Sari L. Reisner

Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology

Department of Epidemiology

I am Director of Transgender Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital based in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension. I have academic appointments as Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I am also a Research Scientist and Director of Transgender Health Research at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health where I lead a global portfolio of community-engaged transgender health research. Trained as a social and psychiatric epidemiologist, my research focuses on: (1) health disparities and inequities in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) populations, with specialization in transgender and gender diverse population health; (2) epidemiology of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including development and design of biobehavioral interventions in traditionally underserved populations; and (3) psychiatric epidemiology of mental health and substance use risks and resiliencies across adolescence and young adulthood. I use a participatory population perspective to work “with” not “on” communities in research and evaluation, education and training, and policy and advocacy efforts.


  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2013-2015
  • ScD, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2009-2013
  • MA, Brandeis University, 2004-2006
  • BA, Georgetown University, 1997-2001

Research Affiliations:

Currently Funded Domestic (U.S.) Projects:

  1. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) #AD-2017C1-6569: Reisner (PI) 2018-2021. PCORI: Transgender Cohort Study of Gender Affirmation and HIV-Related Health. The goal of this study is to evaluate the effects of medical gender affirmation on HIV-related outcomes across 12-months of biobehavioral follow-up in a longitudinal cohort of 4,500 transgender adult primary care patients at Fenway Health in Boston and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City. Role: PI
  2. NIAID UH3 AI133669: Wirtz & Reisner (MPIs) 2017-2022. American Cohort to Study HIV Acquisition Among Transgender Women in High Risk Areas. The purpose of this study is to estimate HIV incidence and related risks in a six-site cohort of transgender women (Baltimore, Washington DC, Boston, New York, Miami, Atlanta). Role: MPI
  3. NIAID UH3 AI13366: Wirtz & Reisner (MPIs) 2020-2022. LITE CONNECT: Addressing Testing Gaps and Epidemiologic Disparities of COVID-19 Among Transgender People in the United States. The purpose of this supplemental study is to characterize access and barriers to COVID-19 testing, evaluate home-based COVID-19 antibody testing to identify past infection and potential immunity, and assess community-based solutions to support access to COVID-19 testing, interventions, and care among 2,000 transgender people in the US. Role: MPI

Currently Funded Global Health Projects:

  1. NIAID UM1 AI068619, HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN): Cohen (PI). Poteat & Reisner (Protocol Co-Chairs) 2021-2023. HPTN Protocol 091: Integrating HIV Prevention, Gender-Affirmative Medical Care, and Peer Health Navigation to Prevent HIV Acquisition and HIV Transmission for Transgender Women in the Americas: A Vanguard Feasibility and Acceptability Study. The purpose of this study is to assess the feasibility, acceptability, preliminary impact of a multi-component strategy that provides HIV prevention services, gender-affirming hormone therapy, and Peer Health Navigation to improve pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and adherence among transgender women. Role: Protocol Co-Chair
  2. NIMH R21 MH118110: Reisner & Silva-Santisteban (MPIs) 2019-2021. HIV Risk and psychosocial health among young transgender women in Peru. The purpose of this study is to characterize the prevalence, distribution, and correlates of HIV infection and related STI co-infections in young transgender women ages 16-24 years in Lima, Peru, and assess co-occurring mental health and psychosocial conditions and their influence on HIV transmission risk. Role: PI
  3. Funding source not for public disclosure: Reisner (U.S. PI), Silva-Santisteban (Peru site PI) 2015-2021. UNICXS/TOD@S: An Anti-Violence Project for Transgender People in Peru. The goal of this project is to implement an anti-violence reporting and response network to address the pervasive violence and human rights violations faced by transgender people in Peru (UNICXS). Role: PI

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications (out of 225+):

Poteat, T., Malik, M., Wirtz, A.L., Cooney, E.E., Reisner S.L. (2020). Understanding HIV risk and vulnerability among cisgender men with transgender partners. Lancet HIV, 7(3):e201-e208. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3018(19)30346-7

Peitzmeier, S.M., Malik, M., Kattari, S.K., Marrow, E., Stephenson, R., Agénor, M., Reisner, S.L. (2020). Intimate Partner Violence in Transgender Populations: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prevalence and Correlates. Am J Public Health, 110(9):e1-e14. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2020.305774.

Reisner, S.L., Chaudhry, A., Cooney, E., Garrison-Desany, H., Juarez-Chavez, E., Wirtz, A.L. (2020). ‘It all dials back to safety’: A qualitative study of social and economic vulnerabilities among transgender women participating in HIV research in the USA. BMJ Open, 10(1):e029852. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029852

Reisner, S.L., Sava, L.M., Menino, D.D., Perrotti, J., Barnes, T.N., Humphrey, D.L., Nikitin, R.V., Earnshaw, V.A. (2020). Addressing LGBTQ student bullying in Massachusetts schools: Perspectives of LGBTQ students and school health professionals. Prev Sci, 21(3):408-421. doi: 10.1007/s11121-019-01084-4

Reisner, S.L., Moore, C.S., Asquith, A., Pardee, D.J., Sarvet, A., Mayer, G., Mayer, K.H. (2019). High risk and low uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV acquisition in a national online sample of transgender men who have sex with men in the United States. J Int AIDS Soc, 22(9): e25391. doi: 10.1002/jia2.25391

Reisner, S.L. & White Hughto, J.M. (2019). Comparing the health of non-binary and binary transgender adults in a statewide non-probability sample. PLoS One, 14(8): e0221583. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0221583

Lipson, S.K., Raifman, J., Abelson, S., Reisner, S.L. (2019). Gender minority mental health in the U.S.: Results of a national survey on college campuses. Am J Prev Med, 57(3): 293-301. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2019.04.025

Stark, B., White Hughto, J.M., Charlton, B.M., Deutsch, M.B., Potter, J., Reisner, S.L. (2019). The contraceptive and reprodutive history and planning goals of trans masculine adults: A mixed methods study. Contraception, 100(6): 468-473. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2019.07.146

Reisner, S.L., Jadwin-Cakmak, L., Sava, L., Liu, S., Harper, G.W. (2019). Situated vulnerabilities, sexual risk, and sexually transmitted infections’ diagnoses in a sample of transgender youth in the United States. AIDS Patient Care STDs, 33(3): 120-130. doi: 10.1089/apc.2018.0249

Chaudhry, A.B. & Reisner S.L. (2019). Disparities by sexual orientation persist for major depressive episode and substance abuse or dependence: Findings from a national probability study of adults in the United States. LGBT Health, 6(5): 261-266. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2018.0207

Reisner, S.L., Deutsch, M.B., Peitzmeier, S.M., White Hughto, J.M., Cavanaugh, T.P., Pardee, D.J., McLean, S.A., Panther, L.A., Gelman, M., Mimiaga, M.J., Potter, J.E. (2018). Test performance and acceptability of self- versus provider-collected swabs for high-risk HPV DNA testing in female-to-male trans masculine patients. PLoS One, 13(3): e0190172. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190172

Reisner, S.L., Randazzo, R.K., White Hughto, J.M., Peitzmeier, S., DuBois, L.Z., Pardee, D.J., Marrow, E., McLean, S., Potter, J. (2018). Sensitive health topics with underserved patient populations: Methodological considerations for online focus group discussions. Qual Health Res, 28(10):1658-1673. doi: 10.1177/1049732317705355

Reisner, S.L., Jadwin-Cakmak, L., White Hughto, J.M., Martinez, M., Salomon, L., Harper, G.W.  (2017). Characterizing the HIV prevention and care continua in a sample of transgender youth in the U.S. AIDS Behav, 21(12):3312-3327. doi: 10.1007/s10461-017-1938-8

Restar, A.J. & Reisner, S.L. (2017). Protect trans people: gender equality and equity in action. Lancet, 390 (10106): 1933-1935. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31823-8

Earnshaw, V.A., Reisner, S.L., Juvonen, J., Hatzenbuehler, M.L., Perrotti, J., Schuster, M.A. (2017). LGBTQ Bullying: Translating Research to Action in Pediatrics. Pediatrics, 140(4): pii: e20170432. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-0432

Meyer, I.H., Brown, T.N., Herman, J.L., Reisner, S.L., Bockting, W.O. (2017). Demographic characteristics and health status of transgender adults in select US regions: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014. Am J Public Health, 107(4): 582-589. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303648

Riley, N.C., Blosnich, J.R., Bear, T.M., Reisner, S.L. (2017). Vocal timbre and the classification of respondent sex in US phone-based surveys. Am J Public Health, 107(8): 1290-1294.  doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303834

Pega, F., Reisner, S.L., Sell, R.L., Veale, J.F. (2017) Transgender Health: New Zealand’s Innovative Statistical Standard for Gender Identity. Am J Public Health, 107(2): 217-221. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303465

Deutsch, M.B., Radix, A., Reisner, S.L. (2016). What’s in a guideline? Developing collaborative and sound research designs that substantiate best practice recommendations for transgender health care. AMA J Ethics, 18(11): 1098-1106. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2016.18.11.stas1-1611

Reisner, S.L., Radix, A., Deutsch, M.B. (2016). Integrated and gender-affirming transgender clinical care and research. JAIDS, 72(s3): s235-s242. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001088

White Hughto, J.M. & Reisner, S.L. (2016). A systematic review of the effects of hormone therapy on psychological functioning and quality of life in transgender individuals. Transgender Health, 1(1): 21-31. doi: 10.1089/trgh.2015.0008

Reisner, S.L., Poteat, T., Keatley, J., Cabral, M., Mothopeng, T., Dunham, E., Holland, C.E., Max, R., Baral, S.D. (2016). Global health burden and needs of transgender populations: A review. Lancet, 388(10042): 412-436. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00684-X

Schuster, M.A., Reisner, S.L., Onorato, S.E. (2016). Beyond bathrooms–Meeting the health needs of transgender people. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(2), 101-103. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1605912.

Reisner, S.L., Deutsch, M.B., Bhasin, S., Bockting, W., Brown, G.R., Feldman, J., Garofalo, R., Kreukels, B., Radix, A., Safer, J.D., Tangpricha, V., T’Sjoen, G., Goodman, M. (2016). Advancing methods for US transgender health research. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity, 23(2), 198-207. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000229

Reisner, S.L., Biello, K.B., White Hughto, J.M., Kuhns, L., Mayer, K.H., Garofalo, R., Mimiaga, M.J. (2016). Psychiatric diagnoses and comorbidities in a diverse, multicity cohort of young transgender women: Baseline findings from Project LifeSkills. JAMA Pediatrics, 170(5), 481-486. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0067

Reisner, S.L., Vetters, R., Leclerc, M., Zaslow, S., Wolfrum, S., Shumer, D., Mimiaga, M.J. (2015). Mental health of transgender youth in care at an adolescent urban community health center: A matched retrospective cohort study. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(3), 274-279. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.10.264

Reisner, S.L., Hughto White, J.M., Dunham, E.E., Heflin, K.J., Begenyi, J.B., Coffey-Esquivel, J., Cahill, S. (2015). Legal protections in public accommodations settings: A critical public health issue for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Milbank Quarterly, 93(3), 484-515. doi: 10.111/1468-0009.12127

Reisner, S.L., Bradford, J., Hopwood, R., Gonzalez, A., Makadon, H., Todisco, D., Cavanaugh, T., VanDerwarker, R., Grasso, C., Zaslow, S., Boswell, S.L., Mayer, K. (2015). Comprehensive transgender healthcare: The gender affirming clinical and public health model of Fenway Health. Journal of Urban Health, 92(3), 584-592. doi: 10.1007/s11524-015-9947-2

Reisner, S.L., Greytak, A., Parsons, J.P., Ybarra, M. (2015). Gender minority social stress in adolescence: Disparities in adolescent bullying and substance use by gender identity. Journal of Sex Research, 52(3), 243-256. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2014.886321

Reisner, S.L., Conron, K.J., Anatale-Tardiff, L., Jarvi, S., Gordon, A.R., Austin, S.B. (2014). Monitoring the health of transgender and other gender minority populations: Validity of natal sex and gender identity survey items in a U.S. national cohort of young adults. BMC Public Health, 14, 1224. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1224

Reisner, S.L., Biello, K., Rosenberger, J.G., Austin, S.B., Haneuse, S., Perez-Brumer, A., Novak, D.S., Mimiaga, M.J. (2014). A two-step method to measure transgender identity in Latin America/the Caribbean, Portugal, and Spain. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(8):1503-14. doi: 1007/s10508-014-0314-2

Peitzmeier, S.M., Khullar, K., Reisner, S.L., Potter, J. (2014). Pap test use is lower among female-to-male patients than non-transgender women. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47(6), 808-812. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.07.031

Reisner, S.L., Bailey, Z., Sevelius, J. (2014). Racial/Ethnic disparities in history of incarceration, experiences of victimization, and associated health indicators among transgender women in the U.S. Women and Health, 54(8), 750-769.doi: 10.1080/03630242.2014.93289

Reisner, S.L., Conron, K.J., Scout, Nfn., Mimiaga, M.J., Haneuse, S., Austin, S.B. (2014). Comparing in-person and online survey respondents in the U.S. National Transgender Discrimination Survey: Implications for transgender health research. LGBT Health, 1(2), 98-106. doi:10.1089/lgbt.2013.0018

Reisner, S.L., Gamarel, K.E., Nemoto, T., Operario D. (2014). Dyadic effects of gender minority stressors in substance use behaviors among transgender women and their non-transgender male partners. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1(1), 63-71. doi: 10.1037/0000013

Reisner, S.L., Van Wagenen, A., Gordon, A., Calzo, J.P. (2014). Disparities in safety belt use by sexual orientation identity among US high school students. American Journal of Public Health, 104(2), 311-318. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301745

Poteat, T., Reisner, S.L., Radix, A. (2014). HIV epidemics among transgender women. Current Opinion HIV/AIDS, 9(2), 168-173. doi: 10.1097/COH.0000000000000030

Rosario, M., Reisner, S.L., Corliss, H.L., Wypij, D., Frazier, A.L., Austin, S.B. (2013). Disparities in depressive distress by sexual orientation in emerging adults: The roles of attachment and stress paradigms. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(5), 901-916. doi: 10.1007/s10508-013-0129-6

Mimiaga, M.J., Reisner, S.L., Grasso, C., Crane, H.M., Safren, S.A., Kitahata, M.M., Schumacher, J.E., Mathews, W.C., Mayer, K.H. (2013). Substance use among HIV-infected patients engaged in primary care in the United States: Findings from the Center for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems cohort. American Journal of Public Health, 103(8), 1457-1467. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301162

Reisner, S.L., Falb K.L., Van Wagenen, A.V., Grasso, C., Bradford, J. (2013). Sexual orientation disparities in substance misuse: The role of childhood abuse and intimate partner violence among patients in care at an urban community health center. Substance Use & Misuse, 48(3), 274-289. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2012.75570

Reisner, S.L., Mimiaga, M., Bland, S.E., Driscoll, M.A., Cranston, K., Mayer, K.H. (2012). Pathways to embodiment of HIV risk: Black men who have sex with transgender partners, Boston, Massachusetts. AIDS Education and Prevention, 24(1), 15-26. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2012.24.1.15

Reisner, S.L., Falb, K.L., Mimiaga, M.J. (2011). Early life traumatic stressors and the mediating role of PTSD in incident HIV infection among US men, comparisons by sexual orientation and race/ethnicity: Results from the NESARC, 2004-2005. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 57(4), 340-350. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31821d36b4

Reisner, S.L., Perkovich, B., Mimiaga, M.J. (2010). A mixed methods study of the sexual health needs of New England transmen who have sex with nontransgender men. AIDS Patient Care STDs, 24(8), 501-513. doi: 10.1089/apc.2010.0059

Reisner, S.L., Mimiaga, M.J., Johnson, C.V., Bland, S., Case, P., Safren, S.A., Mayer, K.H. (2010). What makes a respondent-driven sampling “seed” productive? Example of finding at-risk Massachusetts men who have sex with men.  Journal of Urban Health, 87(3), 467-479. doi: 10.1007/s11524-010-9439-3

Mentorship Opportunities:

Interested in finding out about available research opportunities with me? Please email me ( and cc Mr. Dana Pardee (Epidemiology Projects Manager; for more information.

Completed Grant-Funded Research:

  1. NICHD R01 HD090468: Meyer (PI) 2016-2018. NICHD: U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey (TransPOP). The goal of this study is to conduct, for the first time in the U.S. a national probability sample of transgender adults to describe the basic characteristics of the U.S. transgender adult population, compare health outcomes of the transgender population with the general adult population, and assess minority stress and coping processes as predictors of health outcomes and health disparities. Role: Co-I
  2. Harvard Catalyst, Health Disparities Program: Addressing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Health Disparities Through Translational Research. Reisner (PI) 2017-2018. Increasing the Capacity of School Health Professionals to Address LGBTQ Student Bullying. The goal of this project is to develop and pilot test an intervention to increase the capacity of school health professionals to prevent, identify, and address bullying of LGBTQ students. Role: PI
  3. Boston Children’s Hospital OFD/BTREC/CTREC Faculty Development Fellowship: Reisner (PI) 2016-2018. Advancing U.S. Transgender Health Research. The goal of this research is to advance U.S. transgender population health research and inform clinical care via analysis  and dissemination of national datasets. Role: PI
  4. Boston Children’s Hospital Aerosmith Endowment Fund for Prevention and Treatment of AIDS and HIV Infection 2017-2018. A National Study of HIV- and STI-Related Outcomes in U.S. Transgender Youth. The goal of this research is to characterize HIV- and STI-related outcomes in a U.S. national sample of diverse transgender youth ages 16-24 years drawn from 14 geographic clinic catchment areas. Role: PI
  5. U24 HD089880: Hill (PI) 2016-2018. ATN 151: Work-to-Prevent: Employment as HIV Prevention for Young Men Who Have Sex with Men and Young Transgender Women. The goal of this study is to adapt and pilot test and effective theoretically-driven employment program for HIV-positive adults (iFOUR) to the needs of at-risk young men who have sex with men and young transgender women of color ages 16-24 years. Role: Co-I
  6. NIMH R34 MH104072: Clark, Mimiaga, Reisner (MPIs) 2014-2017. NIMH: TransPrEP: Social Network-Based PrEP Adherence Intervention for Transgender Women in Peru. The purpose of this study is to develop and conduct a pilot RCT of a social network-based intervention to promote pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) adherence among transgender women in Lima, Peru. Role: MPI
  7. amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research Grant #109071-57-HGMM: Llama (PI) 2014-2017. amFAR: Gender-Affirmative Transgender Care to Improve the HIV Treatment Cascade in Transgender Women in Peru. The aim of this study is to improve the HIV cascade of care among transgender women in Peru via an innovative implementation science service delivery model that integrates HIV prevention and treatment services with gender-affirming transgender medical care (e.g., feminizing hormones) supported by peer health navigation. Role: U.S. MPI
  8. NICHD U01 HD040533: Wilson (PI). Adolescent Trials Network (ATN) Protocol 130 Harper (Protocol Chair) 2014-2016. Assessing the Engagement of Transgender and Other Gender Minority Youth Across the HIV Continuum of Care. This U.S. national study aims to assess the barriers to and facilitators of engagement in each stage of the continuum of HIV care for gender minority youth across 14 ATN sites. Utilizing a mixed methods design guided by a developmental socio-ecological framework, the study collects data from diverse transgender and other gender minority youth age 16-24 years of any HIV serostatus. Role: Protocol Vice-Chair
  9. NICHD R01 HD078526: Meyer (PI) 2015-2016. Administrative Supplement to Identity Stress and Health in Three Cohorts of LGB Individuals. This administrative supplement conducts TransPOP, the first ever probability sample study of the U.S. transgender population. The aims are to describe: (a) demographic parameters of the U.S. transgender population; (b) health outcomes and behaviors; (c) experiences with interpersonal and institutional discrimination; (d) transgender identity history and transition experiences. Role: Co-I
  10. NIMH R01 MH094323: Garofalo & Mimiaga (MPIs) 2011-2016. NIMH: HIV Prevention Intervention for Young Transgender Women. The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy of a uniquely targeted group-based empowerment-focused HIV risk reduction intervention (“LifeSkills”) for young transgender women, ages 16 to 29 years in Chicago IL and Boston MA, at risk for HIV acquisition or transmission. Role: Co-I
  11. NIMH R01 MH094323: Garofalo & Mimiaga (MPIs); Reisner (PI of administrative supplement) 2014-2016. NIMH: Administrative Supplement to HIV Prevention Intervention for Young Transgender Women. This administrative supplement aims to adapt and pilot test a sexual risk reduction intervention (“LifeSkills for Men”) with young transgender men who have sex with cisgender males (TMSM) ages 18 to 29 years in the Boston area at risk for HIV acquisition or transmission. Role: PI of administrative supplement
  12. Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (HU CFAR): Reisner (PI) 2015-2017. HU CFAR: Adapting Couples Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing (CVCT) for Transgender Women and Their Non-Transgender Male Sexual Partners. The goal of this study (Project LUST) is to culturally-adapt and pilot test CVCT for transgender women and their non-transgender male sexual partners. Role: PI
  13. NIDA R03 DA042226: Parent (PI) 2016-2017. NIDA: Minority Stress, Substance/ Alcohol Use, and Non-Prescription Testosterone Among Transgender Female-to-Males. The goal of this research is to investigate the relationships among minority stress, body image distress, use of substances/ alcohol, and use of non-prescription testosterone among FTM individuals. Role: Co-I
  14. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) CER-1403-12625: Reisner (PI) 2014-2017. PCORI: Preventive Sexual Health Screening Among Female-to-Male (FTM) Transgender Adult Patients. The goal of this mixed-methods biobehavioral study is to assess the performance characteristics and acceptability of self- vs provider-collected swabs for HPV DNA detection and other STIs among FTM transgender adults (Trans Masculine Sexual Health Collaborative). Role: PI


  1. Sari Reisner–Making Transgender Health Visible. Lancet 2016; 388(10042):332.