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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 disparities. My previous work has been published in JAMA Network OpenSSM-Population Health, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 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 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.


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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