaching evaluations, published twenty-eight juried articles, has one book published, twenty book chapters, monographs, and has presented over 100 juried papers at international and national conferences. He presently serves on three editorial review boards and has served as Principal Investigator for over thirty-one federal and state grants totaling over $10,542,897. Dr. Decker also has experience in organizing and writing self-studies for CSWE in addition to his role as a Site Reviewer for CSWE. Dr. Decker was the Senior International Non-Resident Scholar (2005-2006, 2006-2007) in the Academic Fellowship Program at Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia, assisting in the development of a new Master of Social Work program, and since January, 2007, is the Co-Director and Professor of the Social Work Department at Ilia Chavchavadze State University, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Dr. Decker has over twenty-five years of private practice experience working with families and individuals, and in the areas of substance abuse and domestic violence. He was Executive Director/CEO for seventeen years of a large managed behavioral health organization in California. He is a Jungian Analyst and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of California since 1982.
Zachary Ginder has more than 10 years of experience in the health and human services field. Ginder holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California, with a concentration in Industrial Social Work, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University.
He has two areas of focus within social work: homeless services, in both direct practice and macro settings, and work with program design and professional development within University and NGO arenas. Ginder has created and implemented sustainable youth service and professional development programs from the ground up, published mainstream media articles on healthy living and been a homeless services consultant for well-regarded mainstream media outlets.
He serves as the Director of the Alegria and Zahn programs for The Salvation Army. There, he oversees all aspects of three facilities, housing homeless families with special needs, including those affected by HIV/AIDS. Ginder continues to train others nationally and frequently guest lectures on topics of social justice, homeless services and human development throughout Los Angeles County. At CSUN, Ginder teaches Generalist Social Work Practice, Human Behavior and Social Environment (501) and Human Behavior and the Social Environment (502).
Julie Gould, CalSWEC Project Coordinator and Part-time Lecturer, joined the CSUN faculty in 2008. She received her MSW from University of Southern California in 1993. She teaches the Child Welfare Services elective course for students in their Concentration-year. In addition, she also teaches Foundation year Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice and several sections of the required Field Education course.
Professor Gould has sixteen years of child welfare and community mental health experience, serving in both direct practice and administrative roles. After holding several clinical positions, she has also served as Regional Coordinator, Program Director of the Children’s Bereavement Program, Clinical Supervisor, and Program Director of Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), in several LA County social service agencies.
Additionally, she has worked providing clinical services and supervision in Ventura County. Prior to joining us at California State University, Northridge, her teaching experience has included clinical, policy, and theory-based training for both post-bachelor and post-graduate level employees in an agency setting.
Beth Halaas, Director of Stateside Field Education and Lecturer, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2004. Ms. Halaas received her MSW degree from University of California, Los Angeles and has over twenty years of practice experience in both the private and public sectors. She has worked primarily in the areas of social service management, planning, and administration; case management; training/education; public health; drug/alcohol treatment, and HIV/AIDS in the greater Los Angeles area.
Prior to joining the CSUN MSW faculty, Ms. Halaas was Director of Community Programs for Tarzana Treatment Centers, Director of Client Services for the AIDS Service Center, and Case Management Coordinator for the Office of AIDS Programs & Services, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Ms. Halaas also held a Lecturer position for several years at UCLA.
Jennifer Henningfield, Director of Online & Offsite Field Education and Part-time Lecturer, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2006. She received her MSW from University of California, Los Angeles and has over twenty years of practice experience. She has taught core courses including DSM IV, Family Crisis & Trauma, and Human Behavior in the Social Environment. She also teaches the Social Work in Health Care Settings elective.
Ms. Henningfield serves on multiple committees relevant to field, including the Joint Field Consortium, GSWEC, and events supporting students in securing internships and post graduate employment. She has experience in medical and mental health settings. Professor Henningfield has served as a SCAN team coordinator, clinical consultant and has worked as a Field Liaison at CSUN. Prior to coming to CSUN she was a Field Instructor for CSUN, CSU, Los Angeles and UCLA. She currently serves on the board of directors for Single Mothers Outreach and Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project.
Vanessa Hirsi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked (part-time) as a Field Education Liaison with the Department of Social Work at California State University, Northridge since 2008. She is employed full-time with the County of Los Angeles - Department of Health Services, and has worked as a Clinical Social Worker at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center; with the Office AIDS Program as the Lead Trainer/Coordinator for HIV Counselor Training and Certification; and with the California Children Services as a Senior Clinical Social Worker, working with special needs children and their families. She co-facilitated a Grief and Loss Group with the Regional Center for parents who lost their children. During the past 10 years, Hirsi was instrumental in setting up the Health Care Workforce Development Program (a joint labor/management training program for Health Care Workers), and served as Employee Development Specialist, Health Services/ Manager of Planning and Implementation for the program. The program targeted low-wage workers and placed them in training programs for in-demand health care careers, which helped to fill critical shortages the Department of Health Services. She works with Health Services' Office of Nursing Affairs, providing coordination and leadership for System-wide Allied Health Competency Testing with the Education Compliance Unit (which includes competencies for all non-nursing patient care workers in the Department of Health Services). Hirsi received her MSW from the University of Southern California.
Theresa Knott, Assistant Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2010. Dr. Knott received her MSW and Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Toronto. Dr. Knott has fourteen years of practice experience as a clinician in mental health in Toronto, ON. In her previous position at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, ON, Dr. Knott was a Staff Social Worker on an in-patient trauma unit for women, Clinician in an out-patient child-psychiatry unit, and Mood & Anxiety unit. Dr. Knott has also worked within hospital administration at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Prior to joining the CSUN Department of Social Work, Dr. Knott held an appointment as an assistant professor at York University in Toronto, ON. and also as an instructor at the University of Toronto, and other research intensive universities within Ontario. Dr. Knott’s research interests involve the epidemiological analyses of child maltreatment, child welfare policy & practice; women’s mental health, violence against women, and program evaluation.
Dr. Knott has published peer-reviewed articles in prominent journals, presented invited and peer reviewed papers at local, and national conferences, and disseminated published research reports. Dr. Knott is currently serving as Principal Investigator for a child sexual abuse prevention study, and is acting as a Co-Investigator for a Community University Research Alliance Federal Grant (CURA) valued at over one-million dollars, which aims to identify developmental assets of urban youth.
Allen E. Lipscomb earned his master's degree in social work from the University of Southern California School of Social Work. He is a Certified Registered Addiction Specialist Intern and has worked for the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation; Women, Infant and Children's Agency, and at the UC Santa Barbara Research Department, where he examined the dynamics of intimate relationships. He has worked extensively with children in various settings: schools, community mental health clinics/agencies and juvenile correctional facilities, and has collaborated with community hospitals. His focus has been working with children and adolescents in the juvenile justice system, and he has experience providing individual, group, couples and family psychotherapy. He also has worked within the Los Angeles Unified School District as a school counselor and developed life skills program for Transitional Aged Youth. He has been inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi All-University Honor Society and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
Susan Love, Associate Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2007. Dr. Love received both her Ph.D. in Social Work and MSW degree from the University of Washington, and she has a Master of Arts degree in Marriage, Family and Child (MFT) from John F. Kennedy University. Dr. Love has taught at California State University, Long Beach and University of Southern California. She was also a trainer at University of California, Los Angeles and the IUC Field Education Coordinator at CSU, Long Beach.
Dr. Love has over twenty years of direct mental health practice experience with children, youth and family. She has seven peer-reviewed articles in print and has presented papers at social work conferences. Her passion is understanding how social contexts influence psychological and neurological human development. Currently she is a member of an international research team to improve the parent child relationship - the most decisive context in child development.
Janis Lyons has worked as a lecturer and field liaison in the CSUN Master of Social Work program since 2007. Courses she taught include Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Generalist Social Work Practice, Psychosocial Assessment and Diagnostic Formulation, and Advanced Field Forum Practicum with Urban Families and Aging and Families - An Intergenerational /Multicultural Perspective. She serves as a Student Adviser and guest lectures on issues related to aging in the 21st century. Prior to teaching at CSUN, she worked for over three decades as a medical and psychiatric social worker in both in-patient and outpatient hospital settings in the Los Angeles area. Her expertise includes working with adults and their families coping with addiction, dementia, loss and grief, and palliative and hospice care. She holds multiple social work certifications, including Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology and Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker, and presents at local, state and national conferences. Lyons is a graduate of the University of Southern California, with a Master's degree in Social Work.
Katie Mortimer, Executive Director of Grants, Field Education and Contracts and Part-time Lecturer, joined the CSUN faculty in 2006 where she oversees our Field Department and various stipend programs. She received her MSW from University of Southern California. She teaches the Child Welfare Services elective course for students in their Concentration-year. In addition, she also teaches the required course Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief in Urban Settings, and Advanced Practice courses for Concentration-year students.
Ms. Mortimer has fourteen years of child welfare and community mental health experience, serving in both direct practice and administrative capacities in the field. After holding clinical positions, she was promoted to Clinical Supervisor, Program Director of Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), and Program Director of Outpatient Services.
Prior to joining us at California State University, Northridge, her teaching experience has included clinical, policy, and theory-based training for both post-bachelor and post-graduate level employees in an agency setting. Ms. Mortimer serves on multiple committees relevant to CalSWEC funding, events supporting students, and other general field support events. Currently, those committees include heading the Los Angeles Field Education Joint Symposium Committee and membership in the CalSWEC Job Fair Committee. Each committee involves the seven MSW programs located in Southern California, including UCLA, USC, CSU, Los Angeles, CSU, Long Beach, CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Fullerton, and CSU, Northridge. She also participates in the tri-annual CalSWEC Project Coordination meetings to support program oversight.
Sarah Mountz, Assistant Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2013. Dr. Mountz received her Ph.D. in Philosophy (Social Welfare) from the University of Washington and her MSW from Columbia University.
José Miguel Paez, Full-time Lecturer, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2009. Mr. Paez received his MSW from the University of Southern California in 2001, with an emphasis on families and children. His theoretical and research interests include Postmodern Theory (Critical Race, Neo- Feminism, Marxism, Queer, Self-Efficacy, and Attachment theories,), Trauma and Restorative Justice, Social and Racial Justice, Intersectionality, Liberation and Transformative Based Social Work Practice, Examining social inequality and pursuing change efforts toward equity and peace. He has many years of experience working with children and families. He served as a bilingual outpatient clinician for Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services for 6 years. In 2007, he worked in collaboration with the USC School of Social Work, and USC Civic and Community Relations, and the USC Community Education Academy to create and develop a social work program that serves as a free community resource to residents within the area, and also as field education placement for USC first year social work graduate students. He served as the program director, field instructor, and clinical supervisor. He continues to provide ongoing consultation, mentoring, and psychoeducational trainings to families and professionals. Mr. Paez has a background in theatre, improv, spoken word, and was also a basketball coach at various levels for over 10 years.
Hyun-Sun Park, Assistant Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in the Fall of 2008. Dr. Park received both her Ph.D. in Social Work and MSW degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She is chair of department assessment since Fall 2009. Her area of interest is psychological well-being among immigrant and elderly populations. Dr. Park has published peer-reviewed articles in journals with high impact scores and presented at the most competitive national conferences including the CSWE (Council on Social Work Education), the SSWR (Society for Social Work and Research), and the APA (American Psychological Association).
Jose Ramos, Full-time Lecturer, joined the CSUN faculty in 2007 serving as a Field Liaison and assumed his position as a full-time lecturer in Fall 2008. Mr. Ramos received his MSW from California State University, Long Beach. He has fourteen years of experience in the social work field including: Program Director, Program Instructor, and Program Coordinator. Mr. Ramos also has three years of experience as an Adjunct Professor and one year of Field Liaison experience at CSUN in the MSW Program.