Dr. Reisner is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist whose overarching research goal is to understand and improve the health and wellbeing of traditionally marginalized and underserved patient populations. His research focuses on: (1) health disparities and inequities, especially in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) populations with specialization in local, national, and global transgender and nonconforming health; (2) epidemiology of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), with biobehavioral intervention design and development for high priority populations; (3) psychiatric epidemiology concentrating in mental health and substance use/abuse risks and resiliencies in adolescents and young adults.


Dr. Reisner is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Scientific Researcher in the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital. The overarching objective of Dr. Reisner’s research is to promote health equity by documenting, understanding, and intervening upon health disparities in vulnerable communities that are traditionally underserved by public health efforts. He uses a participatory population perspective to work “with” not “on” communities in conducting research, guided by community-based participatory research principles.

He earned his Doctorate of Science in social and psychiatric epidemiology from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2013, after which he completed two years of post-doctoral training from 2013-2015 in infectious disease epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Reisner is an Affiliated Research Scientist at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health where he leads a portfolio of public health and clinical research in transgender health.

Mentorship Opportunities

Interested in learning more about Internships, Research Assistant, or Postdoctoral Fellow positions with Dr. Reisner? Please email Lauren Sava, MPH at lauren.Sava@childrens.harvard.edu

Key Publications

  1. Reisner SL, Falb KL, Mimiaga MJ. Early life traumatic stressors and the mediating role of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in incidence HIV infection among U.S. men, comparisons by sexual orientation and race/ethnicity: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, 2004-2005. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2011;57(4):340-350.
  2. Reisner SL, Van Wagenen A, Gordon A, Calzo JP. Disparities in safety belt use by sexual orientation identity among U.S. high school students. Am J Public Health. 2014;104(2):311-318.
  3. Reisner SL, White JM, Bradford J, Mimiaga MJ. Transgender health disparities: Comparing full cohort and nested matched-pair study designs in a community health center. LGBT Health. 2014;1(3):177-184.
  4. Reisner SL, Biello K, Perry NS, Gamarel KE, Mimiaga MJ. A compensatory model of risk and resilience applied to adolescent sexual orientation disparities in non-suicidal self-injury and suicide attempts. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 2014;84(5):545-556.
  5. Reisner SL, Bailey Z, Sevelius J. Racial/ethnic disparities in history of incarceration, experiences of victimization, and associated health indicators among transgender women in the U.S. Women and Health. 2014;54(8):750-767.
  6. Reisner SL, Greytak E, Parsons JP, Ybarra M. Gender minority social stress in adolescence: Disparities in adolescent bullying and substance use by gender identity. Journal of Sex Research. 2015;52(3):243-256.
  7. Reisner SL, Conron KJ, Anatale-Tardiff L, Jarvi S, Gordon AR, Austin SB. 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. 2014;14:1224.
  8. Reisner SL, Vetters R, Leclerc M, Zaslow S, Wolfrum S, Shumer D, Mimiaga MJ. Mental health of transgender youth in care at an adolescent urban community health center: A matched retrospective cohort study. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2015;56(3):274-279.
  9. Reisner SL, Bradford J, Hopwood R, Gonzalez A, Makadon H, Todisco D, Cavanaugh T, VanDerwarker R, Grasso C, Zaslow S, Boswell SL, Mayer K. Comprehensive transgender healthcare: The gender affirming clinical and public health model of Fenway Health. J Urban Health. 2015;92(3):584-592. PMCID: PMC4456472
  10. Reisner SL, Hughto White JM, Dunham EE, Heflin KJ, Begenyi JB, Coffey-Esquivel J, Cahill S. Legal protections in public accommodations settings: A critical public health issue for transgender and gender nonconforming people. Milbank Quarterly 2015;93(3):484-515.

Active Grant Funded Projects:

Domestic Projects:


Preventive Sexual Health Screening Among Female-to-Male (FTM) Transgender Adult Patients

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) CER-1403-12625

Role: PI

This project will conduct a mixed-methods biobehavioral acceptability and feasibility study of cervical cancer and STI preventive screening technologies, including self-swabs, with a sample of 150 female-to-male transgender patients at Fenway Health.



Adapting Couples Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing (CVCT) for Transgender Women and Their Non-Transgender Male Sexual Partners

Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (HU CFAR)

Grant # 2P30AI060354-11

Role: PI

The goal of this study is to culturally-adapt and pilot test CVCT for transgender women and their non-transgender male sexual partners.



Identity Stress and Health in Three Cohorts of LGB Individuals

R01 HD078526

Role: Co-I

This administrative supplement conducts TransPOP, the first ever probability sample study of the U.S. transgender population to describe: (a) demographic parameters of the U.S. transgender population; (b) health outcomes and health behaviors; (c) experiences of transgender people with interpersonal and institutional discrimination; (d) transgender identity history and transition-related experiences.

PI: Ilan Meyer, PhD



Assessing Gender Minority Youth Across the HIV Continuum of Care (Protocol 130): Affirming Voices for Action (AVA)

NICHD U01 HD040533

Role: Protocol Vice-Chair

This study assesses barriers to and facilitators of engagement in each stage of the HIV care continuum for transgender and other gender minority youth. Utilizing a mixed-methods design guided by a developmental socio-ecological framework, the study collects data from diverse adolescents and emerging adults age 16-24 years (both HIV+ and HIV-/unknown status). Funding awarded to the Adolescent Trials Network (ATN) Coordinating Center (PI: Wilson).

Protocol Chair: Gary Harper, PhD, MPH



HIV Prevention Intervention for Young Transgender Women

R01 MH094323

Role: Co-I

The purpose of this two-site study (Boston and Chicago) is to test the efficacy of a uniquely targeted HIV risk reduction intervention (“LifeSkills”) for young transgender women ages 16-29 years at risk for HIV acquisition or transmission.

MPI: Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH & Matthew Mimiaga, ScD, MPH



International Projects:



TOD@S: An Anti-Violence Project for Transgender People in Lima, Peru

Funding Source Not Available for Public Disclosure

Role: PI

The project (TOD@S/UNIC@S) adapts components of Fenway’s Violence Recovery Program to increase capacity of Peruvian partners to systematically respond to violence and human rights violations faced by transgender people. This project is a collaboration between Fenway Health in Boston, MA and the Unit of Health, Sexuality, Human Development in the School of Public Health at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru.

Peru PI: Alfonso Silva-Santisteban, MD, MPH



TransPrEP: Social Network-Based PrEP Adherence for Transgender Women in Peru

NIMH R34 MH10472

Role: MPI

This study aims to develop, refine, and conduct a pilot RCT of a social network-based intervention to promote PrEP adherence as part of a comprehensive, context-specific approach to HIV prevention for transgender women in Lima, Peru.

MPI: Jesse Clark, MD, MSc, Matthew Mimiaga, ScD, MPH, Sari Reisner, ScD



Gender-Affirmative Transgender Care to Improve the HIV Treatment Cascade

The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)

Grant #109071-57-HGMM

Role: Site MPI

This study aims to improve the HIV treatment cascade 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 supported by peer health navigation.

PI: Javier Llama, MD, MPH