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 American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) Board of Directors, acting on the recommendation of the APF Legacy Fund Committee, has approved a matching grant of $10,000 to develop the endowment of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists’ John Fryer, M.D. Award. The APF Board recognizes the importance of sustaining Dr. Fryer’s legacy through this prestigious award, by honoring the contributions of LGBT leaders in the field of psychiatry.
The Fryer Award educates psychiatrists on a wide range of significant LGBT issues. Fryer lectures take place at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and are popular and well-attended. By publishing these lectures as papers in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, which has a wide circulation among psychiatrists and other mental health workers, the reach of these lectures is extended even further. Past honorees have included prominent advocates for the LGBT community, such as Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny, Evan Wolfson, and Bishop Gene Robinson, as well as experts in psychiatry and the mental health field, including Lawrence Hartmann, Richard Pillard, Marjorie Hill, and Caitlin Ryan.
The award is named for John Fryer, M.D., the Philadelphia-area psychiatrist, who appeared with Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny as “Dr. H. Anonymous” at the 1972 APA Annual Meeting and helped move forward the process of removing the diagnosis of homosexuality from the DSM. John Fryer, MD was born in Kentucky in 1938. He attended medical school at Vanderbilt University and completed his psychiatry residency in Philadelphia and spent the rest of his career in Philadelphia. His early years as a psychiatrist were difficult because of his sexual identity. He was forced to leave the University of Pennsylvania’s Psychiatry Residency Program when it was discovered that he was gay, and later he completed his residency at Norristown State Hospital. Dr. Fryer was never apologetic about who he was or how he presented himself, and he went on to have a distinguished career as a professor of family and community psychiatry at Temple University.
The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP) has instituted a fund raising campaign, in association with the American Psychiatric Foundation, which will launch with this $10,000 matching grant, to help endow this award in perpetuity. For more information about how you can get involved, please contact Roy Harker, Executive Director of AGLP at email@example.com. Tax-deductable contributions can be made through this secure link.
The Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health (JGLMH) is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal indexed by PsychInfo. JGLMH is the official journal of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP, www.aglp.org).
We are seeking outstanding resident papers on LGBT mental health; these can be original research papers, case series and detailed case reports, or review articles. The award includes $500, publication in JGLMH, and assistance with travel to the AGLP annual meeting (held concurrently with the APA) in New York City in May to present the resident’s work. The deadline to be considered for a 2014 award is March 1, 2014. Co-authored papers are eligible as well, but the resident must be the first author.
Entries can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE: AGLP Members receive free subscription to the Journal and unlimited access to the online edition.
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