MICHAEL HURLBURT is an associate professor. His career is devoted to scholarship that advances research and conceptually guided strategies for improving the reach and impact of behavioral health interventions designed to improve the relationships and emotional health of children and families, with an emphasis on maltreatment prevention.
With support from a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) career development award, his initial work in clinical epidemiology helped to provide a uniquely detailed understanding of services that families receive in mental health and child welfare settings. That work moved the dialogue about empirically supported interventions beyond a focus only on the use of specific, fully-packaged intervention models and into a space where it is possible to communicate about common elements (content and techniques) of such programs and the degree to which existing services match with such elements. Hurlburt currently conducts research examining processes for implementing practice innovations in mental health and child welfare settings and has written theoretical articles that provide a framework for understanding forces that influence dissemination, implementation and sustainment of practice innovations. His current R01 tests a theory-guided process for implementation of a maltreatment prevention program. The implementation approach is designed to transition expertise to local community providers and accommodate locally relevant practice adaptation.
With support from a social innovations grant from the USC Price School of Public Policy, Hurlburt chairs a research-practice collaborative in San Diego County focused on local community-based primary maltreatment prevention, building on his expertise in parenting interventions and strategies for community-based implementation. He reviews for more than a dozen leading journals in social work, psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics and health services research. He regularly serves as an expert for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and national scientific organizations in Europe. In 2012, he was recognized as Public Citizen of the Year by the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers for his research, service and mentorship of students and other faculty.
Hurlburt lives in San Diego. He is married and is the father of two boys.
Dr. Michael Hurlburt began a career in social work around the same time that the concept of evidence-based practice was becoming a major focus in the profession. But as Hurlburt, a developmental psychologist, grew to appreciate the necessity of adhering to empirically established models in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, he did not observe a corresponding change in the clinical world. Although many therapists claimed to be incorporating best practices into their work, Hurlburt’s research found the exact opposite—a phenomenon he has devoted his career to understanding and eliminating.
Hurlburt’s interest in promoting evidence-based practice dates back to his college days, when the interventions and models he was studying in the classroom didn’t seem to be making it into the community. After completing a graduate degree in developmental psychology, he began working with San Diego State University on innovative services research for mentally ill homeless individuals, his first experience with community-based field work.
Hurlburt soon became involved with the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center at Rady Children’s Hospital. As an analyst on several community-based projects, Hurlburt explored patterns of mental health and child welfare services in an effort to determine the ways in which they could be better designed and integrated. Using a federal career development award, he studied the extent to which community-based services reflect the core components of best practices for serving families of children with behavioral issues. Once it became clear that therapists weren’t incorporating evidence-based models into their interventions, Hurlburt started working to bridge the wide gap between research and practice.
Today, Hurlburt works with developers of intervention tools to ensure their translation to the clinical world. As the expectation of collaboration between researchers and practitioners grows, he hopes to prove the value of that partnership by comparing client outcomes in clinics that continually train their staff in evidence-based practices to clinics that don’t provide such training. His goal is to design a system-level model that improves an agency’s ability to implement and sustain innovative programs.
Hurlburt’s interests also extend to child welfare, and he is part of a team that conducted interviews throughout the country on the integration of child welfare and mental health services. His research has confirmed that a stronger connection between the two sectors results not only in better, more efficient treatment but also fewer health disparities between children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Hurlburt participates in the research core on child development and children’s services, chairs the school’s research sequence, and enjoys involving students in his community-based, action-oriented work.
Stein, R.E.K., Hurlburt, M.S., Heneghan, A.M. Zhang, J., Rolls-Reutz, J., Landsverk, J., & Horwitz, S.M. (in press). Health status and type of out-of-home placement: Informal kinship care in an investigated sample. Academic Pediatrics.
Aarons, G.A., Hurlburt, M.S., Willging, C., Fettes, D.L., 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.
Hurlburt, M.S., Aarons, G.A., Fettes, D.L., Willging, C., Palinkas, L ., & Chaffin, M. (2014). Interagency Collaborative Teams for Capacity Building to Scale-Up Evidence-Based Practice. Children & Youth Services Review, 39, 160-168.
Horwitz, S. M., Hurlburt, M. S., Heneghan, A., Zhang, J., Rolls-Reutz, J., Landsverk, J., & Stein, R. E., K. (2013). Persistence of mental health problems in very young Children investigated by US child welfare agencies. Academic Pediatrics, 13, 524-530.
Goldhaber-Fiebert, J.D., Bailey, S.L., Hurlburt, M.S., Zhang, J. & Snowden, L.R. (in press). Evaluating child welfare policies with decision-analytic simulation models. Child Abuse & Neglect.
Schneiderman, J.A., Hurlburt, M.S., Horwitz, S.M. & Zhang, J. (in press). Emergency department use for children involved with child welfare. Child Abuse & Neglect.
Schneiderman, J.A., Leslie, L.K., Hurlburt, M.S., Zhang, J. & Horwitz, S.M. (2012). Caregiver reports of serious injuries in children who remain at home after a child protective services investigation. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 16(2), 328-335.
Palinkas, L.A., Aarons, G.A., Horwitz, S., Chamberlain, P., Hurlburt, M.S. & Landsverk, J. (2011). Mixed methods in mental health services research: A review. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 38, 41-53.
Horwitz, S.M., Hurlburt, M.S., Cohen, S., Zhang, J. & Landsverk, J. (2011). Predictors of placement for children who initially remained in their homes after an investigation for abuse or neglect. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35(3), 188-198.
Aarons, G.A., Hurlburt, M.S., Horwitz, S.M., Chamberlain, P. & Landsverk, J. (2011). Advancing a conceptual model of evidence-based practice implementation in public mental health and child welfare sectors.Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 38, 4-23.
Palinkas, L., Horwitz, S.M., Chamberlain, P., Hurlburt, M.S. & Landsverk, J. (2011). Mixed methods in mental health services research. Psychiatric Services, 62(3), 255-263.
Hurlburt, M.S., Chamberlain, P., Zhang, J., DeGarmo, D. & Price, J. (2010). Advancing prediction of foster placement disruption using brief behavioral screening. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34(12), 917-926.
Garland, A.F., Brookman-Frazee, L., Hurlburt, M.S., Accurso, E.C., Zoffness, R.J., Haine-Schlagel, R. & Ganger, W. (2010). Mental health care for children with disruptive behavior problems: A view inside therapists' offices. Psychiatric Services, 61(8), 788-795.
Lambros, K., Hurley, M., Hurlburt, M.S., Zhang, J. & Leslie, L.K. (2010). Special education services for children involved with child welfare / child protective services. School Mental Health, 2(4), 177-191.
Hurlburt, M.S., Garland, A.F., Nguyen, K. & Brookman-Frazee, L. (2010). Child and family therapy process: Concordance of therapist and observational perspectives. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 37, 230-244.
Garland, A.F., Hurlburt, M.S., Brookman-Frazee, L., Taylor, R.M. & Accurso, E.C. (2010). Methodological challenges of characterizing usual care psychotherapeutic practice. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 37, 208-220.
Kolko, D.J., Hurlburt, M.S., Zhang, J., Barth, R.P., Leslie, L.K. & Burns, B.J. (2010). Posttraumatic stress symptoms in children and adolescents receiving child welfare services: A national sample of in-home and out-of-care. Child Maltreatment, 15(1), 48-63.
Baker-Ericzén, M., Hurlburt, M.S., Brookman-Frazee, L., Jenkins, M. & Hough, R.L. (2010). Comparing Child, Parent and Family Characteristics in Usual Care and EST Research Samples for Children with Disruptive Behavior Disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 18(2), 82-99.
Stahmer, A.C., Hurlburt, M.S., Horwitz, S.M., Landsverk, J.A. & Zhang, J. (2009). Associations between placement and child development among young children in child welfare. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33(9), 598-611.
Landsverk, J., Hurlburt, M.S., Leslie, L., Rolls-Reutz, J. & Zhang, J. (2009). Exits from out-of-home care and continuity of mental health service use. In Webb, M.B., Dowd, K., Harden, B.J., Landsverk, J. and Testa, M.F (Eds.)Child welfare and child well-being: New perspectives from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. (pp. 330-350). New York: Oxford University Press.
Horwitz, S.M., Hurlburt, M.S., Farmer, E.M. & Zhang, J. (2009). The patterns and predictors of mental health services use by children in contact with the child welfare system. In Webb, M.B., Dowd, K., Harden, B.J., Landsverk, J. and Testa, M.F (Eds.) Child welfare and child well-being: New perspectives from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. (pp. 279-329). New York: Oxford University Press.
Garland, A.F., Hawley, K.M., Brookman-Frazee, L. & Hurlburt, M.S. (2008). Identifying common elements of evidence-based psychosocial treatments for children's disruptive behavior problems. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(5), 505-514.
Hurlburt, M.S., Barth, R.P., Leslie, L.K., Landsverk, J. & McRae, J. (2007). Building on strengths: Current status and opportunities for improvement of parent training for families in child welfare. In R. Haskins, F. Wulczyn, & M.B. Webb (Eds.) Child protection: Using research to improve policy and practice. (pp. 81-106). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Landsverk, J., Hurlburt, M.S. & Leslie, L.K. (2007). Systems integration and access to mental health care. In R. Haskins, F. Wulczyn, & M.B. Webb (Eds.)Child protection: Using research to improve policy and practice. (pp. 140-154). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Knapp, P.K., Hurlburt, M.S., Costello, E.C., Ladd, H., Tang, L. & Zima, B.T. (2006). Child sociodemographic characteristics and common diagnoses in Medicaid Encounter Data: Are they Valid?. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 33(4), 444-452.
James, S., Leslie, L., Hurlburt, M.S., Slymen, D., Landsverk, J., Davis, I., Mathiesen, S. & Zhang, J. (2006). Children in out-of-home care: Entry into intensive or restrictive mental health and residential care placements. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 14(4), 196-208.
Garland, A.F., Hurlburt, M.S. & Hawley, K.M. (2006). Examining psychotherapy processes in a services research context. Clinical Psychology, 13(1), 30-46.
Barth, R.P., Landsverk, J., Chamberlain, P., Reid, J., Rolls, J., Hurlburt, M.S., Farmer, B., James, S., McCabe, K., Kohl, P. & Wood, P. (2005). Parent training in child welfare services: planning for a more evidence-based approach to serving biological parents. Research on Social Work Practice, 15(5), 353-371.
Zima, B.T., Hurlburt, M.S., Knapp, P., Ladd, H., Tang, L., Duan, N., Wallace, P., Rosenblatt, A., Landsverk, J. & Wells, K.B. (2005). Quality of publicly-funded outpatient specialty mental health care for common childhood psychiatric disorders in California. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolsecent Psychiatry, 44(2), 130-144.
Leslie, L.K., Hurlburt, M.S., James, S., Landsverk, J., Slymen, D.J. & Zhang, J. (2005). Relationship between entry into child welfare and mental health service use. Psychiatric Services, 56(8), 981-987.
Stahmer, A.C., Leslie, L.K., Hurlburt, M.S., Barth, R.P., Webb, M.B., Landsverk, J. & Zhang, J. (2005). Developmental and behavioral needs and service use for young children in child welfare. Pediatrics, 116(4), 891-900.
Hurlburt, M.S., Leslie, L.K., Landsverk, J., Barth, R.P., Burns, B.J., Gibbons, R.D., Slymen, D.J. & Zhang, J. (2004). Contextual predictors of mental health service use among children open to child welfare services. Archives of General Psychiatry, 61(12), 1217-1224.
Leslie, L.K., Hurlburt, M.S., Landsverk, J., Barth, R. & Slymen, D.J. (2004). Outpatient mental health services for children in foster care: A national perspective. Child Abuse and Neglect, 28(6), 699-714.
Yeh, M., McCabe, K., Lambros, K., Hough, R., Landsverk, J., Hurlburt, M.S., Culver, S. & Reynolds, B. (2004). Racial/ethnic representation across five public sectors of care for youth with EBD. In P. Garner, F. Yuen, P. Clough, & T. Pardeck (Eds.) Handbook of emotional and behavioral difficuties. (pp. 195-224). London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Leslie, L.K., Hurlburt, M.S., Landsverk, J., Rolls, J.A., Wood, P.A. & Kelleher, K.J. (2003). Comprehensive assessments for children entering foster care: A national perspective. Pediatrics, 112(1), 134-142.
Lewczyk, C.M., Garland, A.F., Hurlburt, M.S., Gearity, J. & Hough, R.L. (2003). Comparing DISC-IV and clinician diagnoses among youths receiving public mental health services. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(3), 349-356.
Leslie, L.K., Weckerly, J., Landsverk, J., Hough, R., Hurlburt, M.S. & Wood, P. (2003). Racial/Ethnic differences in the use of psychotropic medication in high-risk children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(12), 1433-1442.
Yeh, M., McCabe, K., Hurlburt, M.S., Hough, R.L., Hazen, A., Culver, S., Garland, A. & Landsverk, J. (2002). Referral sources, diagnoses, and service types of youth in public outpatient mental health care: A focus on ethnic minorities. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 29(1), 45-60.