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Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

I am a medical sociologist with research and teaching interests in political and policy determinants of health, population health and intersectionality, sexual and gender minority (SGM) and LGBT health, and racial health equity. My previous work has been published in JAMA Network OpenSSM-Population Health, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Social Problems, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, American Behavioral Scientist, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Transgender Health, LGBTQ+ Family: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Journal of Immigrant and Minority HealthJournal of Alzheimer's Disease, 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 and the Associate Director of the Deep South Initiative for Advancing Sexual and Gender Minority Health (DASH). 

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 18% of non-LGBT+ people (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2023)


of LGBT+ people reported needing a mental health service over the past two years compared to 39% of non-LGBT+ people
(Kaiser Family Foundation, 2023)


of diagnoses of HIV infection among adolescents and young adults in the U.S. in 2021 were from male-to-male sexual contact (MMSC)(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


of LGBT+ People report at least one negative experience with a healthcare provider compared to 33% of non-LGBT+ people
(Kaiser Family Foundation, 2023)


of LGBT+ People report a disability or chronic disease that keeps them from participating fully in work, school, housework, or other activities compared to 16% of non-LGBT+ people
Kaiser Family Foundation, 2023)


of HIV diagnoses among MMSC from 2021 were Black MMSC.  Yet Black Americans make up around 13.6% of the U.S. population
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

My research is largely transdisciplinary in that I draw from and combine multiple discipline-specific theories, concepts, and methods from sociology, political science, public health, black studies, and others, to come to a unique conceptual framework that addresses questions of social inequality.

I currently have three main lines of research. The first considers political and policy determinants of health where I investigate the impact political and policy factors have on aggregate and individual health outcomes. The second is centered on population health and intersectionality where I investigate how multiple forms of inequality, such as racism and homophobia, intersect to create disparate population health outcomes. Finally, my research investigates broad questions of community, wellbeing, and health. In this work, I explore how people of color and LGBTQ+ people cope with and challenge inequality, and how specific types of social support and social interactions impact health.



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 Population Health & Intersectionality (POP*HI) Collaborative is a  transdisciplinary team of health equity researchers primarily investigating LGBTQ+ health through a population health and intersectionality lens. 


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.


SSM Population Health.jpg

Neighborhood Cohesion and Psychological Distress Across Race and Sexual Orientation 

Gabe H. Miller, Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde, Erika-Danielle Lindstrom, Verna M. Keith, and Lauren E. Brown

SSM - Population Health, 2022 (Vol 18) 

We investigate the association neighborhood cohesion, as source of social support, has with psychological distress among white, Black, and Latinx lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals, compared to heterosexual individuals in the United States.  We estimate zero-order multinomial logistic regression models to assess the likelihood of moderate and severe psychological distress among respondents. In the models accounting for neighborhood cohesion and all other covariates, white, Black, and Latinx lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals are more likely to meet the criteria for moderate and severe psychological distress than non-LGB people. Neighborhood cohesion has differing impact on psychological distress outcomes by racial/ethnic-sexual orientation groups, but in general provides a greater magnitude of protection against moderate psychological distress for non-LGB groups and a greater magnitude of protection against severe psychological distress for LGB groups.

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