Charles Lea: Graduate College of Social Work - University of Houston
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Charles Lea


Assistant Professor

Room: 312 Social Work Building
Phone: 713-743-5194

Current Curriculum Vitae

Personal Statement

Dr. Lea joined the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work in July 2019 as an Assistant Professor. His research and scholarship investigate the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, class, and gender in educational, correctional, and neighborhood contexts, and the impact these issues have on the health and well-being of young Black men and boys at risk and involved in the juvenile and criminal punishment systems. The overarching aims of this work is to develop knowledge and build theory that informs policies, practices, and interventions that can promote resilience and healthy development among young Black men and boys’, as well as lessen their risk for health-compromising behaviors, arrest, incarceration, and recidivism. 

Dr. Lea’s research is informed by his practice experience with racial/ethnic minority youth and young adults in community, educational and correctional settings; prior research on prisoner reentry, school reform, and workforce and youth development; and training in qualitative methodology and community-based participatory research. Dr. Lea received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, MSW from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.


PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 2017 - Social Welfare

MSW, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2006 - Social Work

BA, University of California, Berkeley, 2004 - Sociology

Courses Taught

  • Confronting Oppression and Injustice
  • Qualitative Research
  • Program Planning and Evaluation

Research Interests

  • Young Black Men and Boys
  • Racial Equity
  • Positive Youth Development
  • Structural, Social, and Cultural Determinants of Health
  • Risk and Resilience
  • Substance Use and HIV Prevention
  • Qualitative Methodology
  • Program Evaluation
  • Youth and Community-Based Participatory Research


Lea, C. H., McCowan*, K., Jones, T. M., & Malorni*, A. (2021). Adult and student perspectives on school-based racial and ethnic equity-informed SEL. Psychology in the Schools, 1-20.

Lea, C. H., Jones, T. M., Malorni*, A., Herrenkohl, T. I., & Beaver, J. K. (2021). Centering racial equity in measures of school climate. Perspectives of racial and ethnic minoritized students. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research. 

Lea, C. H., Crumé*, H. J., & Hill*, D. (2020). “Traditions are not for me”: Curriculum, alternative schools, and formerly incarcerated young Black men’s academic success. Social Sciences9(12), 233.

Boyd, D., Lea, C. H., Quinn, C. (2020). Learning about HIV: Predicting the sources of knowledge that predict HIV testing among a national sample of Black and Latinx adolescents and young adults in the United States. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 31(4), 417-427. doi: 10.1097/JNC.0000000000000159

Herrenkohl, T. I., Jones, T. M., Lea, C. H., & Malorni*, A. (2020). Leading with data: Using an impact-driven research consortium model for the advancement of social emotional learning in schools. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90(2), 283-287. 

Lea, C. H., Malorni*, A., Jones, T.M. (2019). “Everybody is an artist": Arts-based education and formerly incarcerated young Black men’s academic and social-emotional development in an alternative school. American Journal of Community Psychology, 64(3-4): 333-3437.

Winder, T. & Lea, C.H. (2019).  “Blocking” and “filtering”: A commentary on mobile technology, racism, and the sexual networks of young Black MSM (YBMSM). Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 1-6:

Butler-Barnes, S. T., Lea, C. H., Leath, S. & Colin, R. (2018). Voluntary interdistrict choice program: Examining Black girls’ experiences at a predominately White school. The Urban Review, 1-28:

Boyd, D.T., Lea, C.H., & Gilbert, K. (2018). Sexual health conversations: Predicting the odds of HIV testing among Black youth and young adults. Children and Youth Services Review, 90, 134-140. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.05.025

Lea, C.H., Gideonse, T., & Harawa, N. (2018).  An examination of consensual sex in a men’s jail.  International Journal of Prisoner Health, 14(1), pp. 56-62.

Holloway, I. W., Winder, T., Lea, C. H., Tan, D., Boyd, D., & Novak, D. (2017). Technology use and preferences for mobile phone-based HIV prevention and treatment among Black young men who have sex with men. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 5(4): e46. doi:10.2196/mhealth.6436

Lea, C. H. & Abrams, L. S. (2017). "Everybody takes a road": Perspectives on the pathway to delinquency among formerly incarcerated young men of color.  Children and Youth Service Review, 75, pp. 15-22. 

Abrams, L. S. & Lea, C. H. (2016). Becoming employable: An ethnographic study of life skills courses in a men’s jail. The Prison Journal, 96(5), pp. 667-687.