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Laura Cardinal - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Laura Cardinal Laura Cardinal

Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work Field Education | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Ms. Cardinal is an expert in emergency department, perinatal care, oncology, hospice, and mindfulness-based interventions.


Ms. Cardinal, a licensed independent social worker, joined the Virtual Academic Center in 2014, teaching in the field education department and serves as a field liaison for students across the nation.

Her recent professional career has focused on health and medical social work across the lifespan and in multiple medical social work settings, including the emergency department, perinatal care, oncology and hospice. She is also an instructor of various mindfulness-based interventions, such as the use of mindfulness practice during pregnancy and childbirth, parenting and in educational settings. Cardinal’s training and experience extends to the areas of alternative high school education, juvenile justice, national service programming and wilderness-based experiential education. Her other areas of interest include the application of contemplative practice in higher education, social work ethics and professionalism.

Cardinal has been active on several committees, with her most recent appointments as a board members of Our TreeHouse grief support program for children, families, and young adults, a member of the Skagit Valley Hospital Ethics Committee and the Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Care Center Cancer Committee. From 2005 to 2008, she served as a board member of the Community Action Agency’s Opportunity Council, and in 2003 she was chosen as a finalist for the Presidential Management Fellowship.

Cardinal graduated from Western Washington University in 1997 with a degree from Fairhaven College, combining anthropology, environmental studies and experiential education. She received her master of social work degree in 2003 from the University of Georgia’s School of Social Work, with an additional certificate in nonprofit management. She earned a competitive assistantship from the State of Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice, where she completed her concentration internship as well as her master’s thesis on the recidivism rates of juvenile sex offenders in rural Georgia. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the USC Rossier School of Education in the Organizational Change & Leadership program.

Education (3)

University of Georgia: MSW, Social Work 2003

Western Washington University: BA 1997

University of Southern California: EdD, Organizational Change & Leadership

Estimated graduation date May 2021

Areas of Expertise (9)

Educational Psychology


Mindfulness During Pregancy and Childbirth

Hospice Care

Perinatal Care

Social Work


Mindfulness-based Interventions

Juvenile Justice

Industry Expertise (3)

Social Services