Sarah B. Hunter

Sarah Hunter
Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D in social psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara; M.A. in social psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara; B.A. in psychology, New York University


Sarah Hunter is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She also co-manages quality assurance for RAND's Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment Division. Her primary areas of interest are building community capacity to enhance prevention and treatment program delivery; improving substance abuse treatment quality; implementation science; and program evaluation. She has published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, books chapters, and RAND publications in a wide range of fields. Hunter is on the editorial board for the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and has served as a National Institute on Drug Abuse core faculty mentor for the Implementation Research Institute at Washington University. She has participated in several grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health and currently serves on the Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health committee. Hunter received her B.A. from New York University and her M.A and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Recent Projects

  • Effectiveness of Technology-Assisted Diffusion for Evidence Based Treatment
  • Building System Capacity Through Continuous Quality Improvement
  • Getting to Outcomes for Home Visiting
  • Enhancing Housing First Programs with a Social Network Substance Use Intervention
  • Housing for Health Program Evaluation

Selected Publications

Ober, A.J., Watkins, K.E., Hunter, S.B., Lamp, K., Lind, M. & Setodji, C.M., "An organizational readiness intervention and randomized controlled trial to test strategies for implementing substance use disorder treatment into primary care: SUMMIT study protocol.," Implementation Science, 10(1):66, 2015

Hunter, S.B., Han, B., Slaughter, M.E., Godley, S.H., & Garner, B.R., "Associations between implementation characteristics and evidence-based practice sustainment: A study of the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach," Implementation Science, 10(1):173, 2015

Hunter, S.B., Ober, A.J., Paddock, S.M., Hunt, P., & Levan, D., "Continuous quality improvement (CQI) in addiction treatment settings: Design and intervention protocol of a group randomized pilot study," Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 9(4), 2014

Chinman, M., Acosta, J., Hunter, S.B., & Ebener P. "Getting To Outcomes®: Evidence of empowerment evaluation and evaluation capacity building at work," in D. Fetterman, S. Kaftarian, & A. Wandersman, Empowerment Evaluation: Knowledge and tools for self-assessment, evaluation capacity building and accountability, Sage, 2014

Hunter, S.B., Ayer, L., Han, B., Garner, B.R., & Godley, S.H, "Examining the sustainment of the Adolescent-Community Reinforcement Approach in community addiction treatment settings: Protocol for a longitudinal mixed method study," Implementation Science, 9:104, 2014

Hunter, S.B., Paddock, S.M., Zhou, A.J., Watkins, K.E., & Hepner, K.A., "Do client attributes moderate the effectiveness of a group cognitive behavioral therapy for depression in addiction treatment?" Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 40(1):57-70, 2013

Hunter, S.B., Ramchand, R., Griffin, B. A., Suttorp, M. J., McCaffrey, D., & Morral, A., "The effectiveness of community-based delivery of an evidence-based treatment for adolescent substance use," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43:137-151, 2012

Hunter, S.B., Watkins, K.E., Hepner, K.A., Paddock, S.M., Munjas, B., Osilla, K.C., Perry, S., "Treating depression and substance use: A randomized controlled trial," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43:137-151, 2012

Honors & Awards

  • Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize, Best Paper 2007, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
  • Outstanding Publication Award, American Evaluation Association
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science


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    Support for Implementing Home Visiting Under the Affordable Care Act

    One groundbreaking provision of the Affordable Care Act is its funding for home visiting programs that match the parents of young children with trained specialists who provide information, social support, parental skill instruction, and more.

    Jan 8, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • young woman smoking and drinking coffee

    Teen Employment May Not Always Be a Boon for At-Risk Youth

    For all teens, and especially those who have already experienced problems related to alcohol and drug use, it is essential to monitor the quality of work experiences and keep in mind that some work environments might increase risk for substance use.

    Dec 18, 2012

  • Promoting Success: Using Data to Inform Decision Making

    Many organizations that we have worked with indicate that this approach has helped improve reporting and communication both within and external to their organization, writes Sarah Hunter.

    Mar 21, 2012 Independent Sector