Sarah MacCarthy

Associate Policy Analyst
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in global public health, Harvard School of Public Health; M.P.H. in population and international health, Harvard School of Public Health


Sarah MacCarthy is an associate policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on health services utilization among key populations. Specifically, she has conducted systematic mixed-methods research on access to HIV/AIDS services in Salvador, Brazil, and more recently in Jackson, Mississippi. MacCarthy is trilingual (English, Portuguese, and Spanish), earned her B.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and received her Master's and Doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Selected Publications

MacCarthy, S., Mena, L., Chan, PA., Rose, J., Simmons, D., Riggins, R., Chamberlin, N., Hoffmann,M., Perez-Bruemer, A., Nunn, A., "Characterizing the sexual network profiles and risk factors for STIs among sexual minorities in the Deep American South," LGBT Health, 2(3), 2015

MacCarthy, S., Hoffmann, M., Ferguson, L., Nunn, A., Irvin, R., Bangsberg, D., Gruskin, S., Dourado, I., "The HIV Care Cascade: Models, measures, and moving forward," Journal of the International AIDS Society, 18(1), 2015

MacCarthy, S., Reisner, S., Nunn, A., & Operario, D, "The time is now: Increasing attention to transgender health but scientific knowledge gaps remain," LGBT Health, 0, 2015

MacCarthy, S., Rasanathan, J.K.K.,Crawford, A., Dourado, I. & Gruskin, S., "Contemplating abortion: HIV-positive women’s decision to terminate pregnancy in Brazil," Journal of Culture, Health and Sexuality, 16(2), 2014

MacCarthy, S., Fink, G., Reich, M., Bangsberg, D., Gruskin, S., "Late presentation to HIV/AIDS testing, treatment, or continued care? Clarifying the use of CD4 evaluation in the consensus definition," HIV Medicine, 15(3), 2014

MacCarthy, S., Brignol, S., Reddy, M., Nunn, A., & Dourado, I., "Making the invisible, visible: a cross-sectional study of late presentation to HIV/AIDS services among men who have sex with men from a large urban center of Brazil," BMC Public Health, 14, 2014

Rasanathan, J., MacCarthy, S., Diniz, D., Torreele, E., Gruskin, "Engaging Human Rights in the Response to the Evolving Zika Virus Epidemic," American Journal of Public Health, 0, 0 (forthcoming)

Honors & Awards

  • CFAR Social and Behavioral Science Research Network for Early Career Investigators, Brown University
  • Global Health and Human Rights Fellow, University of Southern California
  • HIV/AIDS Substance Abuse and Trauma Training Program, University of California, Los Angeles


  • A nurse prepares a man to donate blood

    Revisiting Restrictions on Blood Donations from Gay and Bisexual Men

    The FDA does not accept blood from male donors who have had sex with a man in the last 12 months. Is this restriction supported by scientific evidence? Or, is it related to lingering stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS?

    Jul 5, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • Cast members Amber Heard (left), Eddie Redmayne (center), and Alicia Vikander pose during the premiere of "The Danish Girl" in Los Angeles, California, November 21, 2015

    At the 2016 Oscars, Transgender Health Issues Are in the Spotlight

    By inviting 'The Danish Girl' to Hollywood's most prestigious awards party, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is helping to shine a spotlight on transgender issues – and reflecting a larger cultural moment at the same time.

    Feb 26, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • Actor Charlie Sheen on the set of the NBC Today show in New York City, November 17, 2015

    Charlie Sheen and the Enduring Stigma Attached to HIV

    HIV-related stigma and discrimination remains pervasive despite strides that have been made in fighting the disease. Charlie Sheen reported paying more than $10 million in bribes to keep his HIV status secret before going public recently to put an end to the extortion.

    Dec 29, 2015