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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 (Fall semesters; online): EBP1; Theoretical Foundation for Evidence-Based Practice

Selected Grants

Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, Internal Research Support Program College of Nursing, UIC, Toward the development of a community-based and youth-focused sexual violence prevention intervention for Arabs in Chicago, Principal Investigator

Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars; Yale University, School of Public Health (NIMH Pilot R25MH087217-09), HIV/STI Risk Behaviors, Mental Health, and Immigration: The Experiences of Immigrants Pre- and Post-Migration, Principal Investigator

UIC Center for Health Equity Research (NIMHD; U54MD012523-01), Toward the development of a community-based and youth-focused sexual violence prevention intervention for Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM) in underserved Arab Communities in Chicago., Principal Investigator

Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, UIC, Intrapartum Inequalities: Birth Experiences and Obstetric Interventions among Immigrant Women in Chicago, Co-Investigator

Selected Publications

Brawner, B., Jemmott, L.S., Hanlon, A., Lozano, A.J., Abboud, S., Ahmed, C., & Wingood, G. (2021). Results from Project Gold: A psychoeducational HIV/STI prevention intervention for Black youth. AIDS Care. In press

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. doi:10.1891/LGBTQ-2020-0001.

Abboud, S., Flores, D., Redmond, L., Brawner, B.M., & Sommers, M.S. (2020). Sexual attitudes and behaviors among Arab American young adults in the United States. Culture, Health, and Sexuality.

Zayed, L., Chebli, P., Shalabi, I., Taha, N., & Abboud, S. (2020). Health assessment of the Arab American community in Southwest Chicago. Journal of Community Health. doi: 10.1007/s10900-020-00791-2.

Naal, H., Abboud, S., Harfoush, O., & Mahmoud, H. (2020). Examining the attitudes and behaviors of healthcare providers towards LGBT patients in Lebanon. Journal of Homosexuality. 67(13):1902-1919. DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2019.1616431.

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

Flores, D., Abboud, S., & Barroso, J. (2019). Hegemonic masculinity during parent-child sex communication with sexual minority male adolescents. American Journal of Sexuality Education. 14(4), 417-439.  doi: 10.1080/15546128.2019.1626312.

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.

Naal, H., Abboud, S., & Mahmoud, H. (2018). Developing an LGBT-Affirming Healthcare Provider Directory in Lebanon. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health. 23(1):107-110. doi:10.1080/19359705.2018.1538919.

Abboud, S., ^De Penning, E., Brawner, B., Menon, U., Glanz, K., & Sommers, M.S. (2017). Cervical cancer screening among Arab women in the United States; an integrative review. Oncology Nursing Forum, 44(1), E20-E33. doi:10.1188/17.ONF.E20-E33.

Publication Aggregators

Notable Honors

2020, 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

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

Selected Presentations

2020             Abboud, S., Abdelrahim, N., Redmond, L., Salem, R., Sharif, E., Velonis, A., Patil, C. (2020). Toward the Development of a Community-Based and Youth-Focused Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Intervention for Arabs in Chicago. Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Global Sex Research Virtual Conference, USA (Oral).    

2019              Bond, K., Flores, D., Williams, P., Ingram, L., Abboud, S., Leonard, N. Young Black Women’s Sexual Socialization in the Home: Implications for Sexual Health and Comprehensive Sex Education for PrEP Utilization among Youth. American Public Health Association, Philadelphia, USA (Oral).

2019               Chebli, P., Abboud, S., Zayed, L., Molina, Y. Exploring cancer risk perceptions in Arab Americans in Chicago: a mixed method study. American Society of Preventive Oncology, Tampa, FL (Poster).

2018              Abboud, S., Naal, H., Mahmoud, H. LGBT Individuals' Perceptions and Experiences within the Healthcare System in Lebanon. Great Debates and Innovations in Sex Research. Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Montreal, Canada (Oral).

2018             Abboud, S., Naal, H., Mahmoud, H. Enhancing Access to Healthcare Services for LGBT Individuals in Lebanon. Great Debates and Innovations in Sex Research. Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Montreal, Canada (Poster).

2017             Abboud, S., Lucas, M.S., Brawner, B., Sommers, M.S. “Everyone Has Their Sexual Morality”: Sexual Attitudes Among Arab Youth in the US.  Sex Research Across Disciplines, Distances, and Decades. Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Oral).

2017             Lucas, M.S., Abboud, S. Arabs in the United States: An example at the center of bioethics. Oral Presentation. American Society for Bioethics and Humanities 2017 Annual Meeting, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

2017             Abboud, S., Mahmoud, H. LebMASH’s history in resilience.  GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality. 35th GLMA Annual Conference on LGBT Health. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (Oral).

2016             Abboud, S., Brawner, B., Sommers, M.S. Exploring healthy sexualities and sexual behaviors in Arab and Arab American youth. Sex Rising: Revolutionary and Emerging Voices in Sexual Science. Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality conference. Phoenix, Arizona, USA (Oral).