Gregory A. Aarons, Ph.D. 



Contact Information

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


Dr. Aarons is clinical and organizational psychologist, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), a faculty member in the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, Director of the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC) and Co-Director of the Center for Organizational Research on Implementation and Leadership (CORIL). Dr. Aarons' research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focuses on identifying and improving system, organizational, and individual factors that impact successful implementation and sustainment of evidence-based practices and quality of care in health care and public sector practice settings. Dr. Aarons is Principal Investigator of recently completed NIMH funded study of a statewide evidence-based practice implementation in the Oklahoma child welfare system and a CDC funded study that developed a novel implementation approach that uses a collaborative process to support appropriate adaptation of evidence-based practice and system and organizational characteristics during implementation throughout the state of California. Dr. Aarons current grants include an NIMH funded project focusing on how to effectively implement an evidence-based HIV preventive intervention among high-risk women in Mexico, 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.

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 and in South Africa. He is core faculty of the NIMH/NIDA/VA funded Implementation Research Institute, and is faculty of the NIH supported Training Institutes in Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health. His teaching activities focus on organizational, provider, and patient factors that impact effective implementation of evidence-based practice.


  • 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.
  • Aarons, G. A., Hurlburt, M., Willging, C., Fettes, D., Gunderson, L., Chaffin, M., & Palinkas, L. (In press). Collaboration, Negotiation, and Coalescence for Interagency-Collaborative Teams to Scale-up Evidence-Based Practice. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
  • Guerrero, E.G., Aarons, G.A., & Palinkas, L., (2014). Organizational Capacity for Service Integration in Community-Based Addiction Health Services. American Journal of Public Health. 104(4), e40–e47.
  • Aarons, G.A., Glisson, C., Green, P.D., Hoagwood, K., Kelleher, K.J., Landsverk, J.A., & The Research Network on Children’s Mental Health. (2012). The organizational social context of mental health services and clinician attitudes toward evidence-based practice: A United States national study. Implementation Science, 7:56.
  • Aarons, G.A., Cafri, G., Lugo, L., & Sawitzky, A. (2012). Expanding the Domains of Attitudes Towards Evidence-Based Practice: The Evidence Based Practice Attitude Scale-50 (EBPAS-50). Administration and Policy in Mental Health, 39, 331-340.
  • Aarons, G.A., Green, A.E., Palinkas, L.A., Self-Brown, S.R., Whitaker, D.J., Lutzker, J.R., Silovsky, J.F., Hecht, D. B., & Chaffin, M. J. (2012). Dynamic Adaptation Process to Implement an Evidence-Based Child Maltreatment Intervention. Implementation Science, 7:32.
  • Aarons, G.A. & Sommerfeld, D.H., & Willging, C. (2011). The Soft Underbelly of System Change: The Role of Leadership and Organizational Climate in Turnover during Statewide Behavioral Health Reform. Psychological Services, 8(4) 269-281.
  • Aarons, G.A., Hurlburt, M. & Horwitz, S.M. (2011). Advancing a Conceptual Model of Evidence-Based Practice Implementation in Public Service Sectors. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research,38, 4-23.
  • Aarons, G.A. & Sommerfeld, D.H., & Walrath-Greene, C. (2009). Evidence-based practice implementation: The impact of private versus public sector organizations on organizational support, provider attitudes, and adoption of evidence-based practice. Implementation Science, 4:83.