The Family Acceptance Project™ team includes Project Director, Caitlin Ryan, Senior Quantitative Researcher, Rafael Dìaz and Project Coordinator, Jorge Sanchez. Teresa Betancourt worked on the first two phases of the project.
Undergraduate and graduate students work on the project as interns and volunteers, completing independent studies, theses and culminating experiences. Students work as an integral part of the project team and receive training in grants management and project coordination, outreach and community collaboration, qualitative and quantitative research methods and analysis, and develop interviewing, outreach, research administration and writing skills.
Caitlin Ryan is the Director of the Family Acceptance Project. Dr. Ryan is a clinical social worker who has worked on LGBT health and mental health for nearly 40 years. She received her clinical training with children and adolescents at Smith College School for Social Work. Dr. Ryan pioneered community-based AIDS services at the beginning of the epidemic; initiated the first major study to identify lesbian health needs in the early 1980s; and has worked to implement quality care for LGBT youth since the early 1990s. She started the Family Acceptance Project with Dr. Rafael Diaz in 2002 to help diverse families to decrease rejection and prevent related health risks for their LGBT children - including suicide, homelessness and HIV - and to promote family acceptance and positive outcomes including permanency.
Dr. Ryan and her team have been developing a wide range of research-based materials and assessment tools to help families and caregivers to support their LGBT children, including a series of short documentary films that show the journey from struggle to support of ethnically and religiously diverse families with LGBT children.
Her work has been acknowledged by many groups, including the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychological Association, Division 44 that gave her the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award for groundbreaking research on LGBT youth and families, and many other groups. She has served on many national advisory groups including the Committee on LGBT Health for the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences and the LGBT Suicide Prevention Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Ryan is collaborating with institutions, agencies, faith communities and advocates to develop an international movement of family acceptance to promote wellness and healthy futures for LGBT children, youth and young adults.
Rafael Dìaz provides consultation for FAP on analysis and research methods. Dr. Diaz is a clinical social worker, a developmental and a clinical psychologist with post-doctoral training at The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He was a faculty member at the University of New Mexico, Stanford University, and UCSF's CAPS program where he began his work on Latino gay men and HIV. Dr. Diaz was a Professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and is the former Director of the César E. Chávez Institute at SFSU. His research includes major studies on Latino gay men, sexuality, substance use and mental health, including two 4-year studies "A Sociocultural Model of HIV Risk in Latino Gay Men," using qualitative, quantitative and intervention design methods in Los Angeles, Miami and New York, and "Drug Use and Risky Sexual Behavior in Latino Gay Men" and a 5-year study of community involvement as a protective factor for HIV infection among Latino gay men.
Dr. Diaz initiated the Family Acceptance Project with Caitlin Ryan in 2002 to undertake the first study of how family reactions affect the health, mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. He has written extensively on bilingualism, self-regulation, Latino gay men, sexuality and culture. His book, Latino Gay Men and HIV: Culture, Sexuality, & Risk Behavior, has become the guiding framework for developing HIV prevention interventions with gay men of color.
Jorge Sanchez, is an ethnographer and Project Coordinator for the Family Acceptance Project.™ A native of Colombia, Jorge received his degree in Social Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. After working as an ESL instructor at Albany Middle School, Jorge served as the Program Director for the Oakland Recycling Association where he worked with instructors in the Oakland Unified School District to develop conservation resource curricula for middle school students. He began working in HIV education in 1996 as a facilitator for safe-sex workshops for Latino gay and bisexual men. Jorge joined the staff of Proyecto Contra SIDA Por Vida (PCPV), a Latina/o lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender HIV service agency, where he worked as Coordinator of Health Education/Media Specialist for two and a half years. After leaving Proyecto, Jorge worked as a member of the research team for a NIDA-funded study headed by Rafael Diaz on HIV Risk and Substance Use among gay and bisexual Latino men at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). He moved to San Francisco State University (SFSU) as a member of Rafael's research team at the César E. Chávez Institute and joined the Family Acceptance Project™ team in 2003. Jorge has served in a variety of roles, as a member of the Board of Directors of PCPV, and on the City of Berkeley's Health and Waste Commission.
Student Interns and Volunteers
During the academic year and summer session, student interns and community volunteers have worked on the project in a wide range of capacities. Internships are generally planned in advance through academic and community programs, but interested students can contact the Project Director at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about internship and volunteer opportunities.
Lynn Dolce, MFT
Professor & Fitch Nesbitt Endowed Chair, Family Studies & Human Development
University of Arizona