We are a partnership of scholars across multiple disciplines working collaboratively to share, produce, analyze, and promote leading research in health inequality.



Christopher "Kitt" Carpenter, Ph.D. (he/him/his)

E. Bronson Ingram Chair and University Distinguished Professor of Economics and Health Policy
College of Arts & Science
School of Medicine

Dr. Carpenter is a health and labor economist who studies the effects of public policies on health and family outcomes. He has specific expertise in LGBTQ+ demography and health policy evaluation. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received major grants from the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Cancer Society. He is the founder and director of the Vanderbilt LGBTQ+ Policy Lab and has affiliated appointments in the Department of Medicine, Health, and Society; Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies; the Law School; and Peabody College.

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Tara McKay, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society
College of Arts & Science

Dr. McKay is a sociologist who focuses her research on the social and policy contexts that shape health among sexual and gender minority populations in the U.S. and globally. She has affiliated appointments with the Department of Sociology, the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health and serves as Associate Director of the Vanderbilt LGBTQ+ Policy Lab. Dr. McKay is Principal Investigator of VUSNAPS, a major National Institute on Aging-funded study of older LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. South.

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Shelagh Mulvaney, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)

Associate Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing

Dr. Mulvaney is a health psychologist who focuses on the design and evaluation of technology-mediated health behavior change systems. Her technology interventions have improved outcomes for youth and adults living with diabetes, including people receiving care in federally qualified health centers. Reducing psychosocial barriers to care, patient engagement, social learning mechanisms and real-time assessment of behavior for personalized feedback have been central to the success of the programs. Dr. Mulvaney is currently Principal Investigator on two research projects focused on social determinants of health in people living with comorbid HIV and type 2 diabetes funded by the NIH and a clinical informatics program to reduce psychosocial barriers to self-management funded by the American Diabetes Association. She has a secondary appointment in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the School of Medicine.

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Faculty Affiliates

Postdoctoral Affiliates


  • Mikey Pastrana (he/him/his)

    Mikey Pastrana (he/him/his)

    Program Coordinator

  • Matt Zumwalt (he/him/his)

    Matt Zumwalt (he/him/his)

    Administrative Specialist