A Pioneer in LGBT Health and Mental Health Honored by American Psychiatric Association
Caitlin Ryan, PhD, ACSW Receives APA Award for Major Contributions to LGBT Mental Health
Caitlin Ryan, PhD, ACSW, a pioneer in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health and mental health will receive the John E. Fryer Award from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) at their annual meeting on May 18, 2013 for major contributions to the mental health and well-being of LGBT people. The award is presented by the APA in association with the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists and given in honor of Dr. John Fryer, a gay psychiatrist who played a crucial role in prompting the American Psychiatric Association to review the scientific data and to remove homosexuality from the APA’s diagnostic list of mental disorders in 1973.
A clinical social worker, researcher and policy expert, Dr. Ryan’s groundbreaking contributions to LGBT health and mental health have spanned nearly 40 years through early community development, program implementation, research, policy and systems change. Dr. Ryan received her clinical training with children, adolescents and adults in inpatient psychiatric and community mental health programs. Dr. Ryan has an undergraduate degree with a concentration in human sexuality from Hunter College, a master’s degree in clinical social work from Smith College School for Social Work, and a doctorate in public policy with a focus on health policy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She directs the Family Acceptance Project at SF State University.
Prior to the AIDS epidemic in the 1970s, her early organizing activities helped establish a national network of LGBT health and mental health providers throughout the United States that provided a platform to address critical LGBT health, mental health and AIDS-related issues. Dr. Ryan pioneered community-based AIDS services at the beginning of the epidemic; initiated the first major study to identify lesbian health needs in the late1970s and early 1980s; and has worked to implement quality care, evidence-based practice and family-related services for LGBT youth since the early 1990s.
Recognizing that the approach to serving LGBT adolescents focused either on individual or peer support, and that research and practice had not included families – who play a critical role in the health and well-being of children and adolescents, overall – Dr. Ryan launched the Family Acceptance Project in 2002 to study LGBT adolescents in the context of their families, culture and faith communities and to develop the first evidence-based family intervention model to promote healthy futures for LGBT children and youth.
After publishing seminal research that established the essential role that families play in the health and well-being of their LGBT children, Dr. Ryan and her team from the Family Acceptance Project at SF State University have been developing evidence-based family education resources and intervention approaches to help ethnically and religiously diverse families support their LGBT children to prevent health and mental health risks, placement in custodial care and homelessness and to promote well-being. These include the first “Best Practice” resources for suicide prevention for LGBT youth and young adults designated by the national Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention, and published in multi-lingual and faith-based versions.
Dr. Ryan’s work has helped guide the delivery of care for LGBT populations through foundational policy and practice guidelines. These include co-authoring the first guidelines on AIDS policy for members of Congress, state and local officials that provided the framework for more than half of the recommendations for the first U.S. Presidential Commission on AIDS; co-authoring the first clinical care guidelines and the first guide to health and mental health care for LGBT youth for the Heath Resources and Services Administration; and co-authoring the first guidelines for care of LGBT out-of-home youth published by the Child Welfare League of America and disseminated to child welfare systems across the country.
Dr. Ryan’s work has been recognized by all of the major mental health professional associations, including the American Counseling Association’s Counselors for Social Justice, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychological Association’s Division 44 which awarded her the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award; and many other professional and community organizations and groups.
Dr. Ryan served as a member of the Committee on LGBT Health for the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences and the LGBT Populations Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. She trains on her work across the U.S. and internationally. And she is collaborating with agencies, organizations, faith communities and providers to develop an international movement of family acceptance to promote wellness and healthy futures for LGBT children, youth and young adults.
About the Family Acceptance Project
The Family Acceptance Project is a research, intervention, education and policy initiative that is designed to: 1) decrease health and mental health risks and promote well-being for LGBT children and adolescents; 2) strengthen and help ethnically and religiously diverse families to support their LGBT children; 3) help LGBT youth stay in their homes to prevent homelessness and the need for custodial care in the foster care and juvenile justice systems; 4) inform public policy and family policy; and 5) develop a new evidence-based, family model of wellness, prevention, and care for LGBT children and youth. For more information, please visit: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/
Created by AGLP in 2006, The John E Fryer, MD Award honors an individual whose work has contributed to the mental health of sexual minorities. The award was endowed through a generous grant from the Gill Foundation, a bequest from the estate of psychiatrist Frank Rundle, and contributions from many AGLP members. Other past awardees include Barbara Gittings and Franklin Kameny; Past APA President Laurence Hartmann; Psychiatrist and Researcher Richard Pillard; San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome; LGBT activist Evan Wolfson; and Bishop Gene Robinson.
The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists is proud to announce its lineup of award winners for 2013. The awards were presented in San Francisco on May 20, 2013, as part of the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.
The Stuart Nichols Award is presented each year to a community service organization that supports LGBT Mental Health. It was named for Stuart Nichols, MD, a community psychiatrist who worked primarily on addictions and HIV in the LGBT community and was a mentor to many AGLP members, It includes a cash award. This year we honor the UCSF Alliance Health Project for their ongoing efforts to provide quality mental health and wellness care to the LGBT and HIV-affected community in San Francisco.
The 2013 James Paulsen Award was given to Alan Schwartz, M.D., Co-Editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health. In his tenure, together with Mary Barber, M.D., Dr. Schwartz has upheld the highest standards of this important journal that seeks out and publishes the most current clinical and research scholarship on LGBT mental health. The James Paulsen Award is presented each year to an AGLP member who has made significant contributions to the ongoing life of the organization. It was named after a founding AGLP member.
The Distinguished Service Award, AGLP’s first designated award, is given to an individual for outstanding contributions to the LGBT community. Over the years it has been awarded to several AGLP members whose work extends past the reach of the organization, to supportive APA officials, and to public figures. This year’s recipient is life-long feminist and gay rights activist Phyllis Lyon.
The 2013 Barbara Gittings Award was presented to Patricia Robertson, M.D., Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCSF, for her many contributions to the health and well-being of women and the education of medical students interested in careers in women's health. The Barbara Gittings Award is presented to a woman who demonstrates exceptional leadership and advocacy for lesbian Issues. It was named after one of the founders of the gay rights movement and one of the activists instrumental in moving APA to consider depathologizing homosexuality.
Jack Pula, MD, instructor of clinical psychiatry, was recently appointed chairperson of the Transgender Committee of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists. In this role, Pula says he would like to create a network of psychiatrists and residents of all gender identities who are interested in changing the curricula of medical schools and residency programs nationwide to include training in transgender issues.
Over the weekend, California became the first state with a law banning so-called reparative therapy, a discredited intervention that claims it can turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, outlawing the practice of reparative therapies in youth younger than age 18. Brown said he hoped this law would relegate conversion therapy to "the dustbin of quackery," noting that the practice has led to depression and suicide among young people distressed by the realization that they are attracted to people of the same gender. The law takes effect January 1, 2013.
APA has an official position condemning conversion therapies for being "at odds with the scientific position of APA, which has maintained since 1973 that homosexuality per se is not a mental disorder." It notes as well that "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great and include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by [a person seeking this therapy]."
Jack Drescher, M.D., president of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry and a past chair of APA’s Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues, is concerned, however, that the law only applies to licensed therapists, and most people doing conversion therapies are unlicensed. In addition, Drescher said that the promised legal challenge claiming the law violates free-speech rights, if upheld, "would provide an opportunity for conversion therapy proponents to trumpet their victory and further market these harmful services."
APA's 1998 and 2000 position statements on reparative therapy are posted at www.psychiatry.org <http://www.psychiatry.org/> under "Position Statements." For a comprehensive review of mental health issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals see The LGBT Casebook <http://www.appi.org/SearchCenter/Pages/
SearchDetail.aspx?ItemId=62421> , new from American Psychiatric Publishing. (Drescher is a co-editor of the book.)
Special Issue: The Black Community and Its LGBT Members
PLEASE NOTE: AGLP Members receive free subscription to the Journal and unlimited access to the online edition.
This new issue contains the following articles:
The Black Community and Its LGBT Members
Kenneth B. Ashley MD, Christopher McIntosh MD & Mary E. Barber MD
Risk and Protective Factors for Suicidal Thoughts Among Sexual Minority Youth: Evidence from the Add Health Study
Stephen T. Russell PhD & Russell B. Toomey PhD
Update on the Biology of Transgender Identity
Laura Erickson-Schroth MDMA
The Black Community and Its LGBT Members
The Science on Sexual Orientation: A Review of the Recent Literature
Kenneth B. Ashley MD
Being Black and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender
Richard G. Dudley Jr. MD
The Black Community and Its LGBT Members: The Role of the Behavioral Scientist
Jerome M. Gibbs PD & Billy E. Jones MD
Is the Black Community More Homophobic?: Reflections on the Intersectionality of Race, Class, Gender, Culture and Religiosity of the Perception of Homophobia in the Black Community
Marjorie J. Hill PhD
Discussion of “The Black Community and Its LGBT Members” Papers
June Jackson Christmas MD
Education and Advocacy
Mental Health Needs of Sexual Minority Youth: A Student-Developed Novel Curriculum for Healthcare Providers
Jason V. Lambrese MD & Jeffrey I. Hunt MD
Oral History Series
Letters to the Gay Medical Student Alliance
Ronald E. Hellman MD
A Review of “Private Practices: Harry Stack Sullivan, the Science of Homosexuality, and American Liberalism”
Jack Drescher MD