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Faculty & Staff

Michael LaSala

Director of the Doctorate of Social Work Program (DSW) and Professor

Ph.D., SUNY at Albany

Dr. LaSala's research interests include clinical social work, gay and lesbian issues, and marriage and family therapy.


Michael C. LaSala, PhD, LCSW is Professor and Director of the Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) Program at Rutgers University and where he has also served as MSW Director. During his tenure at Rutgers, Professor LaSala has won several awards for innovation in teaching. He has been a practicing family therapist and teacher/trainer for over 35 years, and his research and clinical specialties are the couple and family relationships of gay men and lesbians and the role of family influences on the sexual behaviors of gay and bisexual youth.  Professor LaSala’s book entitled: Coming out, coming home (Columbia University Press) describes the findings and practice implications of a National Institute of Mental Health funded qualitative study of 65 gay and lesbian youth and their families.  Other examples of Professor LaSala’s work can be found in over 30 journal articles and his blog for Psychology Today ( He is also a recipient of the American Family Therapy Academy’s 2017 Distinguished Contribution to Social Justice Award.

Selected Recent Publications: 


LaSala, M. C. (2010). Coming out, coming home: Helping families adjust to a gay or lesbian child. New York: Columbia University Press.  

Journal Articles

Toros, K. & LaSala, M.C. (2016). Estonian child protective workers’ case reflections. Child & Family Social Work. doi:10.1111/cfs.12303.

LaSala, M. C., Siebert, C. F., Fedor, J. P., & Revere, E. J. (2016). The role of family interactions in HIV risk for gay and bisexual male youth: A pilot study. Journal of Family Social Work, 1-19.

LaSala, M. C., Fedor, J. P., Revere, E. J., & Carney, R. (2015). What parents and their gay and bisexual sons say about HIV prevention. Qualitative Health Research. doi:10.1177/1049732315604588.

Bird, J.D.P, , LaSala, M.C., Hidalgo, M.A., Kuhns, L. M. & Garofalo, R. (2016). “I had to go to the streets to get love: Pathways from parental rejection to HIV risk among young gay and bisexual men. Journal of Homosexuality. doi:10.1080/00918369.2016.1179039.

Toros, L. & LaSala, M.C. (2015). Social Work Students’ Reflections on a Solution-Focused Approach to Child Protection Assessment: A Qualitative Study. Social Work Education. doi: 10.1080/02615479.2015.1121222.

Toros, K. & LaSala, M.C. (2015). Estonian child protection workers’ assessment perspectives: The need for competence and confidence. International Social Work. doi: 10.1177/0020872815603788.

Toros, K., LaSala, M. C., & Medar, M.  (2015). Assessment of children in need in a post-Soviet context. Journal of Family Social Work, 18, 267-287.

LaSala, M. C. (2015). Condoms and connections: Parents, gay and bisexual youth and HIV risk. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 14, 451-464.

LaSala, M. C. (2013). Out of the darkness: Three waves of family research and the emergence of family therapy for gay and lesbian people. Clinical Social Work, 42, 267-276.

LaSala, M. C. & Frierson, D. (2012). African American gay youth and their families: Redefining masculinity, coping with racism and homophobia. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Family Studies, 8, 428-445.

LaSala, M. C. & Revere, E. (2011) “It would have been impossible before:” Reflections on current gay life in Estonia. Journal of Homosexuality, 58, 427-439.

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