Ph.D. Student Profile

Sara Renee Abelson, Master of Public Health

Sara Renee Abelson, Master of Public Health

  • Doctoral Candidate
  • Cognate: Higher Education


  • MPH, Health Behavior & Health Education, University of Michigan (2008)
  • BA, magna cum laude, Cornell University(2006)

Research Interests & Projects

Sara has dedicated her career to transforming schools to support student mental health. She is a Co-Investigator & Lead for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Projects with the Healthy Minds Network and a PhD candidate in public health at the University of Michigan. Her research employs econometric methods to investigate the impact of higher education policies on student mental health, with a goal of identifying opportunities to improve health equity. Sara’s research and programmatic accomplishments have been highlighted by major media outlets including The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, NPR, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She served as the Vice President at the national nonprofit, Active Minds, from 2008-2016, prior to joining UM’s PhD program.

Selected Publications

  • Abelson S, Lipson SK, Zhou S, & Eisenberg D (2020). Muslim Young Adult Mental Health and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. JAMA Pediatrics. Advance Online Publication.
  • Lipson SK, Raifman J, Abelson S & Reisner S (2019). Gender Minority Mental Health in the U.S.: Results of a National Survey on College Campuses. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 57(3): 293-301.
  • Sontag-Padilla L, Dunbar MS, Ye F, Kase C, Fein R, Abelson S, Seelam R, & Stein BD (2018). Strengthening college students' mental health knowledge, awareness, and helping behaviors: The impact of Active Minds, a peer mental health organization. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 57(7), 500-5007.
  • Kosyluk KA, Corrigan PW, Jones J, James D, Abelson S & Malmon A (2016). Promoting a supportive environment on college campuses for students with mental illness. Rehabilitation Research, Policy & Education, 30, 404-420.
  • Abelson S & Eells G (2015). Promoting and protecting student health. Leadership Exchange: Solutions for Student Affairs Management, 13(4), 14-20.
  • Kosyluk K, Schmidt A, Abelson S, Malmon A & Corrigan P (2015). Campus solidarity campaign: respect and support for students with mental illness. Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 19(4), 180 – 190.
  • Michaels PJ, Corrigan PW, Kanodia N, Abelson S & Buchholz BA (2015). Mental health priorities: Stigma elimination and community advocacy in college settings. Journal of College Student Development, 56(8), 872-875.
  • Walther D, Abelson S & Malmon A (2013). Active Minds: Creating peer to peer mental health awareness. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 28(1), 12-22.

Additional Information

  • Association of American Colleges and Universities K. Patricia Cross Scholar (2020)
  • Institute for Social Research Angus Campbell Scholar (2020)
  • Rackham Merit Fellow (2016-2021)
  • Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health Doctoral Trainee (2017-2019)
  • Margaret Dow Towsley Scholar (2017-2018)