Ilan H. Meyer

Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy, The Williams Institute

  • B.A. Tel Aviv University, 1981
  • M.A. New School for Social Research, 1987
  • Ph.D. Columbia University, 1993

Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D. is a Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of 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 Perry v. Brown (later Hollingsworth v. Perry), 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 and statement submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in Bayev v. Russia, a case challenging the Russian law banning “homosexual propaganda.”

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 Principal Investigator of the Generations Study, a study of stress, identity, health, and health care utilization across three cohorts of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals in the United States (NICHD grant 1R01HD078526). The study assesses how improvements in the social environment of LGB people, such as the expansion of same-sex marriages, affect the life and health of LGB people and what implications these changes may have to policies such as the delivery of social and health services. Dr. Meyer is also the Principal Investigator of TransPop, the first national probability sample of transgender individuals in the U.S. (NICHD grant 1R01HD078526). The study results will provide a more accurate and detailed picture of the issues faced by transgender people than has been available to researchers and policy makers to date.