Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., is Senior Scholar for Public Policy at the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA’s School of Law. Prior to coming to UCLA in 2011, Dr. Meyer was Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences and Deputy Chair for MPH Programs at the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Dr. Meyer’s academic background is in social psychology, psychiatric epidemiology, and sociomedical sciences in public health. Dr. Meyer studies public health issues related to minority health. His areas of research include stress and illness in minority populations, in particular, the relationship of minority status, minority identity, prejudice and discrimination and mental health outcomes in sexual minorities and the intersection of minority stressors related to sexual orientation, race/ethnicity and gender.
In several highly cited papers, Dr. Meyer has developed a model of minority stress that describes the relationship of social stressors and mental disorders and helps to explain LGBT health disparities. The model has guided his and other investigators’ population research on LGBT health disparities by identifying the mechanisms by which social stressors impact health and describing the harm to LGBT people from prejudice and stigma. The model was cited by the Institute of Medicine as one of four cross-cutting perspectives (the only one stemming from LGBT scholarship) recommended for the study of LGBT health. For this work, Dr. Meyer received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Distinguished Scientific Contribution award from the APA’s Division 44. Based on this body of work, Dr. Meyer has provided expert testimony, including in Perry v. Brown, a major civil rights case related to the right of gay men and lesbians to marry in the United States, and testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in their briefing on peer-to-peer violence and bullying.
Dr. Meyer is co-editor with Mary E. Northridge of The Health of Sexual Minorities: Public health perspectives on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations (Springer, 2007). This influential text offers a multidimensional picture of LGBT health, incorporating contributions from across clinical and social science disciplines. Dr. Meyer is the Principal Investigator of “Stress, Identity and Mental Health” known also as Project Stride, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (5R01MH066058). The study explored the impact of social stress at the intersection of disadvantaged identities related to gender, race/ethnicity and sexual orientation as they impact mental health. Dr. Meyer is Co-PI with Dr. Kwate of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Investigator Award in Health Policy studying the impact of meritocratic ideology on African American health.