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Ryan McNeil, PhD

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

Appointments

Biography

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. 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)

Activities

  • Adapting sociobehavioral research with people who use drugs for the COVID era.
    Webinar series 2021
  • Qualitative Research Approaches in Public Health
    Invited Lecture 2021
  • Webinar: COVID-19 and Substance Use
    Calgary, Canada 2020
  • Invited Presentation on Stigma & Drug Use
    Vienna, Austria 2020
  • Responding the fentanyl-driven overdose epidemic
    Virtual presentation 2020
  • Harm reduction and the COVID-19 pandemic
    Webinar series 2020
  • Challenges and opportunities in conducting ethno-epidemiological research on substance use
    Invited Lecture 2020
  • The Evictions Study: A community-academic partnership with people who use drugs
    Invited lecture 2020
  • Presentation to Decision-Makers: A model for knowledge mobilization and public education on the overdose crisis.
    Vancouver, Canada 2019
  • Change Intolerance. British Columbia Association of People on Opioid Maintenance. McNeil R, Mullins G.
    Vancouver, Canada 2019
  • Drug War Correspondents. McNeil R, Mullins G.
    Vancouver, Canada 2019
  • Responses to the overdose crisis in Vancouver, Canada
    Invited Lecture 2019
  • Shoring Up the Social Safety Net: What is Needed? From Punishment to Public Health: Embracing Evidence-Based Solutions to End the Overdose Crisis.
    Columbus, United States 2018
  • Patient Takeover? Integrating Program Science with Community Based Peer Researchers.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • A program of qualitative and community-based research on substance use and related harms.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • Impacts of a methadone formulation change in Vancouver, Canada.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • Harnessing cohort infrastructure and community engagement to address research needs and priorities among people who use drugs.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • British Columbia Centre on Substance Use: Qualitative & Community-Based Research Program.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • The impacts of a methadone formulation change on vulnerable people who use drugs.
    Invited Virtual Presentation 2018
  • Research on supervised consumption services.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • Evictions of people who use drugs from single room occupancy hotels in Vancouver.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • Overdose prevention sites: Emerging findings from a rapid ethnographic study in Vancouver, BC.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • Impacts of a methadone formulation change in Vancouver, Canada.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • Canadian Research on Substance Misuse Supervised Consumption Services Project. Hyshka E, McNeil R.
    National Teleconference 2018
  • Women’s Responses to Vancouver’s Overdose Prevention Sites. Boyd J, McNeil R.
    Vancouver, Canada 2018
  • Preliminary findings of an evaluation of overdose prevention sites in Vancouver, Canada.
    National Teleconference 2018
  • Harm reduction approaches to stimulant use. Stimulant Use: Harm Reduction, Treatment, and Future Directions.
    Los Angeles, United States 2017
  • Launch of Special Issue of Harm Reduction Journal.
    Montreal, Canada 2017
  • The evolving overdose crisis in Vancouver, Canada.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Fentanyl Frontlines: Ongoing research on an evolving epidemic in Vancouver, Canada.
    Los Angeles, United States 2017
  • Rapid ethnographic evaluation of overdose response initiatives.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Overdose prevention sites: Emerging findings from a rapid ethnographic study in Vancouver, BC.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • A rapid ethnographic study of the implementation and impacts of overdose response initiatives in Vancouver, BC.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • A rapid ethnography of the implementation of overdose prevention sites in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • The impacts of overdose prevention initiatives in Vancouver.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • A Rapid Ethnographic Evaluation of Overdose Response Initiatives.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Preliminary findings from a rapid ethnographic study of the implementation of overdose prevention sites. McNeil R, Boyd J.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Fentanyl related overdose and emerging responses. Boyd J, McNeil R, Mayer S.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Structural vulnerability to drug-related harms following eviction.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Evictions of Indigenous people who use drugs in the Downtown Eastside. McNeil R, Morgan R.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • A Rapid Ethnographic Evaluation of Overdose Response Initiatives. Boyd J, McNeil R.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • A Rapid Ethnographic Evaluation of Overdose Response Initiatives. Boyd J, McNeil R.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • A Rapid Ethnographic Evaluation of Overdose Response Initiatives. Boyd J, McNeil R.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Preliminary findings from a rapid ethnographic study of the implementation of overdose prevention sites. McNeil R, Boyd J.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Presentation to Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health & Addictions.
    Vancouver, Canada 2017
  • Harm Reduction Interventions in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
    Vancouver, Canada 2016
  • Evictions in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
    Vancouver, Canada 2016
  • Gaps in the management of stimulant use across the health system.
    Vancouver, Canada 2016
  • Examining the implementation of interventions to address the overdose epidemic.
    Vancouver, Canada 2016
  • Summary of Dr. Peter Centre Qualitative Study Findings.
    Vancouver, Canada 2016
  • Hospitals as a risk environment.
    Vancouver, Canada 2015
  • Advancing evidence-based drug policy: Mapping the intersections of activism, research & legal advocacy.
    Vancouver, Canada 2015
  • Framing a discussion of palliative care for structurally vulnerable populations: What does the evidence tell us?
    Vancouver, Canada 2015
  • Tenants: Rights & Risks, Health & Safety. McNeil R, Damon W, Larkin DJ.
    Vancouver, Canada 2015
  • “We need somewhere to smoke crack”: An ethnographic evaluation of a peer-run safer smoking room.
    Vancouver, Canada 2015
  • Discharges from hospital against medical advice among people who use drugs.
    Vancouver, Canada 2015
  • An overview of findings from the Urban Health Research Initiative’s qualitative research program.
    Vancouver, Canada 2015
  • Computer-aided qualitative analysis.
    Burnaby, Canada 2014
  • Mobilizing ethnographic methods to evaluate an unsanctioned supervised drug consumption facility.
    Burnaby, Canada 2014
  • Preliminary findings from an ethno-epidemiological study on experiences with Recovery House Residences in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. McNeil R, Small W.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • “We need somewhere to smoke crack”: An evaluation of an unsanctioned safer smoking room.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • The impact of regulatory changes to British Columbia’s provincial methadone program.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • The need to examine evictions and their impacts on people who use drugs.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • Discharges from hospital against medical advice among people who inject drugs.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • Discharges from hospital against medical advice among people who inject drugs.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • Hospitals as a ‘risk environment’: An ethno-epidemiological study of discharges from hospital against medical advice.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • Providing culturally-competent palliative care services to homeless and drug-using populations.
    Toronto, Canada 2014
  • Insights from preliminary research on a methadone formulation change in British Columbia.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • Hospitals as a ‘risk environment’.
    Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • Computer-aided qualitative analysis. HSCI 891: Qualitative research and analytical methods.
    Burnaby, Canada 2013
  • Mobilizing ethnographic methods to evaluate an unsanctioned supervised drug consumption facility.
    Burnaby, Canada 2013
  • Youth & Drug Use Risk Environments
    Vancouver, Canada 2013
  • Systems-level improvements in palliative care services for homeless and drug-using populations.
    Vancouver, Canada 2013
  • The impact of gendered violence on drug-related risks and access to harm reduction services.
    Vancouver, Canada 2013
  • A qualitative study of an ‘unsanctioned’ supervised injection facility in Vancouver, Canada.
    Surrey, Canada 2013
  • Palliative and supportive care services for homeless & drug-using populations.
    Vancouver, Canada 2013
  • An ethnographic study of assisted injection practices at an underground supervised injection room.
    Vancouver, Canada 2012
  • An ethnographic study of an underground supervised injection room.
    Vancouver, Canada 2012
  • ‘When I get out of here’: The impact of denial-of-death on experiences of home at an emergency shelter-based hospice.USA. March 10-13, 2011. McNeil R, Guirguis-Younger M.
    Ottawa, Canada 2010
  • Systems-level approaches to improving palliative care services for homeless populations. McNeil R, Guirguis-Younger M.
    Ottawa, Canada 2009

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Canadian Hillman PrizeSidney Hillman Foundation2020
Impact Award (Crackdown Podcast)Third Coast International Audio Festival2019
Silver Radio Winner, Health/Medical (Crackdown Podcast)New York Festivals Radio Awards2019
Scholar AwardMichael Smith Foundation for Health Research2016
New Investigator AwardCanadian Institutes of Health Research2016
Post-doctoral Fellowship AwardMichael Smith Foundation for Health Research2013
Doctoral Fellowship AwardSocial Sciences & Humanities Research Council2011

Professional Service

OrganizationRoleDate
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