Sarah Abboud, PhD, RN

  • Assistant Professor

My research interests are health promotion and disease prevention, with focus on disparities among immigrants and ethnic minorities in the United States, specifically Arabs and Arab Americans. My research interests developed from my clinical and research work in Lebanon, Kuwait, and the US, as well as my Lebanese background. My career highlights include clinical and research work for several years in the areas of sexual health, cancer, and palliative care in diverse communities. Sexual health and cancer are sensitive topics in most Arab societies and therefore, are understudied. I use feminist and health equity lenses to inform my research and to address the several components of sexual health at the intersectionality of different social determinants such as gender, ethnic identity, family, religion, education, immigration, among several other categories.

I completed my BS and MS in Nursing at the American University of Beirut School of Nursing, Lebanon, and my PhD and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, where I was a member of the Centers for Global Women’s Health and Health Equity Research. My dissertation looked at the meanings of virginity and virginity loss among Arab and Arab American women using the phenomenological approach of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. During my post-doctoral fellowship, I investigated the meanings of healthy sexualities and the relationships between ethnic identity, communication with parents about sexuality, and sexual attitudes and behaviors among Arab and Arab American youth through a mixed methods study.

Current Area of Teaching

Qualitative Research (NURS 574)

Selected Honors & Awards
  • 2017 Deatrick Junior Faculty Award, University of Illinois at CHicago College of Nursing
  • 2014-16 Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing. Research on Vulnerable Women, Children and Families (T32NR007100). PI: Marilyn S. Sommers
  • 2014 Ann Wolbert Burgess Endowed Student Dissertation Award, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2014 Teaching Assistant Award, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania 2013 Leboy-Davies Fellowship Award, Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2011 Nurse of the Year Award; American University of Beirut, Alumni Association, Nurses’ Chapter
Selected Publications

Abboud, S., Kim, S., Jacoby, S., Mooney-Doyle, K., Waite, T., Froh, B., Kim, H., Sowicz, T., Kelly, T.A., & Kagan, S. (2017). Co-creation of a pedagogical space to support qualitative inquiry: An advanced qualitative collective. Nurse Education Today, (50), 8-11.

Abboud, S., De Penning, E., Brawner, B., Menon, U., Glanz, K., & Sommers, M.S. (2017). Cervical cancer screening among Arab women in the United States; an integrative review. Oncology Nursing Forum, 44(1), E20-E33. doi: 10.1188/17.ONF.E20-E33.

Alexander, K., Volpe, E.M., Abboud, S., & Campbell, J.C. (2016). Reproductive coercion, sexual risk behaviors, and mental health symptoms among young low-income behaviorally bisexual women: Implications for nursing practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25(23-24), 3533-3544 doi: 10.1111/jocn.13238.

Yazbik Dumit, N., Abboud, S., Massouh, A., & Magilvy, J.K. (2015). Role of the Lebanese family caregivers in cardiac self-care: A collective approach. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24(21-22), 3318-26. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12949.

Abboud, S., Jemmott, L.S, & Sommers, M.S. (2015). “We are Arabs;’ the embodiment of virginity through Arab and Arab American women's lived experiences." Sexuality and Culture, 19(4), 715-736. doi: 10.1007/s12119-015-9286-1.

Abboud, S., Noureddine, S., Abu-Saad Huijer, H., DeJong, J., & Mokhbat, J. (2010). Quality of life in people living with HIV/AIDS in Lebanon. AIDS Care, 22(6); 687-696. doi: 10.1080/09540120903334658

Complete list of published work in my bibliography:

Current Research

Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, UIC (7/1/2017-6/30/2018)
Intrapartum Inequalities: Birth Experiences and Obstetric Interventions among Immigrant Women in Chicago (Role: Co-I) The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether differences in immigration factors (country of birth, length of stay in US, preferred language) contribute to disparities in intrapartum interventions (cesarean sections, inductions) and outcomes (maternal morbidity, neonatal mortality), independent of obstetric risk factors and complications, among immigrant women, compared to US-born women and to compare experiences and perceptions of obstetric care and patient-provider interactions during labor and birth for immigrant and US-born women.

Previous Research

Sigma Theta Tau International, STTI grant (06/01/15-06/30/16)
Exploring Healthy Sexualities and Sexual Behaviors in Arab and Arab American Youth (Role: PI) The purpose of this study is to investigate the meanings of healthy sexualities in Arab and Arab American single youth aged 18-25 living in the United States, and to examine the associations among sexual behaviors, sexual attitudes, parental communication about sexuality, and the Arab ethnic identity.

University of Pennsylvania, Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowship (2015-2016)
Understanding Health and Intimate Partner Violence from the Perspectives of Iraqi Refugees: A Qualitative Study (Role: Consultant) The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the beliefs and health-related decisions of Iraqi women refugees. Additionally, the study explores the women’s perspectives on intimate partner violence (IPV) in general and on facilitators and barriers to IPV disclosure during patient-provider encounters.

University of Pennsylvania, Center for Global Women’s Health (06/01/15-08/01/15)
Exploring Health Behaviors in Arab and Arab American Women; a Feasibility Study for Use of Facebook Advertisement (Role: PI) The purpose of this study is to explore the feasibility of using Facebook advertisement (ad) targeted for recruitment of Arab American women, ages 18 to 35 years in order to investigate rates of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination, HPV infection, and cervical cancer screening in this population.

University of Pennsylvania, Office of Nursing Research (4/01/12-04/01/14)
Understanding Virginity from the Perspectives of Arab American Women: A Phenomenological Approach (Role: PI) The purpose of this qualitative study, using a phenomenological approach, is to gain in-depth understanding of the meanings of virginity from perspectives of Arab American women.