Sari L. Reisner, Sc.D., joins U-M as newest Eisenberg Family Depression Center faculty recruit


Sarah Acree

Sari L. Reisner, Sc.D. (he/him), a globally recognized leader in transgender health research, has joined the University of Michigan as the newest Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg and Family Depression Center faculty recruit, effective January 1, 2024. Dr. Reisner joins the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health as an associate professor, with tenure.

“We are so excited to welcome Dr. Reisner to the Department of Epidemiology,” said Belinda Needham, Ph.D., M.A., chair of the department of Epidemiology. “To have one of the world's leading experts in sexual and gender minority health at the University of Michigan is incredible.”

Reisner comes to U-M from Harvard University where he served as an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology. Additionally, Reisner was the director of transgender research at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the director of transgender research at The Fenway Institute. He holds degrees from Georgetown University, Brandeis University, and Harvard University where he earned his doctorate of science and completed his postdoctoral research fellowship in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

Reisner has spent the last decade becoming a preeminent voice in transgender research, exploring health inequities in stigmatized populations at a global scale. He applies existing frameworks to gender-diverse populations using a participatory population perspective to ensure that the research he is conducting is “with” the relevant communities and not “on” those he is researching.

“Dr. Reisner is an international leader in transgender mental health,” said Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., director, Eisenberg Family Depression Center. “Working with collaborative partners at the Center and U-M broadly, he will lead highly impactful work in this critically important area.”

Reisner has a robust history of scientific productivity. He has co-authored more than 300 publications and his work has been cited over 25,000 times. His publication history includes a landmark paper on the global health burden of transgender populations. Published in 2016, this paper highlighted a heightened prevalence of adverse health outcomes in transgender people, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to gender-affirming care as a public health framework.

His novel approach has earned him recognition from institutions around the world. In 2016, he was profiled as a global leader in transgender health research in The Lancet. Since then, Reisner has been appointed to multiple organizations that provide guidance and recommendations for transgender care globally.

The search was conducted by an interdisciplinary faculty search committee representing units from across the University of Michigan campus and Michigan Medicine, including Craig Rodriguez-Seijas, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology. “Dr. Reisner is a leading expert in understanding health disparities and psychiatric vulnerability among diverse and underrepresented groups, as well as social factors driving HIV infection,” said Rodriguez-Seijas. “We are thrilled to have Dr. Reisner’s expertise within the Eisenberg Family Depression Center as well as the University of Michigan more broadly.”

When asked about what attracted Reisner to the opportunity, he shared that his interest extended beyond the university’s reputation. “Mental health inequities are remediable. But they require creative and community-engaged solutions with multidisciplinary teams,” said Reisner. “I'm looking forward to the chance to enhance my existing global partnerships and to build new ones at U-M to create strategic science for social justice and health equity.”

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