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Lawrence A. Palinkas, Ph.D.

Lawrence A. Palinkas, Ph.D.

Professor, University of Southern California

Contact Information

University of Southern California
School of Social Work


Dr. Palinkas is the Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health and Director of the Behavior, Health and Society Research Cluster in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. He also holds secondary appointments as Professor in the departments of Anthropology and Preventive Medicine at USC. Prior to joining USC’s School of Social Work, he was professor and vice chair of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego. He has also been a visiting professor at the Peking Union Medical College in China, the University of Oulu in Finland, and the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. His areas of expertise include medical and applied anthropology, behavioral health and prevention science, mental health services research, and health and environmental psychology.

Research Interests

  • Child welfare and child mental health 
  • Sociocultural determinants of health, health behavior, and health services utilization 
  • Translational and implementation science 
  • Immigrant and refugee communities 
  • Global health Health and behavior in extreme environments and disasters

Research Focus

His primary areas of expertise are mental health services research and behavioral health and prevention science. Palinkas is particularly interested in the sociocultural and environmental determinants of health and health-related behavior with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion, child welfare and child mental health, translational and implementation science, immigrant and refugee communities, global health and health disparities, and health behavior in extreme environments and disasters. His research has included studies of the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices for delivery of mental health services and prevention programs to children, adolescents and underserved populations; psychosocial adaptation to extreme environments and manmade 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 acculturation and chronic disease risk in immigrant and refugee populations. His current research encompasses mental health services, prevention science, immigrant health and global health.


  • Wu Q., & Palinkas, L.A. (2013). Social capital and psychosocial adjustment of migrant children in China: The role of children’s personal agency. In C.C. Yi (Ed.), The Psychological Well-being of East Asian Youth: From Early Adolescence to Young Adulthood. New York, NY: Springer. 14:281-309.
  • Nedjat-Haiem F.R., Carrion, I.V., Lorenz, K.A., Ell, K. & Palinkas, L.A. (2013). Psychosocial concerns among Latinas with life-limiting advanced cancers. Omega, 67(1-2), 167-174.
  • Sawanyawisuth, K., Palinkas, L.A., Ancoli-Israel, S., Dimsdale, J.E., and Loredo, J.S. (2013). Ethnic differences in the prevalence and predictors of restless legs syndrome between Hispanics of Mexican descent and Non-Hispanic Whites in San Diego County: A population based study. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 9(1), 47-53.
  • Schneiderman J.U., Smith C.A., & Palinkas L.A. (2012). The caregiver as gatekeeper for accessing health care for children in foster care: A qualitative study of kinship and unrelated caregivers. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(10), 2123-2130.
  • Palinkas, L.A., & Soydan, H. (2012). Translation and implementation of evidence based practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Current Projects

R34DA037516 (NIDA) Measuring Sustainment in Prevention Programs and Initiatives