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Ryan Wade

Assistant Professor

headshot of Ryan Wade


(217) 300-4682

School of Social Work
1010 W. Nevada St.
Urbana, IL
Office: 2111


SOCW 552: Mental Disorders
SOCW 425: Queer Visibility

What I Do

My work includes a broad focus on social determinants of health, structural and community-level racism, the racial patterning of sexual/social networks within LGBTQ+ communities, and health disparities among sexual and gender minorities. I am particularly interested in examining the ways in which stressors (e.g., discrimination, stigma, etc.) across multiple socioecological levels contribute to poor mental health outcomes among young sexual minority men of color. Much of my research is grounded in minority stress theory, intersectionality, and ecological systems theory.


  • BA in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • MSW in Interpersonal Practice and Mental Health, University of Michigan, School of Social Work
  • PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, School of Public Health


Dr. Wade’s program of research aims to fill critical gaps in understanding on health and well-being among LGBTQ+ communities. At present, much of his research is focused on occurrences of ‘sexual racism’ in online dating, a phenomenon referred to as Racialized Sexual Discrimination (RSD). Dr. Wade’s research also seeks to identify individual and community-level factors that may be protective in the context of RSD.

Dr. Wade is currently the Principal Investigator of a federally funded NIH grant (1R21MD01692-01) to investigate the association between RSD and mental health outcomes among sexual minority men of color. His work ultimately aims to inform the development of health promotion initiatives aimed at mitigating and/or eliminating the adverse effects of discrimination, as well as other social stressors that disproportionately impact sexual and gender minorities. Dr. Wade is also leading a project that examines the association between anti-LGBTQ policy discourse and psychosocial functioning among LGBTQ+ young adults, in the wake of growing legislative hostility directed towards queer communities. Professor Wade’s research and expertise have been featured in local and national media outlets, including NPR, Business Insider, the Chicago Tribune, and Rolling Stone magazine.

Queer Intersections, Inclusion, and Innovation (Qi3) Lab

Illinois Experts Profile

Selected Publications

  • Wade, R. M. & Pear, M. M. (2022). A good app is hard to find: Examining differences in racialized sexual discrimination across online intimate partner-seeking venues. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19, 8727.
  • Wade, R. M., Bouris, A. M., Neilands, T. B., & Harper, G. W. (2021). Racialized sexual discrimination (RSD) and psychological wellbeing among young sexual minority Black men (YSMBM) who seek intimate partners online. Sexuality Research & Social Policy.
  • Wade, R. M. & Harper, G. W. (2021). Racialized sexual discrimination (RSD) in online sexual networking: Moving from discourse to measurement. The Journal of Sex Research, 58(6), 795-807.
  • Wade, R. M., & Harper, G. W. (2020). Racialized Sexual Discrimination (RSD) in the age of online sexual networking: Are gay/bisexual men of color at elevated risk for adverse psychological health? American Journal of Community Psychology, 65(3-4), 504-523.

Latest news

  • Faculty & Staff,
  • Research

Ryan Wade, PhD is awarded an NIH grant 

May 26, 2022

Columbia News

photo of Ryan Wade with
  • Research

Research Explores Impact of Racial Discrimination on Dating Websites for Gay, Bisexual Men 

August 22, 2022

  • Research

How Does Racial Discrimination Impact Users of Online Dating Websites? 

August 22, 2022

headshot of Ryan Wade
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