Marvin Southard

Professor of Practice
Contact Information
City Center
Department of Study 
Social Change and Innovation
Research Interest 
Mental Health
Substance Abuse
Latino Community
Veterans Services
DSW, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983
MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 1975
BA, St. John’s College, 1971

MARVIN SOUTHARD is a professor of practice. He serves as CEO of The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at USC and director of the school's Doctor of Social Work program.

A licensed clinical social worker, Southard is a nationally renowned expert in the areas of mental health, homelessness and substance abuse. From 1998 to 2015, he was director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, serving more than 250,000 clients annually in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the nation. During his tenure, he focused on developing community-based partnerships and initiating children’s mental health programs. Before that, he served in a similar capacity as director of mental health in Kern County, overseeing mental health, substance abuse, public conservatorship and mental health-related HIV services. His past appointments also include seven years as vice president of mental health programs and director of clinical services at El Centro Human Services Corporation in Los Angeles.

He served as senior fellow of public policy at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research; as associate clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine’s psychiatry and bio-behavioral sciences department; and as clinical associate professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Southard is past president of the California Social Work Education Center Board of Directors as well as past president of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California. He was also a commissioner on the LA County Children and Families First – First 5 LA Commission. 

Among his many achievements are the 2016 Social Welfare Alumnus of the Year Award from UCLA in recognition of his contributions and dedication to the field of mental health and the 2015 Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect Award for his commitment to protect the most vulnerable children in LA County. He is currently a board member of the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions, a member of the American College of Mental Health Administration and a board member of the Network for Social Work Management.

Awards and Distinction
Joseph A. Nunn Social Welfare Alumnus of the Year Award, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs (2016)
U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award, USC School of Social Work Department of Community, Organization, and Business Innovation (2016)
Robert C. Egnew Excellence in Advocacy Award, National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors (2016)
Exemplary Service Award, Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission's 16th Annual Profiles of Hope Volunteer and Program Recognition Awards (2015)
Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect Award (2015)
Special Award, Southern California Psychiatric Society (2015)
Great Champion for Diversity Award, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (2015)
World Class Leadership Award in Integrated Services, Statewide Integrated Care Conference (2015)
Team Member/Joint Team Science Award, Association for Clinical and Translational Science and American Federation for Medical Research (2014)
Distinguished Alumnus Award, St. John’s Seminary (2012)
Exemplar Award, National Network of Social Work Managers (2008)
More awards