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Greg and Cricket

Gregory A. Aarons, Ph.D.

CASRC Director
Professor, UC San Diego, Department of Psychiatry

Contact Information

UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive (0812)
La Jolla, CA 92093-0812
T: (858) 966-7703 x3550
F: (858) 966-7704


Dr. Aarons is a clinical and organizational psychologist, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego (UCSD), a faculty member in the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, and Director of the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC).  For the past 18 years, Dr. Aarons' research, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIMH and NIDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has focused on implementation science with emphases on measurement, study design, conceptual frameworks, management and organizational issues, quality of care, policy, and evidence-based practice implementation in public sector mental health, HIV, substance abuse treatment, and social services settings. His research has developed implementation conceptual frameworks (e.g., the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment Framework), measures of individual and organizational factors that influence implementation (e.g., Evidence-Based Practice Attitudes Scale, Implementation Climate Scale), and developed and tested implementation strategies (e.g., the Leadership and Organizational Change Intervention). Dr. Aarons' current grants include an NIMH-funded project using an interagency collaborative approach to scaling up evidence-based practice across an entire service system, working across two states and 87 counties to examine the interaction of policy and organizational capacity factors in long-term sustainment of evidence-based practice, developing practical measures of organization leadership and climate, and developing leadership and organizational change strategies to support evidence-based practice implementation. Dr. Aarons’ most current work focuses on improving organizational context and training managers and supervisors to become effective leaders, to create a positive implementation climate, and to successfully lead evidence-based practice implementation in their teams and organizations. Other lines of inquiry involve understanding and improving implementation of evidence-based interventions in low- and middle-income countries. 

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Aarons' current research focuses on identifying and improving leadership and organizational factors that impact quality of mental health, substance abuse, and HIV services and implementation of evidence-based practice in real-world practice settings. Dr. Aarons and colleagues have developed, and are testing, leadership and organizational development strategies to improve implementation and sustainment of evidence-based practices. He and his colleagues have also developed brief and practical measures of implementation leadership, attitudes toward adopting evidence-based practice, implementation climate, and implementation citizenship behaviors.

Clinical and Teaching Focus

Dr. Aarons leads the UCSD Implementation Science Seminar and gives numerous seminars and presentations on theory and practical application of research findings to improve implementation of evidence-based practice. He was an invited speaker at the National Institutes of Health sponsored conferences on dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practice, and has provided training and lectures across the United States.  He has served as an implementation science trainer for the Fogarty International Center/NICHD/PEPFAR PMTCT Alliance focusing on implementation in sub-Saharan Africa.  He is core faculty for the NIMH/NIDA/VA funded Implementation Research Institute, faculty for the NIH supported Training Institutes in Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health, and the annual Kings College London Implementation Science Master Class. He has also provided training and consultation for the Norway Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden). 


  • Aarons, G.A., Ehrhart, M.G., & Farahnak, L.R. (2014). The Implementation Leadership Scale (ILS): Development of a Brief Measure of Unit Level Implementation Leadership. Implementation Science, 9:45.
  • Aarons, G.A. (2004). Mental health provider attitudes toward adoption of evidence-based practice: The Evidence-Based Practice Attitude Scale (EBPAS). Mental Health Services Research, 6(2), 61-74.
  • Aarons, G.A., Ehrhart, M.G., Farahnak, L.R., & Sklar, M. (2014). Aligning Leadership Across Systems and Organizations to Develop a Strategic Climate for Evidence-Based Practice Implementation. Annual Review of Public Health, 35,255-274.
  • Aarons, G.A. & Sommerfeld, D.H. (2012). Leadership, Innovation Climate, and Attitudes toward Evidence-Based Practice during a Statewide Implementation. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 51, 423-431.
  • Hurlburt, M., Aarons, G.A., Fettes, D., Willging, C., Gunderson, L., Palinkas, L., & Chaffin, M. (2014). Interagency Collaborative Teams for Capacity Building to Scale-Up of Evidence-Based Practice: Structure and Process. Children and Youth Services Review, 39, 160-168.

Current Projects

R01MH072961 (NIMH) Mixed-Methods Study of EBP Sustainment in a Statewide Service System

R01DA038466 (NIDA) Testing the Leadership and Organizational Change for Implementation (LOCI) Intervention in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

William T. Grant Foundation 187931 Community Academic Partnership for Translational Use of Research Evidence (CAPTURE) in Policy and Practice

SD County Contract 525951 (County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency) Children’s System of Care Evaluation (SOCE)

SD County Contract 540483 (County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency) In-Home Outreach Teams Services Evaluation (IHOT)-Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)