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Ryan McNeil, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine (General Medicine); Director of Harm Reduction Research, Program in Addiction Medicine; Assistant Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Information

Ryan McNeil, PhD



Dr. McNeil joined the Yale School of Medicine in December 2019 from the University of British Columbia and British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, where he was supported by a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award and Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator (CIHR) Award. Through his National Institutes of Health and CIHR-funded community-engaged qualitative and ethnographic research, he examines how forces operating within the risk environments of people who use drugs shape risk and harm. Dr. McNeil is Principal Investigator of multiple grants examining: (1) social, structural, and environmental influences on the implementation and effectiveness of harm reduction and addiction treatment interventions, including supervised consumption services; (2) the influence of housing and housing-based interventions on overdose-related risks; (3) approaches to the management of stimulant use disorders. His foundational research on harm reduction approaches, including supervised consumption services and safe supply, has been instrumental to informing their scale-up. Most recently, Dr. McNeil recently co-edited a supplement for the American Journal of Public Health (along with Drs. Helena Hansen, UCLA, and Marie Jauffret-Roustide, INSERM), focusing on drug-related harm around the world.

Dr. McNeil regularly provides expert advice to health care organizations and governments on the development, implementation, and optimization of harm reduction and addiction treatment interventions. Pursuant to the goal of meaningfully involving people who use drugs in all stages of the research process, he actively collaborates with community-based organizations, including peer-driven drug user, sex worker, and tenant rights organizations, to align his research with community priorities and provide opportunities for people with lived experience to co-lead and engage in research. Furthermore, Dr. McNeil is the co-creator and scientific lead of Crackdown, a podcast launched in January 2019 to mobilize research and amplify the voices of people who use drugs. This innovative media collaboration has been called the “podcast most likely to save lives” and has received the Radio Impact Award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival, Canadian Hillman Prize, and a silver medal from the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (2016)
  • PhD
    University of British Columbia, Interdisciplinary Studies (2013)
  • MPhil
    University of New Brunswick, Interdisciplinary Policy Studies (2006)
  • BPhil
    University of New Brunswick, Interdisciplinary Studies (2003)

Professional Service

Co-Creator, Scientific Director & Producer. Crackdown [Podcast Series]. Vancouver, Canada: Cited Media ProductionsCo-Founder, Scientific Director & Producer of a podcast series launched in January 2019 and produced by Cited Media Productions. Innovative community-based media project is informed by an Editorial Board of people who use drugs, and harnesses research evidence to amplify community experiences.2019 - Present

Departments & Organizations