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

Laura Owen Laura Owen

Adjunct Assistant Professor | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Adjunct Assistant Professor specializing in social work administration, leadership, management, development, fundraising and policy.


LAURA OWEN is an adjunct assistant professor and teaches courses in social welfare policy, leadership and management. She received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver and went on to serve as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Professor Owen is an expert on social work administration, leadership, management, development, and policy. She is a published, boarded researcher with the US Department of Veterans Affairs and has several years of experience in both nonprofit and governmental leadership and management. Professor Owen serves on several state and local nonprofit boards focusing on social justice issues and was awarded a Kentucky Colonel Commission for her work to secure English as a Second Language (ESL) funding for immigrant children in the State's public school system.

A former Peace Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, Ms. Owen has extensive experience with international development work and was recognized at the White House for her national service contributions by President Bill Clinton. A decorated combat veteran, she was a first responder to the September 11th attacks at Ground Zero in New York and later deployed to support the U.S. air invasion of Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).

She is a passionate supporter of military and veterans’ causes and co-founded American Military Muscle, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization designed to provide vocational rehabilitation and mental health services to local combat veterans.

Ms. Owen is in her 9th year teaching with USC.

Education (2)

University of Denver: M.S.W. 1998

Hiram College: B.A. 1993

Areas of Expertise (6)




Social Work Administration



Industry Expertise (6)

Training and Development

Health Care - Services

Health Care - Providers

Health and Wellness


Mental Health Care

Affiliations (2)

  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans Of America

Languages (2)

  • en
  • fr


Media Appearances (2)

How Does Stress Of War Affect Military Families?

KPBS San Diego Public Radio  radio


How are repeated deployments and the psychological impact of war affecting local military families? We speak to a social worker and an expert on PTSD, both from the VA San Diego Healthcare System, about the effects of PTSD and the challenges troops face when they return to civilian society. We also speak to a psychologist about his research on military families.

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War Comes Home: Helping Vets Cope

KPBS San Diego Public Radio  radio


We take a look at specific challenges that war veterans face as they try and find normalcy after leaving Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

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Presentation Style


  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader

Courses (7)

Community Immersion

Community Immersion is a beginning learning experience and introduction to social work that all students in the MSW program engage in, no matter which academic center they attend. The very first community immersion experience at USC dates back to 1911, involving "students of sociology" -- the predecessors to students of the School of Social Work.

SOWK 506 Human Behavior and the Social Environment

The person-in-environment, biopsychosocial perspective is the lens through which theories of personality, family, group, organization, community, and culture and the interaction among these systems are explored.

SOWK 534 Policy and Practice in Social Service Organizations

Study of social work organizations with emphasis on their policy contexts, organizational theory, and the development of delivery systems.

SOWK 535 Social Welfare

Structure and operation of current American social welfare programs.

SOWK 536 Policy and Advocacy in Professional Social Work

This course provides a substantive understanding of the American social welfare policies and programs developed and implemented by all levels of government that seek to limit poverty, provide security, and create opportunity for people, families, and communities. These programs, systems, and policies will be assessed for their adequacy, effectiveness, and fairness. Advocacy efforts—past and present—will be explored and even joined in some of these subject areas.

SOWK 611 Leadership and Management in Social Work

Methods and principles of leadership and management applied to social work practice, understood as policy, management and clinical practice in the non-profit sector, health and human service organizations, and non-traditional social work settings.

SOWK 648 Management and Organizational Development for Social Workers

Methods and principles of management focusing on health and human service organizations, including strategic management, financial analysis, and innovative project development in social work. Students are exposed to management theories, evidence based models, financial approaches, and research articles that focus on the different arenas of macro-practice.

Research Articles & Publications (1)

Differential impact of combat on post-deployment symptoms in female and male veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Military Medicine

Laura Owen

2015 We aimed to describe differences in combat experience for male and female veterans and characterize differential effects on postdeployment physical and mental health symptoms, including aggression.

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