2023 Commencement

Class of 2023 PhD, DSW, MSW and MSN

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Fall 2023 Late Deadline: Full-Time - June 9

Lawrence A. Palinkas

Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health

Dr. Palinkas is an expert in the areas of preventive medicine, cross-cultural medicine and health services research

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Lawrence Palinkas
Phone:  +1 213.740.3990
Rank:  Tenure Track Faculty
Department:  Children, Youth and Families

Lawrence A. Palinkas

Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health

Dr. Palinkas is an expert in the areas of preventive medicine, cross-cultural medicine and health services research

Media Contact


Lawrence Palinkas is the Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health. He also holds secondary appointments as professor in the departments of anthropology and population and public health sciences at USC. A medical anthropologist, he is an expert in the areas of preventive medicine, cross-cultural medicine and health services research. He is particularly interested in behavioral health, global health and health disparities, implementation science, community-based participatory research.
His research has included studies of psychosocial adaptation to extreme environments and disasters; mental health needs of older adults; cultural explanatory models of mental illness and service utilization; HIV and substance-abuse prevention in Mexico; evaluation of academic-community research practice partnerships; and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices for delivery of mental health services to children, adolescents and underserved populations.
His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, National Institutes of Health, the MacArthur Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation. His current research encompasses implementation of child and adolescent mental health services and effects of climate change on vulnerable populations.
Among Palinkas’ scholarly achievements are the Antarctic Service Medal from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Navy in 1989; deputy chief officer of the Life Sciences Standing Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research in 2002; chair of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s External Advisory Council in 2003; co-lead of the Grand Challenge for Social Work; and membership on committees of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology. He is the author of more than 460 publications.
To reference the work of Lawrence Palinkas online, we ask that you directly quote their work where possible and attribute it to "Lawrence Palinkas, a faculty at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work” (LINK: https://dworakpeck.usc.edu)



University of California, San Diego

Ph. D. 1981

University of California, San Diego

M. A. 1975

University of Chicago

B. A. 1974

Area of Expertise

  • Disaster Mental Health Systems
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Child Welfare
  • Cross-Cultural Anthropology
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Health Services Research
  • Global Health
  • Child Mental Health
  • Primary Care

Industry Experience

  • Health and Wellness
  • Research
  • Education/Learning
  • Social Services
  • Mental Health Care

Research Interest

  • Behavioral Health
  • Diversity/Cross Cultural
  • Health
  • Mental Health


  • Member, Board of Directors of the Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare


Visiting Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
Sterling C. Franklin Award, Distinguished USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Faculty
Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Mellon Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Graduate Students, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Articles & Publications

Purposeful Sampling for Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis in Mixed Method Implementation Research | Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

Lawrence A Palinkas, Sarah M Horwitz, Carla A Green, Jennifer P Wisdom, Naihua Duan, Kimberly Hoagwood
2013 Purposeful sampling is widely used in qualitative research for the identification and selection of information-rich cases related to the phenomenon of interest. Although there are several different purposeful sampling strategies, criterion sampling appears to be used most commonly in implementation research. However, combining sampling strategies may be more appropriate to the aims of implementation research and more consistent with recent developments in quantitative methods...


Testing Standard and Modular Designs for Psychotherapy Treating Depression, Anxiety, and Conduct Problems in Youth | Archives of General Psychiatry

John R Weisz, Bruce F Chorpita, Lawrence A Palinkas, Sonja K Schoenwald, Jeanne Miranda, Sarah Kate Bearman, Eric L Daleiden, Ana M Ugueto, Anya Ho, Jacqueline Martin, Jane Gray, Alisha Alleyne, David A Langer, Michael A Southam-Gerow, Robert D Gibbons, Research Network on Youth Mental Health
2012 Decades of randomized controlled trials have produced separate evidence-based treatments for depression, anxiety, and conduct problems in youth, but these treatments are not often used in clinical practice, and they produce mixed results in trials with the comorbid, complex youths seen in practice. An integrative, modular redesign may help.


Mixed Method Designs in Implementation Research | Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

Lawrence A Palinkas, Gregory A Aarons, Sarah Horwitz, Patricia Chamberlain, Michael Hurlburt, John Landsverk
2011 This paper describes the application of mixed method designs in implementation research in 22 mental health services research studies published in peer-reviewed journals over the last 5 years. Our analyses revealed 7 different structural arrangements of qualitative and quantitative methods, 5 different functions of mixed methods, and 3 different ways of linking quantitative and qualitative data together. Complexity of design was associated with number of aims or objectives, study context, and phase of implementation examined. The findings provide suggestions for the use of mixed method designs in implementation research.


Influence of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture on Childhood Obesity: Implications for Prevention and Treatment | Obesity

Sonia Caprio, Stephen R Daniels, Adam Drewnowski, Francine R Kaufman, Lawrence A Palinkas, Arlan L Rosenbloom, Jeffrey B Schwimmer, M Sue Kirkman
2008 Childhood obesity with its associated metabolic complications is emerging as a major global health challenge of the 21st century. Despite efforts by government and public health officials, researchers, health care providers, and the media to bring attention to this growing health problem, the number of overweight and obese youth continues to increase. Approximately 110 million children worldwide are now classified as overweight or obese.


Implementation of Evidence-based Practice in Child Welfare: Service Provider Perspectives | Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

Gregory A Aarons, Lawrence A Palinkas
2007 Implementation of evidence-based practices (EBP) in child welfare is a complex process that is often fraught with unanticipated events, conflicts, and resolutions. To some extent, the nature of the process, problems, and solutions may be dependent on the perspectives and experiences of a given stakeholder group. In order to better understand the implementation process in the child-welfare system, we interviewed comprehensive home-based services (CHBS) case managers who were actively engaged in implementing an EBP to reduce child neglect in a state youth services system. Six primary factors were identified as critical determinants of EBP implementation: (1) Acceptability of the EBP to the caseworker and to the family, (2) Suitability of the EBP to the needs of the family, (3) Caseworker motivations for using the EBP, (4) Experiences with being trained in the EBP, (5) Extent of organizational support for EBP implementation, and (6) Impact of EBP on process and outcome of services. These factors reflect two broader themes of attitudes toward or assessments of the EBP itself and experiences with learning and delivering the EBP. Eventual implementation is viewed as the consequence of perseverance, experience, and flexibility.


Research Focus

Cultural Exchange and the Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices
Commentary: Cultural Adaptation, Collaboration, and Exchange
Causality and Causal Inference in Social Work Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives

Research Grants

Measuring Sustainment in Prevention Programs and Initiatives
National Institute on Drug Abuse $

This project will develop and test a measurement system to assess and support the sustainability of prevention programs funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the major provider of these prevention services to states and communities. It is intended to improve sustainment of prevention infrastructure, activities, and outcomes in communities.

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Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology for Drug Use and HIV (Ce-PIM)
Northwestern University $

Ce-PIM is a national resource in the emerging field of implementation science, specifically in developing and applying implementation methodology to prevent HIV transmission and drug abuse. The methods developed by Ce-PIM improve the implementation of evidence-based interventions into service systems by measuring, modeling, and testing implementation strategies. While we apply these implementation methods to the prevention of HIV transmission and drug abuse, they are of general applicability to the challenges that researchers, policy makers, and practitioners face in scaling up evidence-based interventions in all areas of health and medicine.

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