ERICK GUERRERO joined the USC School of Social Work faculty in 2009 as a post-doctoral fellow and was promoted a year later to assistant professor. His published research focuses on health care disparities, organizational implementation and system integration. Particularly, he focuses on the implementation of culturally responsive and evidence-informed health care practices to promote health care equities. His federally funded research examines the role of the public health insurance expansion in addiction health service organizations' capacity to enhance service delivery and improve treatment outcomes among Latinos and African Americans. Guerrero's county-funded grants allow him to also explore current issues in the health care sector, including workforce development, implementation of data-driven decision making systems, and integration of primary care and behavioral health care in California.
Guerrero has taught courses on organizations, management and policy implementation. He currently teaches an applied course on management and finance for human service managers and a doctoral course on organizational and management theories. Guerrero has consulted for national and international nonprofit organizations on diversity and strategic management. A licensed clinical therapist, he has provided bilingual-bicultural (Spanish language) clinical and management services at different psychiatric and addiction health settings for the past 13 years.
Guerrero has completed pre- and post-doctoral fellowships sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He has also received numerous emerging scholar awards from other health and organizational research institutions, such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Association on Research on Non-Profit Organizations and Volunteering Action (ARNOVA), and the Association for Community Organization & Social Administration. He is currently a member of ARNOVA, the Society for Social Work and Research, the Academy of Management, and the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse.
On his path to becoming a social worker, Dr. Erick Guerrero took several detours to study clinical psychology, business administration and economics before working in management for organizations that served ethnic and racial minorities. But in an act of professional convergence, Guerrero found a way to merge his multidisciplinary training and clinical experience into a unique specialty—the study of organizational culture as it relates to the treatment of minority populations. He has since focused his research on the context and organizational structures that influence the effectiveness of client–practitioner relationships.
After initial forays into international relations and business administration, Guerrero studied clinical psychology at the Universidad de las Americas in Mexico City. His interest in the field grew out of past experiences with people in the community who needed “extra support to maximize their potential.” Upon moving to Chicago to continue his education, Guerrero began working at an agency that served a low-income, predominantly Latino community and quickly developed an interest in substance abuse treatment.
During his time in Chicago, Guerrero began devising ways to create a high-quality, self-sustaining model that offered culturally and linguistically appropriate care. While studying economics in an effort to better understand management, he was told that his clinical experience would make him an effective social worker. Awakened to the possibility, he pursued a PhD in social work from the University of Chicago, focusing his dissertation on the adoption of culturally competent practices in the nation’s outpatient substance abuse treatment field, one of the few studies of its kind.
As an assistant professor at USC, Guerrero has continued to focus on the evaluation of organizational competence and mental health treatment services, including a recent project exploring the management of substance abuse providers in Los Angeles. Guerrero’s overall focus is organizational culture and climate—the ways in which therapists and supervisors interact with their environment—and he has repeatedly found that an organization’s success depends on dedicated, proactive management.
Much of his work involves interviewing managers, and Guerrero has been able to provide many of his students with opportunities to conduct meaningful field work. Under his mentorship, students have traveled to service organizations across Southern California and interviewed key administrators, giving them an opportunity to both understand new research methodologies and become acquainted with real-world practice.
Guerrero, G. E., Aarons, A. G., & Palinkas, A. L. (2014). Organizational Capacity for Service Integration in Community-Based Addiction Health Services. American Journal of Public Health 104, e40-e47. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301842.
Guerrero, G. E. & Fenwick, K. (in press). “Organizational Development and Change.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Social Work. Ed. Edward J. Mullen. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Master of Social Work