Expertise: Living and working in extreme environments; Psychological effects of disasters; Astronauts in space; Mental health of immigrants and refugees; Use of health services by immigrants; Obesity as a global health problem; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Depression and diabetes; Polar expeditions; Winter blues; Hurricanes; Terrorism; Earthquakes; Oil spills; School shootings
Lawrence Palinkas is the Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health and Chair of the Department of Children, Youth and Families in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. He also holds secondary appointments as Professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Preventive Medicine at USC.
A medical anthropologist, his primary areas of expertise lie within health services research, preventive medicine, and cross-cultural medicine. Dr. Palinkas is particularly interested in behavioral health, global health and health disparities, implementation science, community-based participatory research, and the sociocultural and environmental determinants of health and health-related behavior with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion.
His research has included studies of psychosocial adaptation to extreme environments and manmade disasters; mental health needs of older adults; cultural explanatory models of mental illness and service utilization; HIV and substance abuse prevention in Mexico; evaluation of academic-community research practice partnerships; and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices for delivery of mental health services to children, adolescents and underserved populations. This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, NIH, the MacArthur Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation. Current research encompasses implementation of child and adolescent mental health services, sustainment of prevention programs and initiatives and effects of climate change on vulnerable populations. He also provides expertise to students and colleagues in the use of qualitative and mixed research methods.
Among his scholarly achievements are the Antarctic Service Medal by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Navy in 1989; deputy chief officer of the Life Sciences Standing Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research in 2002; chair of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s External Advisory Council in 2003; co-lead of the Social Work Grand Challenge on Strengthening Social Responses to Environmental Change; and membership on committees of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Palinkas is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Social Welfare and Social Work, a fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research, American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology, and the author of more than 380 publications.