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Marleen Wong - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Marleen Wong Marleen Wong

David Lawrence Stein/Violet Goldberg Sachs Professor of Mental Health Senior Vice Dean (Retiring) of Field Education Clinical Professor of Social Work | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Clinical Professor focused on children, youth, and families and specializing in behavioral health, mental health, and military social work.




Marleen Wong Publication Marleen Wong Publication




Dr. Marleen Wong 2013 CSWA Awards Reception for Marleen Wong, Ruth Slaughter, Jim Kelly 2013 CSWA Keynote: Dr. Marleen Wong “Invisible Wounds: Columbine to Sandy Hook” Marleen Wong.m4v



MARLEEN WONG, senior vice dean and clinical professor, serves as director of field education, overseeing the field placements of all Master of Social Work students studying at five academic centers, including the Virtual Academic Center with students based all over the United States.

In addition to her work in field education, Wong is an internationally recognized mental health expert. Called one of the "pre-eminent experts in school crisis and recovery" by the White House and the "architect of school-safety programs" by the Wall Street Journal, Wong has developed mental health recovery programs, crisis and disaster training for school districts and law enforcement in the United States, Canada, Israel and Asia.

Formerly director of mental health services, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and director of school crisis and intervention at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress at the UCLA David Geffen Medical Center, Wong is one of the original developers of the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools, an evidence-based program using skill-based group intervention to relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and general anxiety among children traumatized by violence, bullying and trauma. She is also one of the developers of Psychological First Aid/Listen, Protect, Connect (PFA/LPC) – a school-based universal prevention intervention for educators and school staffs (non-mental health professionals) to use in supporting students after crises or disasters – that is now being implemented across the United States.

Education (3)

The Sanville Institute: Ph.D. 2005

University of Southern California: M.S.W. 1971

California State University, Fresno: B.A. 1969

Areas of Expertise (9)

Crisis Intervention

Crisis and Disaster

Military Social Work

Behavioral Health

Social Work

Social Work Education

Children & Families


Suicide Prevention

Industry Expertise (8)

Mental Health Care

Public Policy


Health Care - Providers

Health and Wellness

Health Care - Services

Training and Development


Accomplishments (4)

Los Angeles School Safety Blue Ribbon Panel (professional)

Marleen Wong was appointed by City Attorney Mike Feuer to the Los Angeles School Safety Blue Ribbon Panel. The panel was formed by Mr. Feuer in response to incidents of gun-related violence across schools locally and nationally. The panel will gather input from students, parents, teachers, administrators and experts to develop a comprehensive approach that will improve safety on school campuses.

Principal Investigator (professional)

USC Trauma Treatment and Services Adaptation Center for Resilience, Hope and Wellness in Schools, of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network/SAMHSA, with RAND Health, UCLA Health Services Research Center, and LAUSD Mental Health Service (2012-2016)

George D. Nickel Award for Outstanding Professional Services by a Social Worker (professional)

California Social Welfare Archives, USC School of Social Work

Co-Principal Investigator, Department of Defense Grant (professional)

"Building Capacity to Create Highly Supportive Military-Connected School Districts: The Integration of Local School Data, Community Supports, Evidence-based Programs, and Empowerment Strategies"

Affiliations (2)

  • National Advisory Council on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Member
  • Fellow, American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare


Media Appearances (2)

What are our social and psychological responses to environmental disasters?

USC News  


Wong is internationally recognized for her work in disaster recovery, trauma and mental health, and was a major contributor to the working paper on environmental change chosen by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare to be one of the 12 Grand Challenge initiatives for social work. She feels the three-tier model allows the profession to look at the social response to environmental change on a much larger scope and scale. (...)

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Compton Unified sued for allegedly failing to address trauma-affected students

LA Times  


Decades of research have found that children who have suffered serious trauma are far more likely to repeat a grade, be suspended from school and have severe attendance and behavioral problems, according to Marleen Wong, an associate dean and clinical professor at the USC School of Social Work. (...)

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Conferences and Events (1)

Keynote: "People, Place and Purpose: The Role of Case-Based Law and Trauma Informed Schools"

School of Social Work Annual Conference  College of Human Sciences & Education 221 Peabody Hall Baton Rouge, LA 70803


Research Articles & Publications (5)

Preventing Secondary Traumatic Stress in Educators

Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America

Stephen Hydon, Marleen Wong, Audra K. Langley, Bradley D. Stein, and Sheryl H. Kataoka

2015 Teachers can be vulnerable to secondary traumatic stress (STS) because of their supportive role with students and potential exposure to students' experiences with traumas, violence, disasters, or crises. STS symptoms, similar to those found in posttraumatic stress disorder, include nightmares, avoidance, agitation, and withdrawal, and can result from secondary exposure to hearing about students' traumas. This article describes how STS presents, how teachers can be at risk, and how STS can manifest in schools. A US Department of Education training program is presented, and thoughts on future directions are discussed.

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A Web-Based Platform to Support an Evidence-Based Mental Health Intervention: Lessons From the CBITS Web Site

Psychiatric Services

Pamela Vona, M.A. Pete Wilmoth, M.S.W., M.P.A. Lisa H. Jaycox, Ph.D. Janey S. McMillen, Ph.D. Sheryl H. Kataoka, M.D., M.S.H.S. Marleen Wong, Ph.D. Melissa E. DeRosier, Ph.D. Audra K. Langley, Ph.D. Joshua Kaufman, L.C.S.W. Lingqi Tang, Ph.D. Bradley D. Stein, M.D., Ph.D.

2014 To explore the role of Web-based platforms in behavioral health, the study examined usage of a Web site for supporting training and implementation of an evidence-based intervention.

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School Intervention Related to School and Community Violence

Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America

Lisa H. Jaycox, Bradley D.Stein, MarleenWong

2014 Schools are well positioned to facilitate recovery for students exposed to community or school violence or other traumatic life events affecting populations of youth. This article describes how schools can circumvent several key barriers to mental health service provision, outcomes that school interventions target, and the role of the family in school-based services. It includes a description of the history of schools in facilitating recovery for students exposed to traumatic events, particularly related to crisis intervention, and the current status of early intervention and strategies for long-term recovery in the school setting. Challenges and future directions are also discussed.

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A Response to Anastas and Coffey

Research on Social Work Practice

Dexter R. Voisin, Marleen Wong, and Gina Miranda Samuels

2013 Relationships are central to the profession of social work; relationships with allied disciplines, among professional social work organizations, and between classroom and field education. However, embedded within these relationships are historical tensions, and contemporary opportunities that can advance both the science of social work and the status of the profession. This article mainly highlights opportunities for advancing professional relationships between Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and National Association of Social Work (NASW) and provides exemplars for strengthening relationships between the classroom, field education, and practicing social work professionals. We argue that deepening the connections between CSWE and NASW as well as the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) require parallel efforts to link research, evidence-based practices, and the training and education of future social workers.

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Listen protect connect for traumatized schoolchildren: a pilot study of psychological first aid

BMC Psychology

Marizen Ramirez, Karisa Harland, Maisha Frederick, Rhoda Shepherd, Marleen Wong, and Joseph E Cavanaugh

2013 Listen Protect Connect (LPC), a school-based program of Psychological First Aid delivered by non-mental health professionals, is intended to support trauma-exposed children. Our objective was to implement LPC in a school setting and assess the effectiveness of LPC on improving psychosocial outcomes associated with trauma.

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