Ryan K. McBain

Ryan K. McBain
Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis
Washington Office


Ph.D. in public health, Harvard University; M.P.H. in public health, Harvard University; B.A. in psychology, Oxford University; B.A. in psychology, Gordon College


Ryan K. McBain is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. He focuses on the design and evaluation of health policies and programs meant to reach vulnerable populations—including those coping with mental health conditions, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, and poverty. To achieve this, McBain has utilized a wide range of methodologies, including econometric approaches for quasi-experimental analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, and decision analytic models, as well as key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Internationally, McBain has worked with the World Bank, World Health Organization, Harvard University and Partners In Health, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti. McBain holds a Ph.D. and M.P.H. in public health with concentrations in health economics and policy analysis from Harvard University, as well as a B.A. in psychology from Gordon College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Recent Projects

  • Assessing the Transition to Telehealth for Mental Health Care in the Wake of COVID-19
  • Adult Psychiatric Bed Capacity, Needs and Shortage Estimates in California
  • Integrating a Stepped Care Model of Screening and Treatment for Depression into Malawi's National HIV Care Delivery Platform
  • Evaluating Safety and Quality of Pain Care and Opioid Use in the Military Health System
  • The Mental Health Landscape in America

Selected Publications

McBain R, Eberhart N, Breslau J, Frank L, Burnam A, Kareddy V, Simmons M. , How to transform the U.S. mental health system: 15 evidence-based recommendations, , 2021

McBain R, Rose AJ, LaRochelle MR, "The U.S. opioid crisis: one disease, diverging tales," Preventive Medicine, 112, 2018

McBain R, Ashwood JS, Eberhart N, Montemayor C, Azhar GS., Evaluating cost savings associated with Los Angeles County's mental health full service partnerships, RAND, 2018

McBain R, Peterson L, Mahon N, Dully L, Noel B, Wroe E., "Impact and economic evaluation of a novel HIV service delivery model in rural Malawi," AIDS, 131, 2017

McBain R, Jerome G, Warsh J, Browning M, Mistry B, Faure P, Pierre C, Mugunga JC, Rhatigan J, Leandre F, Kaplan R., "Rethinking the cost of healthcare in low-resource settings," BMJ Global Health, 1, 2016

McBain R, Cantor J, Eberhart N., "Estimating psychiatric bed shortages in the U.S. ," JAMA Psychiatry, 2022

McBain R, Wickett E, Mugunga J, Beste J, Konwloh P, Mukherjee J, "The post-Ebola baby boom: a call for health systems strengthening.," Lancet, 388, 2016

McBain R, Cantor J, Bravata D, Whaley C. , "Mental health service utlization rates among commercially insured adults in the US during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic," JAMA Health Forum, 59, 2023


English; French; Spanish; Krio