Eric Rice

Associate Professor
Contact Information
City Center
Research Interest 
Children & Families
PhD, Stanford University, 2002
MA, Stanford University, 1996
BA, University of Chicago, 1995

ERIC RICE is an associate professor and the founding co-director of the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, a joint venture of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Rice received a BA from the University of Chicago, and an MA and PhD in Sociology from Stanford University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the USC faculty in 2009. In 2012 he received the John B. Reid Early Career Award through the Society for Prevention Research.

He specializes in social network science and theory, as well as community-based research. His primary focus is on youth experiencing homelessness and how issues of social network influence may affect risk-taking behaviors and resilience. For several years he has been working with colleague Milind Tambe to merge social work science and AI, seeking novel solutions to major social problems such as homelessness and HIV.

Rice is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in such publications as the American Journal of Public Health, AIDS and Behavior, the Journal of Adolescent Health, Pediatrics, Child Development, and the Journal of the Society for Social Work Research. He is the recipient of grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the California HIV/AIDS Research Program, the Army Research Office and other agencies.

Since 2002 he has worked closely with homeless youth providers in Los Angeles and many other communities across the country to develop novel solutions to end youth homelessness and to support young people who experience homelessness. He is the creator of the TAY Triage Tool—to identify high-risk homeless youth for prioritizing them for supportive housing—which was incorporated into Orgcode’s Next Step Tool for homeless youth. Along with Robin Petering, Rice is the co-chair of the West Coast Convening, a policy and practice working group of homeless youth providers, advocates, researchers and funders. With Megan Blondin, he created the Coordinated Entry Learning Collaborative, a national project involving nine communities working to vet best practices for the creation and implementation of coordinated housing referral systems. Rice’s primary collaborators in Los Angeles are the LGBT Center, My Friend’s Place and Safe Place for Youth.

When Dr. Eric Rice used to say he was studying social networks, he didn’t mean MySpace or Facebook. Today, he does. Online social media now occupies center stage in his forward-thinking research on HIV prevention and homeless youth, part of his overall effort to understand risk-taking behavior through an analysis of personal relationships. His results have challenged conventional wisdom and point to a future in which the Internet can be a primary tool in treating vulnerable populations.

Social network theory underwent a renaissance of sorts while Rice was studying sociology at Stanford University, and he pursued the field with enthusiasm, viewing it as a new way of thinking about old problems. When he started postdoctoral research at UCLA on victims of HIV/AIDS, many of whom were homeless, he realized that his abstract training in social network theory suddenly afforded him a valuable and unique perspective. By mapping out individual connections, he could theoretically explain certain propensities toward risk-taking behaviors. Around this time, Rice started volunteering with homeless youth in an effort to get to know the population better and immediately grew attached, developing a profound sense that with the right interventions, he could make positive differences in their lives.

Rice’s work with homeless youth seemed to contradict the conventional wisdom that they only interact with people from equally troubled backgrounds. He found that they maintained connections with old friends and family—positive influences in their lives to whom they turned in times of need. When they told Rice how they maintained contact, through social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook, he had his epiphany.

Since joining in 2009, Rice has sought innovative approaches to intervention and prevention research in homeless youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS. In collaboration with several local drop-in centers for homeless youth, he has been able to recruit participants and study their social networks, which he believes can be incubators of behavioral change. His goal is to create programs to train key individuals to spread positive messages that could theoretically spread throughout the entire network. Rice is also developing policy and programming recommendations to address the needs of these vulnerable populations.

Rice has taught courses on research methods and multivariable statistical modeling and considers himself an avid mentor, a role he describes as the best part of his job. He also leads a social network analysis lab group that meets biweekly and allows attendees to contribute to his work in the field.

Awards and Distinction
Sterling C. Franklin Award for Distinguished Faculty, USC School of Social Work (2013)
ECPN John B. Reid Early Career Award, Society for Prevention Research (2012)
Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Research, National Institutes of Health (2004-06)
The Barbara and Sanford Dornbusch Award in Social Psychology, Outstanding Graduate Student in Social Psychology, Stanford University (2001)
William H. Metzler Fellowship in Sociology, Stanford University (1997-98)
Phi Beta Kappa inductee, University of Chicago (1995)
More awards
Selected Publications

Rice, E. & Karnik, N.S. (2012). Network Science and Social Media. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(6), 563-565.

Holloway, I.W., Traube, D.E., Rice, E., Schrager, S.M., Palinkas, L.A., Richardson, J. & Kipke, M. (2012). Cigarette smoking among young men who have sex with men: Exploring the roles of environmental and individual factors. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22(2), 199-205.

Dyer, T.P., Stein, J.A., Rice, E. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2012). Predicting Depression in Mothers With and Without HIV: The Role of Social Support and Family Dynamics. AIDS and Behavior, Online First.

Rice, E., Tulbert, E., Cederbaum, J., Adhikari, A.B. & Milburn, N.G. (2012). Mobilizing homeless youth for HIV prevention: a social network analysis of the acceptability of a face-to-face and online social networking intervention.Health Education Research, 27(2), 226-236.

Rice, E., Fulginiti, A., Winetrobe, H., Montoya, J., Plant, A. & Kordic, T. (2012). Sexuality and homelessness in Los Angeles Public Schools. American Journal of Public Health, 102(2), 200-201.

Rice, E., Barman-Adhikari, A., Milburn, N.G. & Monro, W. (2012). Position-specific HIV risk in a large network of homeless youth. American Journal of Public Health, 102(1), 141-147.

Rice, E., Lee, A.W. & Taitt, S. (2012). Cell phone use among homeless youth: Potential for new health interventions and research. Journal of Urban Health, 88(6), 1175-1182.

Milburn, N.G., Iribarren, J., Rice, E., Lightfoot, M. & Solorio, R. (2012). A Family Intervention to Reduce Sexual Risk Behavior, Substance Use, and Delinquency Among Newly Homeless Youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(4), 358-364.

Rice, E., Kurzban, S. & Ray, D. (2011). Homeless but connected: The role of heterogeneous social network ties and social networking technology in the mental health outcomes of street-living youth. Community Mental Health Journal, Online First.

Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Rice, E., Comulada, W.S., Best, K., Elia, C., Peters, K., Li, L., Green, S. & Valladares, E. (2011). Intervention Outcomes Among HIV-Affected Families Over 18 Months. AIDS and Behavior, Online First.

Palinkas, L.A., Holloway, I.W., Rice, E., Fuentes, D., Wu, Q. & Chamberlain, P. (2011). Social networks and implementation of evidence-based practices in public youth-serving systems: A mixed methods study. Implementation Science, 6, 113.

Barman-Adhikari, A. & Rice, E. (2011). Sexual health information seeking online among runaway and homeless youth. Journal of the Society for Social Work Research, 2(2), 88-103.

Rice, E., Milburn, N.G. & Monro, W. (2011). Social networking technology, social network composition, and reductions in substance use among homeless adolescents. Prevention Science, 12(1), 80-88.

Young, S.D. & Rice, E. (2011). Online social networking technologies, HIV knowledge, and sexual risk and testing behaviors among homeless youth.AIDS and Behavior, 15(2), 253-260.

Rice, E., Green, S., Santos, K., Lester, P. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2010). A Lifetime of Low-Risk Behaviors Among HIV-Positive Latinas in Los Angeles.Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 12(6), 875-881.

Rice, E. (2010). The Positive Role of Social Networks and Social Networking Technology in the Condom Using Behaviors of Homeless Youth. Public Health Reports, 125(4), 588-95.

Sanchez, M., Rice, E., Stein, J.A., Milburn, N.G. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2010). Acculturation, Coping Styles, and Health Risk Behaviors Among HIV Positive Latinas. AIDS and Behavior, 14(2), 401-9.

Lester, P., Stein, J.A., Bursch, B., Rice, E., Green, S., Penniman, T. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2010). Family-based processes associated with adolescent distress, substance use and risky sexual behavior in families affected by maternal HIV. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39(3), 328-40.

Milburn, N.G., Batterham, P., Ayala, G., Rice, E., Solorio, R., Desmond, K., Lord, L., Iribarren, J. & Rotheram-Borum, M.J. (2010). Discrimination and mental health problems among homeless minority young people. Public Health Reports, 125(1), 61-7.

Glover, D.A., Garcia-Aracena, E.F., Lester, P., Rice, E. & Rotherm-Borus, M.J. (2010). Stress biomarkers as outcomes for HIV+ prevention: participation, feasibility and findings among HIV+ Latina and African American mothers. AIDS Behavior, 14(2), 339-50.

Rice, E. & Grusky, O. (2010). Evaluation of the mentor-mentee relationship: A case study. In Sana Loue (Eds.) Mentoring Health Science Professionals. New York: Springer Publishing.

Rice, E., Comulada, S., Green, S., Arnold, E.M. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2009). Differential Disclosure Across Social Network Ties Among Women Living with HIV. AIDS and Behavior, 13(6), 1253-1261.

Rice, E., Lester, P., Flook, L., Green, S., Valladares, E.S. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2009). Lessons learned from “integrating” intensive family-based interventions into medical care settings for mothers living with HIV/AIDS and their adolescent children. AIDS and Behavior, 13(5), 1005-11.

Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Flannery, D., Rice, E. & Adamson, D. (2009). Common Factors in Effective HIV Prevention Programs. AIDS and Behavior, 13(3), 399-408.

Lester, P.E., Weiss, R.E., Rice, E., Comulada, W.S., Lord, L., Alber, S. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2009). The longitudinal impact of HIV+ parents' drug use on their adolescent children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79(1), 51-9.

Milburn, N.G., Rice, E., Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Mallett, S., Rosenthal, D., Batterham, P., May, S., Witkin, A. & Duan, N. (2009). Adolescents Exiting Homelessness Over Two Years: The Risk Amplification and Abatement Model. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 19(4), 762-785.

Rice, E., Stein, J.A. & Milburn, N. (2008). Countervailing social network influences on problem behaviors among homeless youth. Journal of Adolescence, 39(5), 625-39.

Mayfield Arnold, E., Rice, E., Flannery, D. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2008). HIV disclosure among adults living with HIV. AIDS Care, 20(1), 80-92.

Lester, P., Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Elia, C., Elkavich, A. & Rice, E. (2008). TALK: Teens and Adults Learning to Communicate. In Craig W. LeCroy (Eds.) Handbook of evidence-based treatment manuals for children and adolescents. (pp. 170-185). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Milburn, N.G., Stein, J.A., Rice, E., Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Mallett, S. & Rosenthal, D. (2007). AIDS risk behaviors among American and Australian homeless young people. Journal of Social Issues, 63(3), 543-565.

Milburn, N.G., Rosenthal, D., Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Mallett, S., Batterham, P., Rice, E. & Solorio, R. (2007). Newly homeless youth typically return home. Journal of Adolescent Health, 40(6), 574-6.

Rosenthal, D., Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Batterham, P., Mallett, S., Rice, E. & Milburn, N.G. (2007). Housing stability over two years and HIV risk among newly homeless youth. AIDS and Behavior, 11(6), 831-41.

Rice, E., Milburn, N.G. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2007). Pro-Social and Problematic Peer Influences on HIV/AIDS Risk Behaviors among Newly Homeless Youth in Los Angeles. AIDS Care, 19(5), 697-704.

Rice, E., Batterham, P. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2006). Unprotected Sex Among Youth Living with HIV Before and After the Advent of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 38(3), 162-167.

Milburn, N.G., Ayala, G., Rice, E., Batterham, P. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2006). Discrimination and exiting homelessness among homeless adolescents.Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 12(4), 658-72.

Milburn, N.G., Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Rice, E., Mallett, S. & Rosenthal, D. (2006). Cross-national variations in behavioral profiles among homeless youth.American Journal of Community Psychology, 73(1-2), 658-72.

Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Flannery, D., Rice, E. & Lester, P. (2005). Families living with HIV. AIDS Care, 17(8), 978-987.

Rice, E., Milburn, N.G., Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Mallett, S. & Rosenthal, D. (2005). The effects of peer-group network properties on drug use among homeless youth. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(8), 1102-1123.

Batterham, P., Rice, E. & Rotheram-Borus, M.J. (2005). Predictors of serostatus disclosure among young people living with HIV in the pre- and post-HAART eras. AIDS and Behavior, 9(3), 281-287.

Rice, E. (2005). Commitment. In G. Ritzer (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Social Theory. (pp. 124-125). New York: Sage.

Cook, K.S. & Rice, E. (2005). Social exchange theory. In G. Ritzer (Eds.)Encyclopedia of Social Theory. (pp. 735-740). New York: Sage.

Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Flannery, D., Lester, P. & Rice, E. (2004). Prevention for HIV positive families. JAIDS, 37(Supp2), S133-S134.

Cook, K.S., Rice, E. & Gerbasi, A. (2004). The emergence of trust networks under uncertainty: The case of transitional economies--Insights from social psychological research. In S. Rose-Ackerman, B. Rothstein, & J. Kornai (Eds.) Problems of Post Socialist Transition: Creating Social Trust. (pp. 193-212). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cook, K.S. & Rice, E. (2003). Social exchange theory. In J, Delamater (Eds.)Handbook of Social Psychology. (pp. 53-76). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.