Lara Gerassi

Credentials: PhD, Washington University in St. Louis; MSW, Washington University in St. Louis; BSW, New York University

Position title: Assistant Professor


Phone: (608) 263-6356

308 School of Social Work

Curriculum Vitae
Lara Gerassi

Lara B. Gerassi’s research focuses on enhancing the health and well-being of people at risk of sex trafficking. To facilitate this, her work aims to:
(1) understand how sex trafficking experiences differ based on the intersection of sex, gender, race, and sexuality among other identities;
(2) improve sex trafficking identification practices among healthcare providers and social workers; and
(3) strengthen the health and community responses to meet sex trafficked people’s needs.

She uses community-engaged approaches to increase the methodological rigor of her studies and translate knowledge into practice. Her first-authored book,  Sex Trafficking & Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Prevention, Advocacy, and Trauma-Informed Practice (2017), is the first comprehensive text to critically analyze the current research and best practices for social workers working with children, adolescents, and adults who are at risk of sex trafficking.

Dr. Gerassi teaches multiple courses including Sex Trafficking and Social Work and Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups. Her research and teaching are informed by her social work practice experience (LCSW), primarily with survivors of violence.

Dr. Gerassi’s publications are available here.