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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:

My research work centers on the intersections of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, health, and immigration among immigrants, ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities in the United States, in particular Arabs and Arab Americans, and in Lebanon. My work is informed by social justice, intersectionality, and health equity frameworks and aims at decreasing the significant health disparities faced by marginalized populations. Along with my research work, I have extensive experience in sexual health, qualitative research methods, mixed methods, and community-based participatory research approaches.

In the US, my work has concentrated on virginity and sexual initiation, communication with parents about sex and sexuality, and sexual attitudes and behaviors among young adult Arabs. I am currently working on the development of a sexual health promotion intervention for young adult Arabs in Chicago, with a focus on intimate partner sexual violence prevention. As part of a fellowship at Yale University, I am also exploring HIV/STI risk behaviors and mental health of Arab GBQ men, pre- and post-migration to the US.

In Lebanon, my work has centered on HIV/AIDS, where I investigated the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS. I am currently a board member of LebMASH (Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health), where we work on advancing healthcare for LGBTQ individuals, as well as sexual and reproductive health throughout the country.

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, where I was a member of the Centers for Global Women’s Health and Health Equity Research. I 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/zoom synchronous): Human Sexuality and Health; From Local to Global

Nursing 574 (Spring semesters; in person/zoom synchronous): Qualitative Research in Nursing

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

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

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., & 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.

Taha, S., Abboud, S., Bernard, L., & Holmes, D. (2022). Measurement of sexual orientation and gender identity among older adults. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 15(22).

Abboud, S., Naal, H., Chahine, A., Taha, S., Harfoush, O., Mahmoud, H. (2020) “It’s mainly the fear of getting hurt”: Experiences of LGBT individuals with the healthcare system in Lebanon. Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health, 1(3):165-185.

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

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      Association for Middle East Women’s Studies, member

2014-present      American Nurses Association

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