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Photo of Abboud, Sarah

Sarah Abboud, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor

Department of Human Development Nursing Science

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Building & Room:

College of Nursing, Room 854


845 S. Damen Ave., MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:



Background and Research Expertise:

I employ principles of community-based participatory research and qualitative methods, and aim to develop evidence-based research programs and interventions to improve health outcomes among first- and second-generation Arab immigrants in the U.S.

I am one of few Arab scholars to explore sexual health at the intersections of immigration, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnic identity in this population. My program of research is grounded in social justice and health equity frameworks and has two interrelated tracks: first, sexual health promotion and sexual violence prevention among Arab immigrants; and second, sexual and mental health among sexual minority Arab immigrants. Alongside my research, my advocacy work centers on the (in)visibility of Arab/Middle Eastern & North African (MENA)/South West Asian & North African (SWANA) identity and calls for the inclusion of a separate racial/ethnic identity category on the U.S. census reporting.

I completed my BS and MS in Nursing at the American University of Beirut School of Nursing, Lebanon, and my PhD and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. I also completed a Visiting Faculty Fellowship at Yale University School of Public Health Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (2017-2019).

Courses I teach:

Honors College 122 (Fall semesters; in person): Human Sexuality and Health; From Local to Global.

Nursing 574 (Spring semesters; in person): Qualitative Research in Nursing.

Nursing 515 (Course Coordinator; Fall and Spring semesters; online asynchronous): EBP1; Theoretical Foundation for Evidence-Based Practice.

Nursing 517 (Summer semesters; online asynchronous): Leadership, Policy, and Interprofessional Collaboration.

Published OpEds:

2024: Will the Largest Medical Body in US Remain Silent After Al-Shifa’s Destruction?

2023: Chicago Sun*Times: U.S. Census says I’m ‘White’, but I’m not

2023: Visible Magazine: Home at Last: How I Found My Queer Arab Community

Selected Grants

Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation, A Youth-Centered Community-Based Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Program for Immigrant Communities in the United States., Principal Investigator

National Cancer Institute (NIH, 1R01CA258683-01A1), Adaptation and implementation of a patient navigation program for cervical cancer screening across contexts in Senegal., Co-Investigator

Selected Publications

Abboud, S. (2023). [Invited commentary]. Inclusion of the MENA category in the U.S. census: Will MENA individuals and their health disparities be finally visible?” Survey Practice 16 (1).

Abboud, S., Seal, D.W., Pachankis, J.E., Khoshnood, K., Khouri, D., Fouad, F.M., Heimer, R. (2023). Experiences of stigma, mental health, and coping strategies among Lebanese and displaced Syrian men who have sex with men in Lebanon: A qualitative study. Social Science & Medicine. In press.

Abboud, S., & Flores, D.D. (2023) [Invited commentary]. A developmental model of the sexual minority closet: Implications for Arab immigrant sexual minorities and parent-LGBTQ child sex communication. Archives of Sexual Behaviors.

Abboud, S., Veldhuis, C., Ballout, S., Nadeem, F., Nyhan, K., & Hughes, T. (2022). Sexual and gender minority health in the Middle East and North Africa region: A scoping review. International Journal of Nursing Studies Advances. In press.

Abboud, S., Zubi, M., Shalabi, I., Taha, N., Velonis, A., & Patil, C. Intimate partner violence prevention among Arab American young adults in Chicago: Implications for intervention development. Journal of Advanced Nursing. In press.

Abboud, S., Flores, D., Bond, K., Chebli, P., Brawner, B.M., Sommers, M.S. (2022). Family sex communication among Arab American young adults: A mixed-methods study. Journal of Family Nursing, 28(2) 115–128.

Chebli, P., Shalabi, I., Taha, N., Muramatsu, N., Watson, K., Fitzgibbon, M., Molina, Y., Abboud, S. (2022). A Community-Academic Partnership to Explore and Address Cancer Disparities in Southwest Chicago Arab Americans. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. In press.

Singer, R., Crooks, N., Abboud, S., & Patil, C. (2022). Engaging vulnerable populations in community based participatory research: lessons learned. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 16(2), 227-234.

Abboud, S., Chebli, P., Rabelais, E. (2019). The Contested Whiteness of Arab Identity in the United States: Implications for Health Disparities Research. American Journal of Public Health. 109(11):1580-1583. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305285

Abboud, S., Lanier, Y, Jemmott, L.S., & Sommers, M.S. (2019). Navigating virginities: enactment of sexual agency among Arab women in the USA. Culture, Health, & Sexuality. doi:10.1080/13691058.2018.1539249.

Publication Aggregators

Notable Honors

2023, Pinnacle Leader, Power of Nursing Leadership, Illinois

2020-21, Teaching Recognition Program Award, Office of Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago

2020, Faculty Fellow of the Year Award, Honors College; University of Illinois at Chicago

2020, Staff and Faculty Appreciation Award, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago

2017, Janet A. Deatrick Junior Faculty Research Award, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago


2016: Postdoctoral fellowship (T32NR007100; PI: Sommers), University of Pennsylvania
2014: PhD, University of Pennsylvania
2007: MS, American University of Beirut, School of Nursing, Lebanon; Minor in Education.
1999: BS, American University of Beirut, School of Nursing, Lebanon

Professional Memberships

2017-present     Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH), board member

2016-present      Sigma Theta Tau International, Alpha Lambda Chapter, member

2014-present      Arab American Studies Association, member

2014-present      National American-Arab Nurses Association, member

2014-present      American Nurses Association

2012-present      Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, member