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Faculty & Staff

Michael LaSala

Director of the Doctorate of Social Work Program (DSW) and Associate 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, Ph.D. (State University of New York at Albany, 1998), is director of the MSW program and associate professor at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. His research interests are the couple and family relationships of gay men and lesbians and his current work examines the role of gay and lesbian family relationships in coping with stigma and also parental influence on gay youth's safe sex behaviors. Dr. LaSala's forthcoming book entitled: Coming out, coming home: Helping families adjust to a gay or lesbian child (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 Dr. LaSala's work can be found in Social Work, Family Process, the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Families in Society and the Journal of Lesbian and Gay Social Services. Dr. LaSala recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship during which he taught family therapy courses at Tallinn University in Estonia and where he also investigated the impacts of stigma on Estonian lesbians and gay men. Dr. LaSala has been keynote speaker at national and international family therapy conferences in Sweden, Estonia, and Italy. Before joining Rutgers University, Dr. LaSala practiced social work for 15 years at the direct practice, supervisory, and administrative levels. He is committed to practice-informed research and therefore continues to practice part-time as a licensed clinical social worker at the Institute for Personal Growth in Highland Park, New Jersey.

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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