Erin M. Espinosa, Ph.D.

Erin M. Espinosa, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Erin Espinosa, Ph.D. is a research associate at the School of Social Work’s Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health. She oversees various projects that focus on implementation of programs and interventions designed to keep individuals with mental health needs in the community. Her primary implementation efforts include providing consultation and implementation support for two Medicaid programs operated by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC; the 1915c Youth Empowerment Services YES waiver for children and adolescents and the Home and Community Based Services for Adult Mental Health), and replicating the use of Specialized Juvenile Probation Officers as a diversion strategy with the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

In addition to her in-state work and research efforts, Espinosa provides on-going consultation to states and territories across the country on issues related to child and adolescent mental health. She serves as a Key Collaborator for the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change coordinated by the National Center on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and as a consultant to the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch’s (CAFB) Children’s Mental Health Initiative (CMHI) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Espinosa is an experienced researcher and has published a variety of articles on issues related to youth with mental health needs and the juvenile justice system to include systemic responses and the implementation of evidence-based programs and practices. Her research interests include mental health and juvenile delinquency, juvenile competence, gender related issues, trauma and the implementation of evidenced based practices and programs.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

Juvenile Justice, Mental Health, Implementation Research, Integrating Research with Policy and Practice.


  • Ph.D., Prairie View A&M University
  • M.P.A., Angelo State University


Faculty Publications

Most recent articles
  • Espinosa, E., Sorensen, J, & Lopez. (2013). Youth pathways to placement: The influence of gender, mental health need, and trauma on confinement in the juvenile justice System. Journal of Youth and Adolescence..
  • Colwell, B., Villarreal, S., & Espinosa, E. (2012). Preliminary outcomes of a pre-adjudication diversion initiative for juvenile justice involved youth with mental health needs in Texas. Criminal Justice & Behavior.
  • Hartzler, B., & Espinosa, E. (2010). Moving criminal justice organizations toward adoption of evidence-based practice via advanced workshop training in motivational interviewing: A research note. Criminal Justice Policy Review.


Hartland Plaza

Room:HLP 335G

Mailing Address

The University of Texas
School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358