ELIZABETH EASTLUND, LCSW, joined Rainbow Services as their Director of Programs in April 2006 and became the Executive Director in October 2015. Her career began with working for Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles. Eastlund worked at the CARE Program & Clinics at St. Mary medical Center in Long Beach, to focus on developing her clinical skills, as the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Coordinator. She is a regular guest lecturer at the USC School of Social Work, attempting to influence the next generation of social workers. Trauma theory and harm reduction philosophy have assisted her in developing supportive housing programs for those who have experienced interpersonal trauma. She has been implementing trauma informed and harm reduction approaches at Rainbow Services since 2007. Examining the intersection of DV and homelessness is critical in her work. Eastlund was selected for the 2014 Trans- Atlantic Exchange Program, through the National Alliance to End Homelessness, to explore the implementation of Psychologically Informed Environments in homeless shelters in London. Eastlund earned her BSW from CSULB, her MSW from UCLA, and became an LCSW in 2008.
JENNIFER PARGA, is a full-time regional field faculty at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, teaching Virtual Field Practicum, field seminar and serving as a point of contact for field liaisons assisting students in Southern California.
Prior to joining USC, Parga diligently supported first-generation college students via service learning opportunities in partnership with San Diego-based high schools, nonprofits and community-based organizations in the most diverse community in San Diego. She avidly worked with donors to create a supplemental scholarship program to bring financial support to program alumni through a $100,000 annual scholarship.
As a community organizer with an emphasis in consensus organizing, Parga was contracted to provide state-wide trainings in Georgia and lead local initiatives with the San Diego Foundation to create sustainable solutions through identifying mutual self-interest and capacity building. During that time, she spent several years on the Coordinating Council of Mid-City Community Advocacy Network during one of the most impactful placed-based funding initiatives implemented in partnership with the California Endowment.
From 2005 to 2015, she served on the board of directors for the National Association of Social Workers and served as San Diego-Region E regional director and California state secretary.
Parga is currently a member of Online Learning Consortium, NASW and Council on Social Work Education, and gives strategic support and consultation to the Trauma Informed Task Force of Greater Los Angeles.
As the founder of Lumos Transforms and creator of The Resilience Toolkit, NKEM NDEFO oversees the development and implementation of programs that reduce stress and build resilience for individuals and organizations throughout the US. She is a skilled practitioner, dynamic speaker, and valued strategist. She is known for her unique ability to connect with people of all types by holding powerful healing spaces, weaving complex concepts into accessible narratives, and creating synergistic and collaborative learning communities that nourish people’s innate capacity for healing, wellness, and connection. Certified as an advanced practice nurse with extensive post-graduate training in complementary health modalities and emotional therapies, Nkem has worked as a clinician, educator, and researcher in settings ranging from large-volume hospitals to small community clinics, and has maintained a holistic health private practice in Los Angeles since 2001. She served on the LA County Trauma- and Resilience-Informed Systems Change Initiative Workgroup.
SUMA MATHAI is a public interest attorney and educator. She received a joint Law/Master of Social Work degree at the University of Southern California (USC), and was awarded an Equal Justice Works post-graduate fellowship to provide advocacy and education for teens. As a public interest attorney, her law practice focused on advocacy for teens and immigrant survivors of domestic violence.
Prior to joining USC as Adjunct Faculty, Mathai was the Associate Director at Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (LACLJ), a non-profit agency that provides free legal services to low-income families. During her tenure at LACLJ, she developed and managed new projects, including a social work case management program and a pro bono volunteer program, and programs serving self-represented litigants at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Mathai has been working with children and families for over 20 years, and continues to work with non-profit agencies to provide resources for survivors of domestic violence.