Elise Johnson

Elise Johnson

College of Health, Human Services and Nursing

Department of Social Work



Elise Johnson is an LCSW, LPS who has been a social worker in her hometown of Los Angeles for 30 years.  She received her B.A in Child Development, minoring in Psychology, from California State University, Northridge, a post-baccalaureate Certificate in Child Maltreatment and Family Violence from California State University, Los Angeles and her M.S.W. from California State University, Long Beach.  She began her career in child welfare working for L.A. County Department of Children’s Services in the Emergency Response unit.

She then spent eight years working with families experiencing homelessness, first as a social worker, then as a program director developing shelter plus care models. Once she obtained her license she worked in community mental health developing expertise in mental health systems of care and crisis-based trauma therapy.          

            For over twenty years she has worked as a clinical social worker at Long Beach Medical Center/Miller Children’s Hospital. In her role in the Emergency Department she provides crisis mental health care, psychiatric assessments, trauma support interventions, and end of life support along with a myriad of other psychosocial interventions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented strain on health care consumers and providers alike. Still, despite these extraordinary challenges, Ms. Johnson has been grateful to be of service to COVID-19+ patients, families and fellow front line responders.

            Ms. Johnson has been an invited speaker at meetings and trainings on a variety of subjects such as clinical social work in emergency medicine, social determinants of health, social work and technology and the history of social welfare in Los Angeles.

While not a researcher, per se, she was a contributing advisor on the 2017 NASW Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice. She is currently a co-lead author in a national study that is studying front line Emergency Department and ICU clinical social workers working with COVID-19 patients and their families.          

Ms. Johnson serves on the Executive Committee of the California Social Welfare Archives. As an amatetur social welfare historian and Chair of the Collections Committee, she loves spending her spare time combing through the archives. In her lectures, she aims to highlight BIPOC and other under-represented social workers whose contribution to our profession may have been overlooked or forgotten. .

            Ms. Johnson teaches at two MSW programs in Los Angeles. At UCLA she has authored two advanced clinical practice courses; “Clinical Social Work in Health Care” and “Social Work in the Digital Age”. At CSUDH since 2014, she teaches MSW 500 (Human Behavior in the Social Environment I) and MSW 501 (HBSE II), MSW 520 (General Practice) 550 (Advanced Practice in Communities), 592 (DSM-5-TR based diagnosis) and 574 (Seminar in Health Care.)

Her students can attest that Ms. Johnson’s teaching philosophy is centered around the development of strengths-based practice competencies, a critically framed understanding of the history of social welfare in Los Angeles as well as a fondness for 70’s funk music.  In the practice community Ms. Johnson and her students will sometimes re-connect and then they do, they immediately begin singing, “Tell me something good”! (If you know, you know.)