Ryan K. McBain

Photo of Ryan McBain
Policy Researcher
Boston 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, where he has focused on evaluating mental health, HIV, and primary care service delivery systems, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti. McBain holds a Ph.D. and M.P.H. in global health with concentrations in health economics and health 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

  • Integrating a Stepped Care Model of Screening and Treatment for Depression into Malawi's National HIV Care Delivery Platform
  • Distribution of Child Mental Health Workforce and Children's Mental Health Care Outcomes
  • Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing in Three Sub-Saharan African Countries
  • 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, Rose AJ, LaRochelle MR, "The U.S. opioid crisis: one disease, diverging tales," Preventive Medicine, 112, 2018

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, 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, Kofner A, Stein B, Yu H. , "State insurance mandates and the workforce for children with autism," Pediatrics, 2020

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, Karredy V, Cantor J, Stein B, Yu H., "Systematic Review: United States Workforce for Autism-Related Child Healthcare Services," JAACAP, 59, 2019


English; French; Spanish; Krio


  • A young woman having a counseling session with a psychologist using a video conferencing tool, photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

    How COVID-19 Lessons Can Transform U.S. Mental Health Care

    It would be a powerful conclusion to the pandemic if Americans reimagined a health system that was resilient against future threats, including the resulting psychological trauma. Policymakers have the opportunity now to cut short the pandemic's long tail of mental illness by taking decisive action.

    Jun 2, 2021 The Hill