Caitlin Ryan, PhD, ACSW
Director, Family Acceptance Project
San Francisco State University
Changing the Future for LGBT Youth & Families: Returning to Our Roots
Eliminating disparities and addressing social justice among our nation’s most vulnerable populations—LGBT adolescents—requires a structural social work response across professional training, policy, and practice. This lecture will discuss a transformational approach to strengthening and empowering ethnically and religiously diverse families to support their LGBT children.
Caitlin Ryan, PhD, ACSW is a clinical social worker who has worked on health and mental health issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people since the1970s. She directs the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, a research, intervention, education, and policy initiative to help ethnically and religiously diverse families support their LGBT children. Ryan and her team are developing a new evidence-based family support model to reduce health and mental health risks and promote well-being for LGBT children and adolescents. Her work has been recognized by many groups, including the National Association of Social Workers, which named her “Social Worker of the Year” in 1988 for her contributions during the AIDS epidemic; the Lesbian Health & Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco, which named her “Researcher of the Year” for her pioneering work in lesbian health research; and the American Psychological Association, Division 44, which gave her the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 2009 for groundbreaking research on LGBT youth and families. Ryan is a member of the scientific committee appointed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences to study the research needs, gaps, and opportunities for LGBT people. She is collaborating with agencies, organizations, providers, and advocates to develop an international movement of family acceptance to promote wellness and healthy futures for LGBT children, youth, and young adults.