Erick Guerrero

Research Interest 
Behavioral Health
Diversity/Cross Cultural
Social Development/Policy
Substance Abuse
Contact Information
University Park
Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Chicago, 2009
MA, Governors State University, 2002
BA, Universidad de las Americas, 1995

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.

Awards and Distinction
Principal Investigator, "Organizational Capacity to Eliminate Outcome Disparities under Healthcare Reform," National Institute of Health (2013-present)
Emerging Scholar of the Year, Association for Community Organization & Social Administration (2013)
Mark Moses Distinguished Fellowship, National Network for Social Work Managers (2012)
USC Invitational Speaker, Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups Conferences (2011)
Best Abstract Award for “Building Culturally Responsive Systems of Care” (Abstract No.: 4IC0041), The University of Hong Kong Student Award - Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development: The Agenda (2010)
Outstanding Social Work Dissertation Award Honorable Mention, Society for Social Work and Research Conference (2010)
LARSON Endowment for Innovative Research and Teaching Award, University of Southern California - School of Social Work - Hamovitch Research Center (2010-11)
Dean's Program,, University of Southern California - School of Social Work (2010-11)
Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Minority Researchers in Health, National Institute of Health – National Institute of Drug Abuse (2007-09)
New Investigator Travel Award ($1,000), Addiction Health Services Research Conference, National Institute of Drug Abuse (2009)
New Investigator Travel Award ($1,200), European Research Network on Cooperatives and Social Enterprises (EURICSE) Conference (2009)
Emerging Scholar Award, Association for Research on Non-Profit Organizations and Volunteering Action (2008)
New Investigator Travel Award ($1,000), Addiction Health Services Research Conference, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2008)
Mediation Analysis Training Scholarship ($1,000), Penn State University and National Institute of Drug Abuse (2008)
Publication Funding ($2,500), Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan (2008)
National Research Service Award, Health Services Research Training program (T32), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at University of Chicago (2007)
Travel Research Award ($500), Harris-Doolittle Fellowship, Santiago, Chile (2006)
More awards
Selected Publications

Guerrero, G.E., Aarons, A.G., & Palinkas, L.A. (in press). Organizational Capacity for Service Integration in Community-Based Addiction Health Services. American Journal of Public Health.

Guerrero G.E., Marsh, J.C., Cao, D., Shin, H., & Andrews, C. (in press). Racial/ethnic and Gender Disparities in Utilization and Outcome of Comprehensive Substance Abuse Treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

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.

Nair, M., & Guerrero, G. E. (2013). Evidence-based macro practice in Social Work. Gregory Publishing, Wheaton, IL.

Guerrero, G.E. (2013). What Does It Take for Social Work to Evolve to Science Status? Discussing Definition, Structure, and Contextual Challenges and Opportunities. Research in Social Work Practice. doi:

Guerrero, G.E.  & Kao, D. (2013). Racial/ethnic minority and low-income hotspots and their geographic proximity to integrated care providers. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 8(34). doi: 10.1186/10.1186/1747-597X-8-34

Guerrero, G.E., He, A., Kim, A., Aarons, G. (2013). Organizational implementation of evidence-based substance abuse treatment in racial and ethnic minority communities. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. doi: 10.1007/s10488-013-0515-3

Guerrero, G.E., Khachikian, T., Kim, T., Kong, Y., Vega, W.A. (2013). Spanish language proficiency among providers and Latino clients’ engagement in substance abuse treatment. Addictive Behaviors, 38(12), 2893-7.

Guerrero, G.E., Marsh, J.C., Khachikian, T., Amaro, H., & Vega, W.A. (2013). Disparities in Latino substance use, service utilization and treatment outcomes: Implications for implementation of culturally-informed and evidence-based interventions under health care reform. Drug and Alcohol Dependence,

Guerrero, G.E., Henwood, B. & Wenzel, S. (in press). Service Integration to Reduce Homelessness in Los Angeles County: Multiple Stakeholders Perspective. Administration in Social Work.

Guerrero, G.E. (2013). Examination of Treatment Episodes Among Women and Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Addiction Treatment. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 13(3).

Cederbaum, A.J., Barman, A. & Guerrero G.E. (2013). Relationship satisfaction and substance use communication in HIV-positive and HIV-negative Mother-Daughter Dyads. Journal of Family Issues.

Guerrero G.E. (2013). Enhancing Access and Retention in Substance Abuse Treatment: The Role of Medicaid Payment Acceptance and Cultural Competence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence,

Guerrero, G.E. & Kim, A. (2013). Organizational Structure, Leadership, and Readiness for Change and the Implementation of Organizational Cultural Competence in Addiction Health Services. Evaluation and Program Planning, 40, 74-81, doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2013.05.002

Heslin, K.C., Guerrero, G.E., & Mitchell, M.N., Afable M. & Dobalian, A. (2013). Explaining differences in Hepatitis C between U.S. veterans and non-veterans in treatment for substance abuse: Results from a regression decomposition. Substance Use and Misuse, 48(10):854-862. doi:10.3109/10826084.2013.808222.

Guerrero, G.E., Marsh, J.C., Duan, L., Oh, C., Perron, B. & Lee, B. (2013). Disparities in completion of substance abuse treatment between and within racial and ethnic groups. Health Services Research, 48, 1450–1467. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12031

Guerrero, G.E. (2012). Latinos and health disparities in substance abuse treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. New York, NY: Addiction Health Services Research.

Marsh, J.C. & Guerrero, G.E. (2012). Gender differences among Latino subsample in a national sample of substance abuse treatment programs. Symposium proceeding, Addiction Health Services Research, New York, N.Y. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43, (3), e8,

Guerrero, G.E. (2012). Managerial challenges and strategies to implementing organizational change in substance abuse treatment for Latinos. Administration in Social Work, Online first.

Guerrero, G.E., Campos, M., Urada, D. & Yang, J.C. (2012). Do cultural and linguistic competence matter in Latinos’ completion of mandated substance abuse treatment? Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 7(1), 34.

Guerrero, G.E. (2012). Workforce diversity in outpatient substance abuse treatment: The role of leaders' characteristics. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Online first.

Guerrero, G.E., Cepeda, A., Duan, L. & Kim, T. (2012). Disparities in completion of substance abuse treatment among Latino subgroups in Los Angeles County, CA. Addictive Behaviors, 37(10), 1162-1166.

Guerrero, G.E., Kao, D. & Perron, B. (2012). Travel distance to outpatient substance use disorder treatment facilities for Spanish speaking clients. International Journal of Drug Policy, Online first.

Guerrero, G.E. (2012). Organizational characteristics fostering adoption of culturally competent practices in outpatient substance abuse treatment in the U.S. Evaluation and Program Planning, 35(1), 9-15.

Guerrero, G.E., Pan, K., Curtis, A. & Lizano, L.E. (2011). Availability of substance abuse treatment in Spanish: A GIS analysis of Latino communities in Los Angeles County, California. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 6, 21.

Guerrero, G.E. & Andrews, C. (2011). Cultural competence in outpatient substance abuse treatment: Measurement and relationship with wait time and retention. Drug and Alcohol Dependance, 119, e13-e22.

Guerrero, G.E. & Cederbaum, A.J. (2010). Adoption and utilization of sexually transmitted infections testing in outpatient substance abuse treatment facilities serving high risk populations in the U.S. International Journal of Drug Policy, 22, 41-48.

Guerrero, G.E. (2010). Managerial capacity and adoption of culturally competent practices in outpatient substance abuse treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 39(4), 329-339.

Perron, B.E., Vaughn, M.G., Howard, M.O., Bohnert, A. & Guerrero, E. (2010). Item response theory analysis of DSM-IV criteria for inhalant use disorders in adolescents. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 71(4), 607-614.

Marsh, J.C., Cao, D., Guerrero, E. & Shin, H. (2009). Need-service matching in substance abuse treatment: Racial/ethnic differences. Evaluation and Program Planning, 32(9), 43-51.

Guerrero, E. (2005). Lack of self-control breeds counterproductive work behaviors in mental health workers. Kellogg Journal of Organizational Behavior (Fall).

Guerrero, E. (2004). Implications of parental supervision in high sensation seeking adolescents from single parent families. Journal of Hispanic American Psychiatry, 4, 6-9.

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