Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

I am a medical sociologist with research and teaching interests in racial health disparities, political and policy determinants of health, LGBT health, critical race theory and racism, and racial and ethnic relations. My previous work has been published in SSM-Population Health, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, and Gender in Management: An International Journal.

I received a B.A. in Political Science and Africana Studies and a Ph.D. in Sociology with concentrations in health disparities and race and ethnicity from Texas A&M University.  I am currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Department of Sociology. 

Racism, homophobia, and transphobia diminish the health of people of color and LGBT individuals through structural mechanisms of inequality, discrimination, stigmatization, and minority stress. 


of LGBT+ People report being in fair or poor health compared to 14% of non-LGBT+ people (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2021)


of LGBT+ women aged 40-64 have had a mammogram in the past two years compared to 64% of non-LGBT+ people
(Kaiser Family Foundation, 2021)


of diagnoses of HIV infection among adolescents and young adults in the U.S. in 2019 were from male-to-male sexual contact (MMSC)(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019)


of LGBT+ People report at least one negative experience with a healthcare provider compared to 14% of non-LGBT+ people
(Kaiser Family Foundation, 2021)


of LGBT+ People report a disability or chronic disease that keeps them from participating fully in work, school, housework, or other activities compared to 14% of non-LGBT+ people
(Kaiser Family Foundation, 2021)


of HIV diagnoses among MMSC from 2015 thorough 2019 were Black MMSC.  Yet Black Americans make up around 13.4% of
the U.S. population

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019)

My research lies at the intersection of medical sociology, sociology of race and ethnicity, and political sociology.  Theoretically, I argue that research in the social determinants of health have largely overlooked the impact of political and policy factors in health outcomes and that political epidemiology should be prioritized in the study of health.  

My overarching goals are to investigate the mechanisms and implications of intersecting modes of social inequality and stratification.  In particular, I am interested in the health of sexual and gender minorities and how racism intersects with homophobia and transphobia to present health inequities for sexual and gender minorities.


LGBT-Protective Policy

Using a novel dataset with more than 40 state-level LGBT-protective policy measures  related to parenting and relationships, hate crimes and criminal justice, non-discrimination, religion, school and youth, and health and safety, I examine the impact of state-level policy on individual and aggregate health outcomes, including HIV/AIDS, mental health, physical health, health access, and health behaviors.  

The Survey on Intersectional Health Disparities examines how the health status of LGBT adults varies by sexual orientation/gender identity, racial/ethnic identity, and the intersections of these identities.

COVID-19 Dating Project

 Early interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic suggested four frames for dealing with risk associated with COVID-19 while dating: 1) Unconcern About Risk; 2) Preliminary Risk Assessment; 3) Active Risk Negotiation; and 4) Risk Averse (Williams, Miller, and Marquez-Velarde 2021).  Our current research analyzes survey data from over 1,000 respondents related to dating behaviors and COVID-19 risk.



COVID Compatibility and Risk Negotiation in Online Dating during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Apryl A. Williams, Gabe H. Miller, and Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde

American Behavioral Scientist, 2021 (Vol 65, Issue 14)

We interviewed 31 individuals about their online dating life and behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. We use literature on risk and health behaviors to generate four frames for dealing with risk associated with COVID-19 while dating: 1) Unconcerned about Risk, 2) Preliminary Risk Assessment, 3) Active Risk Negotiation, and 4) Risk Aversion. Further, we argue that risk perception causes daters to use implicit and explicit communication about health behaviors to determine COVID compatibility, a state of being in agreement with a partner about how to best minimize risk of contracting COVID-19. Daters want to know that their partner is behaving with similar regard for health guidance and that they are doing their best to keep those in their communities safe. Though daters may transition between frames throughout the course of the pandemic, we use these four frames to identify sets of beliefs, routines, and personal health practices across our sample that have relevance for social scientists, health communication scholars, and health care practitioners.