BiographyDr. 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 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 UC San Diego Implementation Science Seminar and gives numerous seminars and presentations on theory and practical application of research findings to improve implementation of evidence-based practice. His recent teaching includes master classes at Trinity College, Dublin Ireland, and Kings College, London, U.K. 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.