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  • Teen Line

In Loving Memory - Elaine Leader, PhD

Updated: Feb 12

Founder, Teen Line

Dr. Elaine Leader, Founder and Director Emeritus of Teen Line, passed away at the age of ninety-five on April 27, 2023.

Born in Ilford, England, Dr. Leader emigrated with her family to Los Angeles in 1965, subsequently completing an education she had begun with a Diploma in Social Work from the University of London. She earned both BA and MSW degrees from UCLA, and a PhD from the California Institute for Clinical Social Work. Dr. Leader’s theoretical orientation was psychodynamic. Her writings have appeared in such publications as the Clinical Social Work Journal and The Journal of Child and Adolescent Group Therapy, among others

Dr. Leader maintained a private practice well into her ninety-fifth year, specializing in individual, family and group psychotherapy with adults, children, and adolescents - with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ youth. Her interest in adolescent group dynamics led her to Cedars Sinai, where she was the Coordinator of Adolescent Group Psychotherapy Training and a clinical social worker from 1972-1994. It was her observations of teens’ peer-to-peer interactions that led Dr. Leader to collaborate with her colleagues Dr. Terry Lipton and Miguel Ramirez MSW, to create the Center for the Study of Young People at Cedars, from which work they developed Teen Line and its training protocol. Teen Line is a national and international hot line for young people staffed by other teens trained in “active listening” techniques. Since its inception in 1980, thousands of local area young people have received the Teen Line training and answered calls, texts, and emails from their peers; and the peer-to-peer structure has launched other such lines, including CopLINE, a cop-to-cop hot line based in New Jersey created by Teen Line alumna, Stephanie Samuels.

In 2015, Dr. Leader stepped down as Executive Director of Teen Line to assume the Emeritus mantel. During the last six years, she has worked with her successors Michelle Carlson and Cheryl Eskin and the Teen Line Board, to expand the reach of Teen Line’s work through outreach initiatives to LAUSD, LAPD, LA Sherriff’s Dept., and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, with which Teen Line recently acquired by.

To memorialize her contributions to Teen Line and the young people of LA and around the world, Teen Line has established the Dr. Elaine Leader Memorial Fund to which donations are being accepted at

Dr. Leader is survived by her four children: Denise Leader Stoeber, Malcolm Leader-Picone, Brian Leader, and C.N. Gordon, their children and grandchildren. She will be sorely missed by her family, friends, colleagues, and all of those who sought her wise counsel.

Donations received: $28,024.08

Raised 23 donors

Recent Donations

Jill Spivack

April 27, 2023

In Memory of Elaine Leader

Angela Gee

Julie Taren

Nancy Levy

Patrice Ablack

Dylan Brackpool & Patrice Ablack

Carey Simon

Molly England

Linda Meixner

Angela Griffith

Ellen Ruderman, PHD, Lcsw

Ben Pomeratnz

Kenneth Uslan

Michele Saffier

Megan Lipton

Rita Schneir

Michele W. Andelson

Nelson Skip Riddle

Denise Stoeber

Betsy Breen

Denise Leader Stoeber

Brian Leader

Denise Leader Stoeber

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