Photo of Michelle van Ryn, PhD, LMFT, MPH

Michelle van Ryn PhD, LMFT, MPH

  • (503) 418-0126

    Portland Campus

    • Professor School of Nursing

Michelle van Ryn is the appointed Grace Phelps Distinguished Professor at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Nursing. She comes to OHSU from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where she was professor of health services research and director of the Research Program on Equity & Inclusion in Healthcare. She is also the founder and lead scientific advisor of the Institute for Equity & Inclusion Sciences, a public benefit corporation whose mission is to translate current evidence into practical and effective approaches for achieving equity, and deep diversity and inclusion.

Dr. van Ryn’s research focuses primarily on the way “invisible actors,” such as informal organization norms/diversity climate, implicit (unconscious) biases, inter-group anxiety, and stereotype affect social interaction processes and decision-making. The ultimate goal of her work is to ensure all patients, clients, and students receive equally high-quality care, services, and education in fully inclusive organizations. Her research has improved the national awareness of how providers contribute to disparities in patient care and has led to greater understanding of how improved health care encounters positively impact patient outcomes. She has given more than 75 invited presentations on her research, both nationally and abroad, and she has authored over 107 journal articles, abstracts, and other written publications.

Areas of interest

  • Equity and Inclusion in Health Care
  • Inequalities in care
  • Experiences of minorty, marginalized and underserved patients and health care providers
  • Equity, Inclusion and Diversity in Health Professions Training


  • B.S., University of the State of New York, Regents College, Albany New York United States 1981
  • M.P.H., University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor Michigan United States 1985
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, School of Public Health and Rackham School of Graduate Studies, Ann Arbor Michigan United States 1990
  • Fellowship:

    • University of Michigan, Ann Aarbor, MI, Applied Research in Aging, 1991
    • University of Michigan, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, Ann Arbor, MI, Psychosocial Factors and Mental Health and Illness, 1990
    • University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI, Social Environment & Health, Psychosocial Factors in Mental Health & Illness, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, 1988-1989
    • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, SIDS Foundation, 1988


  • "Exploring unconscious bias in disparities research and medical education" JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association September 7 2011
  • "Variation in estimates of limited ealth Literacy by Assessment Instruments and Non-Response Bias" Journal of General Internal Medicine July 2010
  • "Patient race and physicians' decisions to prescribe opioids for chronic low back pain" Social Science and Medicine December 2008
  • "Reducing racial bias among health care providers" Journal of General Internal Medicine June 2007
  • "Cancer control-planning and monitoring population-based systems" Tumori September 1 2009
  • "Do Contact and Empathy Mitigate Bias Against Gay and Lesbian People among Heterosexual First-Year Medical Students? A Report from the Medical Student CHANGE Study" Academic Medicine January 1 2015
  • "Access to coronary artery bypass surgery by race/ethnicity and gender among patients who are appropriate for surgery" Medical Care January 1 1999
  • "Mental Well-Being in First Year Medical Students" Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities September 1 2015
  • "The impact of everyday discrimination and racial identity centrality on african american medical student well-being" Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities July 1 2016
  • "Effects of gender and depressive symptoms on quality of life among colorectal and lung cancer patients and their family caregivers" Psycho-Oncology January 1 2015
  • "Implicit and explicit weight bias in a national sample of 4,732 medical students" Obesity January 1 2014
  • "Does stereotype threat affect women in academic medicine?" Academic Medicine January 1 2012
  • "Associations between smoking behaviors and financial stress among low-income smokers" Preventive Medicine Reports November 30 2015
  • "Partner violence and medical encounters" American Journal of Preventive Medicine November 20 2000
  • "White doctors and nurses on racial inequality in health care in the USA" Ethnic and Racial Studies August 6 2010
  • "Psychosocial predictors of attitudes toward physician empathy in clinical encounters among 4732 1st year medical students" Patient Education and Counseling January 1 2014
  • "Utilization of Hospital-Based Chaplain Services Among Newly Diagnosed Male Veterans Affairs Colorectal Cancer Patients" Journal of Religion and Health April 1 2014
  • "The implications of status, class and cultural diversity for health education practice" Health Education Research March 1 1996
  • "Research on the provider contribution to race/ethnicity disparities in medical care." Medical Care January 1 2002
  • "Job Seeking, Reemployment, and Mental Health" Journal of Applied Psychology January 1 1989
  • "Conceptualising paediatric health disparities" BMJ Open August 1 2017
  • "Association of actual and preferred decision roles with patient-reported quality of care" JAMA oncology April 1 2015
  • "Economic burden for informal caregivers of lung and colorectal cancer patients" Oncologist September 24 2010
  • "Response to Dr. Westfall" Journal of General Internal Medicine July 1 2016
  • "Understanding primary care physicians' treatment of chronic low back pain" Pain Medicine October 1 2009
  • "Racial variation in the cancer caregiving experience" Cancer Nursing July 1 2012
  • "Medical School Experiences Associated with Change in Implicit Racial Bias Among 3547 Students" Journal of General Internal Medicine July 1 2015
  • "Medical students' learning orientation regarding interracial interactions affects preparedness to care for minority patients" BMC Medical Education September 29 2016
  • "The effect of routine training on the self-efficacy of informal caregivers of colorectal cancer patients" Supportive Care in Cancer April 1 2017
  • "Developing Effective Helping Relationships in Health Education Practice" Health Education and Behavior December 1 1997

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