Ryan D. Heath

M.A, L.C.S.W., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Ryan Heath joins the School of Social Work as an assistant professor. Heath’s research seeks to understand how out-of-school programs (e.g., extracurricular, afterschool and summer programs) promote the social-emotional development of low-income youth, students of color, and other historically marginalized youth. To improve the reach, quality, and impact of these programs, his work aims to elucidate how extracurricular programs interface with other social-ecological contexts that affect youth, such as schools, peers and families, and to identify the potential mechanisms through which extracurricular programs influence youth’s social-emotional development and educational attainment. He has been involved in several research projects, most recently as a collaborator on the “Becoming Effective Learners—Out-of-School Time Study” with The Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago. Heath has published in Youth & Society, Urban Review, Urban Education, LGBT Health, and Pediatric Research. He is also co-author of the research report, Foundations of Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework.

Prior to joining Syracuse University, Heath taught classes on research methods and cognitive-behavioral therapy at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. As a clinical social worker, Heath has implemented cognitive-behavioral interventions with adolescents and youth groups in both school-based and community settings. He previously worked as a clinical director for Chicago Adventure Therapy, as a school-based therapist at UCAN, as a therapeutic learning coach for Project EDGE of OMNI Youth Services, and as a teen outreach program coordinator at Health Quarters.

Heath earned a master’s degree in clinical social work and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. As a doctoral student, Heath received a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Institute of Education Sciences and the University of Chicago Committee on Education, and completed a graduate certificate in interdisciplinary education sciences. He completed a bachelor’s degree in science with honors from Brown University.


Ph.D. University of Chicago

M.A. University of Chicago


Adolescent development, extracurricular and out-of-school programs, social-emotional learning, educational attainment, youth social services, school and community partnerships