Faculty and Staff
Siyon Rhee, Ph.D.
Dr. Rhee obtained her Ph.D. and MSW from the UCLA, School of Social Welfare. Her research examines how systems-ecological factors including race/ethnicity, immigration, intergenerational disparities, and multi-cultural practices influence health, mental health, and families in the Asian American community. She teaches courses in the graduate and undergraduate research sequence and supervises master’s thesis and projects. Dr. Rhee is currently serving as the Coordinator of the one-year MSW Advanced Standing Program (ASP).
Sofya Bagdasaryan, Ph.D., MSW
Dr. Bagdasaryan’s research involves social justice—whether that be related to child welfare, immigration, or structural oppression. She teaches courses on the history of social welfare policies, policy analysis, community practice, and research. In addition, she serves as an adviser for students conducting thesis or other research projects.
Jieru Bai, Ph.D., MSW
Dr. Jieru Bai obtained her Ph.D. from Indiana University and MSW from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her major research area is acculturation. She studies any population that experiences cultural change, such as immigrants, refugees, international students, and internationally adopted children. She is especially interested in how acculturation impacts mental health. Dr. Bai is also an expert in program evaluation. She has lots of experience in evaluating social service programs and training nonprofits to increase their capacity for program evaluation. Dr. Bai teaches research, program evaluation, human behavior and social environment, diversity, institutional oppression, and master’s thesis.
Ga-Young. Choi, Ph.D., MSW
Dr. Choi's research examines domestic violence/ intimate partner violence (IPV); secondary traumatic stress of helping professionals working with the survivors of IPV often in organizational contexts; and the well-being of ethnic minorities and immigrants focusing on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She teaches research, family violence, and foundation social work courses.
Joanna Doran, Ph.D., MSW
Dr. Doran is a UC Berkeley alumna, receiving her BA from there in Psychology and Anthropology in 1998, her MSW in 2006, and in 2013 her Ph.D. She comes to us with an extensive background in both teaching and research. Her dissertation research was the first to systematically explore immigrant experience in the Individual Development Account (IDA) program, an asset-building program for the working poor. She is teaching thesis and policy courses.
Maria Y. Hernandez, Ph.D., LCSW
Assistant Professor, Bachelor's Program Director
Dr. Hernandez obtained her Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley, School of Social Welfare and an MSW degree from the University of Southern California. She participated in the USC Provost’s Program for Faculty Diversity in Informatics & Digital Knowledge. Dr. Hernandez has continuously studied mental health disparities and culturally competent treatment for underserved groups. Her current research interests include consumer health informatics, the use of social media to evaluate and disseminate mental health literacy, evaluations of technological tools to enhance patient and provider communication, and analysis of health policies impacting individuals living with serious mental illness.
Anh-Luu Huynh-Hohnbaum, Ph.D.
Dr. Huynh-Hohnbaum’s research focuses on juvenile delinquency, parental incarceration, multiracial families and cross-cultural competency. She teaches in the research sequence as well as supervises master’s thesis and projects.
Seth Kurzban, Ph.D.
Jia-Lin Liu, Ph.D., MSW
Dr. Liu obtained her Ph.D. from New York University in International Education and her MSSW degree from Columbia University School of Social Work. Her research aims to bring further understandings to undocumented and mixed-status Chinese immigrant families – their negotiations, perceptions, marginalities, and experiences of contemporary US immigration and education. Specifically, Dr. Liu centers on understanding how social class origins and cultural practices prior to US arrival shape acculturation and educational outcomes among this population. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Liu worked as a bilingual social worker at the Center for Family Life (CFL), a neighborhood-based family and social services organization in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for many years, where she provided clinical casework counseling groups to Chinese, Latina/o, and other Asian immigrant families. In addition, Dr. Liu also facilitated numerous Chinese immigrant parenting groups in addressing and processing immigration stories and traumas during her time with CFL. At CSULA, Dr. Liu teaches courses on diversity and macro practice: institutional racism to cultural competency, culturally competent social work practice, and community organizing.
James D. Simon, Ph.D., LCSW
Ph.D. in Social Work - University of Southern California
MSW - University of California, Los Angeles
BA in Psychology and German - California State University Northridge
Dr. Simon primarily researches CPS interventions and post-investigation outcomes among families investigated for child maltreatment and referred to home-based, post-investigation services. His other research interests include child welfare recidivism, screened-out / evaluated families, client engagement, differential response, families with complex needs, data-driven decision-making, intersectionality, and matching needs and services to prevent child maltreatment.
Child protective services interventions
Micro social work practice
Data-driven decision making
Mohammad Timazi, Ph.D., MSW
Associate Professor, ASP Director
Dr. Timazi earned his MSW and Ph.D. from Howard University School of Social Work and he completed the W.K. Kellogg Health Scholar fellowship program. His research focuses on studying the psychological functioning and behavioral health of urban and immigrant youth from a risk and resiliency perspective. Dr. Timazi's primary research involves the utilization of the Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to explore the impact of acculturation on the psychological functioning and behavioral health of Muslim youth and emerging adults in the United States. In addition, using a CBPR research approach, his research focuses on the risk and resiliency among African American urban youth and emerging adults. His work experience includes early childhood education, school social work, case management, positive adolescent development, and sports and recreation.
Valentine Villa, Ph.D.
Professor of School of Social Work, Director of Applied Gerontology Institute
Dr. Villa is a professor of social work and director of the Applied Gerontology Institute at Cal State LA. She specializes in minority aging, health disparities, public policy, and aging.
Tasha Willis, EdD, MSW
Dr. Tasha Willis is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at Cal State LA. Prior to this role, she served as a Field Faculty member for our school, in several educational equity positions in K-14, and with human relations organizations focused on disrupting systems of oppression. Her research explores identity, inclusion, and equity for marginalized groups related to campus climate both abroad and at home. She earned a doctorate in higher educational leadership from Cal State Long Beach, her master’s in social service administration at the University of Chicago, and her bachelor’s degree in international studies at Kenyon College.
Dr. Willis teaches courses in our Diversity sequence for both the undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as a thesis at the graduate level. She explores cultural humility and critical consciousness with students as they prepare to confront complex, interlocking forms of social oppression on local, national, and global levels.
Grounded in 15 years working in educational equity programs with diverse K-18 scholars around the U.S., Dr. Willis’ research examines the experiences and outcomes of students of color, social work students, 1st generation college students, and other underrepresented students in education abroad and at a Hispanic Serving Institution. Her current agenda includes issues related to campus climate at Minority Serving Institutions in the US and in Colombia.
Ed.D., Higher Educational Leadership, California State University, Long Beach
A.M., (M.S.W. Equivalency), University of Chicago
B.A., International Studies (Africa: Sociology & Anthropology), Kenyon College
Evaon Wong Kim, MSW, MPH, Ph.D.
Evaon Wong-Kim, MSW, MPH, Ph.D. in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley
Dr. Wong-Kim is a professor at the School of Social Work at Cal State LA. She is a well-recognized advocate and researcher for minority and low-income breast cancer patients, especially the Asian immigrant population. Her research interest is on cancer survivorship and quality of life issues confronting Chinese immigrant breast cancer patients. She published and presented numerous papers at national and international conferences relating to breast cancer and psychosocial issues. Dr. Wong-Kim also conducted training in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Guam, and Hawaii on providing effective social work intervention to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Wong-Kim is the President (volunteer) of the Asian Alliance for Health, a non-profit health education organization in San Francisco. Immediate Past President (volunteer) of the Asian Pacific Islander Social Work Educators Council. She is appointed as an Assessment Panel Member of the Social Workers Registration Board in Hong Kong. Dr. Wong-Kim is one of the founding board members of the Intercultural Cancer Council, a national advocacy organization for improving the cancer mortality rate of underserved populations. Dr. Wong-Kim was the President of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate. She was the first Chair of the Asian and Pacific Islander National Advisory Council for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Dr. Wong-Kim was a member of the Minority Women’s Health Panel of Experts
Joanne Altschuler, Ph.D., LCSW
Adult children and aging parents; clinical social work practice with individuals, couples, families, and groups; economic, social, and political concerns; employment and older adults; gender issues and aging; grief and loss; HIV/AIDS and older adults; older women's issues: sexuality, caring responsibilities.
E. Frederick Anderson, Ph.D., LCSW
Emeritus Professor, Founding Director, School of Social Work and MSW Program
Administration/analysis of complex organizations; African American father issues; aging; child welfare; developmental disabilities, forensic mental health; social policy and critique of policy/practice.
Shirley Better, DSW
Analysis of social welfare policy; community organization; institutional racism; social work in minority communities; women's issues.
Philip Carter, MSW
Neil A. Cohen, Ph.D.
After I retired in 2002 and FERPED through 2005, I have been working as an Expert Witness in the field of child welfare. I've been involved in seven law suits since 2004 involving three county child welfare agencies and plaintiffs for whom I've served as an expert witness.
Connie Saltz Corley, Ph.D., LCSW
Aging, caregivers, interdisciplinary teams, mind-body-spirit wellness
Alfredo Gonzalez, DSW
Dale Weaver, Ph.D.
Roger Delgado, Ph.D., LCSW
Dr. Delgado specializes in gerontology, medical social work consultant, multicultural social work practice, psychotherapy with older adults, and social work practice with groups.
Colleen Friend, Ph.D.
Former Interim Director, School of Social Work, Professor, Child Abuse and Family Violence Institute
Colleen Friend, Ph.D., LCSW, is a Full Professor and former Interim Director of the School of Social Work at Cal State LA. Before that, she was the Director of the Child Abuse and Family Violence Institute. Her experience is in child welfare, intimate partner violence, peer aggression, multidisciplinary teams, and child sexual abuse interviewing. She has directed two multidisciplinary child sexual abuse assessment centers in the Los Angeles area: The Los Angeles County Child Sexual Abuse Crisis Center and Stuart House. Dr. Friend serves on the board of the California Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (CAPSAC), which is a state chapter of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC). She received the Outstanding Professional Award from APSAC in 2017. She chairs the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. Dr. Friend earned both of her Social Work degrees at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Pauline Agbayani, Ph.D.