UAB School of Public Health appoints first Magic City LGBTQ Health Studies Endowed Professorship

The UAB School of Public Health’s new Magic City LGBTQ Health Studies Endowed Professorship aims to champion research and education and address health disparities among the LGBTQ community in Alabama and the Deep South. 

Written by: Maria White
Media contact: Hannah Echols

Exterior of Ryals Public Health Building, 2018.Ryals Public Health Building
(Photography: Bruce Southerland)
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health has appointed Sarah MacCarthy, Sc.D., as the first holder of the Magic City LGBTQ Health Studies Endowed Professorship. The professorship is the first of its kind in the country as well as in the Deep South, a region where LGBTQ individuals are limited in their ability to access quality services, despite being vulnerable to a range of health problems.

MacCarthy joins UAB as an associate professor in the School of Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior focused on LGBTQ health. In this position, she will champion research, education and service in the field of LGBTQ health.  

“It is an absolute honor to have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with local LGBTQ communities to address the dramatic health inequities faced by our LGBTQ friends and family members,” MacCarthy said. “This position creates a platform for me to work with diverse stakeholders to elevate ongoing efforts and generate additional attention regarding the ways in which we can better advance the health and well-being of LGBTQ communities here in Birmingham and beyond.” 

Sarah MacCarthy, Sc.D.Sarah MacCarthy, Sc.D.
(Photography: School of Public Health)
MacCarthy developed a national reputation as a researcher of racially and ethnically diverse sexual and gender minority populations, having published over 60 peer-reviewed papers. She joins UAB with extensive experience as both a researcher and educator, most recently from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, where she was both a faculty member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School and a policy researcher conducting studies focused on the critical health issues that affect the unique needs of LGBTQ communities both locally and globally. 

MacCarthy grew up in Swaziland and Egypt, then later spent substantial time living and working in Argentina, Malawi and Brazil. She holds both master’s and doctoral degrees in science from the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health. MacCarthy started working in LGBTQ health as an ally once she started to see the disproportionate impact of HIV and other diseases affecting her LGBTQ friends and family. 

Learn more about the Magic City LGBTQ Health Studies Endowed Professorship initiative here.

“This professorship has been an important goal for our school over the past five years and will provide the opportunity to dedicate ample time, talent and resources to better address the dramatic health disparities impacting the LGBTQ population both in Alabama and across the nation,” said Paul Erwin, M.D., DrPH, dean of the UAB School of Public Health. “On behalf of our school, I want to formally welcome Dr. Sarah MacCarthy to lead what’s just the beginning of this important education, research and service. I want to thank our generous donors who helped make this idea a reality, and I want to acknowledge the visionary work that Dean Emeritus Max Michael initiated that has resulted in this appointment of Dr. MacCarthy.”  

To establish this professorship, the UAB School of Public Health launched a fundraising campaign in 2017, led by then Dean Max Michael, and continued through the school’s Director of Development Ebony Harris and Dean Paul Erwin. Funding has been generously provided by UAB faculty, staff, researchers, members of the LGBTQ community and their allies. To learn more about this initiative, click here.