Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Doug Polcin, EdD, MFT

Douglas L. Polcin, EdD, MFT, is a Program Director at the Public Health Institute. His research and teaching interests include sober living houses, peer helping, motivational interviewing, HIV risk behaviors, criminal justice mandated treatment, and the roles of coercion and confrontation in treatment entry and outcome.

Dr. Polcin has been an adjunct faculty member at John F. Kennedy University-Extension and UC Berkeley-Extension and has taught a variety of courses on alcohol and drug abuse. He has been a principal investigator on multiple studies funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), including seven grants studying sober living houses and three studying motivational interviewing interventions. In September of 2017 he was awarded a 5-year grant by NIDA to study social environment and neighborhood influences on outcomes of persons living in sober living residences.

Before joining PHI, Dr. Polcin was a Research Psychologist at San Francisco's Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, where he served as principal investigator of an NIAAA funded grant assessing “Coercion to Enter Treatment from Probation Officers.” Dr. Polcin is a licensed MFT and since 1979 he has worked as a clinician, supervisor and administrator in a variety of substance abuse and mental health treatment programs.

Dr. Polcin completed a doctorate in counseling psychology at Northeastern University and a master's in clinical psychology at San Francisco State University. His clinical training and professional work has included positions in the Cambridge Hospital Department of Psychiatry in Massachusetts and San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco.


Evidence Based Sober Living Houses: A Multi-level Analysis

This ongoing research is looking at Sober Living Houses and how house and neighborhood characteristics impact resident outcomes. Evaluation and outcome data for 600 residents across 40 sober living houses in the LA County area will be collected and analyzed. Study completion is expected in 2022.

Randomized Trial of Intensive MI to Improve Drinking Outcomes Among Women

This project focuses on outpatient treatment for women with alcohol problems and is designed to assess the efficacy of intensive motivational interviewing (IMI). The study will recruit 220 adult women, each randomized to one of two treatment types with services provided by licensed therapists and practitioners. The study will also look at effectiveness over time, following participants up to a year after their treatment concludes. PI: Douglas L. Polcin

Beneficial Effects of Motivational Interviewing Case Management (2019)

A Latent Class Analysis of Recovery Capital Among Sober Living Residents With Criminal Justice Involvement BACKGROUND This secondary analysis...

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Motivational Interviewing Case Management (MICM) for Persons on Probation or Parole Entering Sober Living Houses (2018)

The failure of incarceration as a response to drug offenses has resulted in new policies supporting community-based alternatives. One challenge has...

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Role of Recovery Residences in Criminal Justice Reform (2018)

Over the past decade there has been a clear consensus among drug policy researchers that the practice of incarcerating persons for drug offenses ha...

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Problems and Service Needs Among Ex-Offenders with HIV Risk Behaviors Entering Sober Living Recovery Homes (2017)

There is currently a nationwide effort to decrease the number of persons who are incarcerated in jails and prisons. However, many ex-offenders on p...

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The Architecture of Recovery: Two Kinds of Housing Assistance for Chronic Homeless Persons with Substance Use Disorders (2017)

Purpose Roughly half a million persons in the United States are homeless on any given night and over a third of those individuals have significan...

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 PHI programs bring 50+ years of expertise in researching the economic and health impacts of alcohol in order to inform prevention and policy ...

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PHI offers a full suite of evaluation services—from first design to analysis—to assess what’s working, identify needs for quality...

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Research - Quantitative

To make an effective impact on community health, public health practices, programs and policies must be informed by accurate research and analysis....

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