Shulamith Lala Ashenberg Straussner

Professor of Social Work
(212) 998-5947

Areas of Expertise

Substance abuse, mass violence and trauma, mental health, international social work, occupational social work/employee assistance programs, women's issues, family dynamics, and social work education


Dr. S. Lala Straussner is a professor who teaches in both the practice and HBSE areas and in both the PhD and DSW programs. She also directs the School's Post-Master’s Certificate Program in the Clinical Approaches to the Addictions. For the past four years, she has been teaching global courses on trauma and on substance use problems for NYU Silver School of Social Work students in Italy and in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel. During Spring, 2016 she was a vising professor at NYU Shanghai. Recently, Dr. Straussner has served two terms as Chair of the Practice Area and currently (2016-7) chairs the Executive Committee of SSSW. In the past, Dr. Straussner has been on the faculty at the annual Summer Institute on Addictions Studies, International School for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Dr. Straussner is the founding editor of the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions. In 2013 she was the recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Social Studies to the Czech Republic (the highest level of Fulbright awards), and during the 2006-07 academic year, she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at The Academy of Labour & Social Relations in Kiev, Ukraine, a visiting professor at Warsaw University in Poland, and recipient of the Lady Davis Fellowship to Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Previously, she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Israel (2003) and a visiting professor at Omsk State University, Omsk, Siberia, Russia (2000). Dr. Straussner was honored for work for NYU Faculty/Staff Assistance Program following the tragedy of 9/11/01, and was the 2003 recipient of the Individual Distinction in Addictions Education and Training Award given by the Institute of Professional Development in Addictions, and selected as Social Worker of the Year by the NASW ATOD Section in 2000. Dr. Straussner also received the Award for Lifetime Leadership To The Addictions Community from the New York City Chapter of NASW in 2008, and in 2007 she was inducted as a Distinguished Scholar into The Social Work Academy of The National Academies Of Practice. Dr. Straussner was also nominated as the 2008 Outstanding Teacher from the NYU Silver School of Social Work, and has been twice nominated for the CSWE Significant Lifetime Achievement In Social Work Education Award (2011 and 2012). Since 2011, she has been listed every year in Who's Who in America.

Dr. Straussner is a current member of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Talent Management Committee, and was invited to be a member on the Fulbright Scholar Discipline Peer Review Committee. From 2008-2010 she was an invited reviewer, Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Social Work Peer Review Medical Research Program Panel, US Army Medical Research and Material Command, American Institute of Biological Sciences, and was a consultant/board member on the Expand & Enhance Asian American Substance Abuse Treatment Services (EASTS) Project, Hamilton-Madison House, SAMHSA grant from 2009-2011. She also served on the National Center on Substance Abuse Treatment panel on workforce issues, and was the Northeast regional director for the multi-million dollar federally funded national Project Mainstream, an Interdisciplinary Project to Improve Health Professional Education on Substance Abuse sponsored by AMERSA/HRSA/CSAT. She is a past chair and a founding member of the NASW Section on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs and has chaired the New York City Women's Issues Committee of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association and been a 2nd vice president of the NYC Chapter of NASW. During 2002, she was a keynote speaker for the Betty Ford/Hazelden Women's Healing conferences throughout the US, and during 2006, she chaired the National Association for Children of Alcoholics' (NACoA) Social Work Initiative to develop social work core competencies for working with children of alcohol and drug abusing parents.

Dr. Straussner current research focuses on “wounded healers” or wellness issues of social workers. She serves as a consultant to various agencies, hospitals, and EAPs in the US and abroad and has a private therapeutic and supervisory practice in New York City. She is also the proud mother of three young adult children; her two daughters attended the NYU Silver School of Social Work for their MSW.

Dr. Straussner has 20 books, 28 book chapters, and 40 peer-reviewed journal publications on a variety of topics. They include those listed on the right.