sociologist. educator. thought leader. 


high-impact research on the social and policy determinants of health for lgbtq+ people, families, and communities

sociologist. EDUCATOR.thought leader.

​​​Dr. Tara McKay, PhD (she/her), is a sociologist and demographer who studies a range of questions related to health, health disparities, and health policy. Her research examines the social and policy contexts that shape health over the life course, primarily among LGBTQ+ populations in the US and African contexts. She is a nationally recognized expert in the field of LGBTQ population health, policy, and aging. Her work has been cited 2100+ times and engaged with by academic colleagues writing from institutions in over 35 countries. Her research has been supported by over $4.2 million in grants as Principal Investigator from the National Institutes of Health and several smaller awards as Principal Investigator/Co-Investigator from the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Commonwealth Foundation totaling over $1.5 million. She was recently featured on the PBS Aging Matters series (episode: Aging with Pride, June 2022). PBS also produced an 2:30 minute special focusing on the findings of her research. 


Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Health, and Society

Associate Director, LGBTQ+ Policy Lab

Associate Director, Center for Research on Inequality and Health

Vanderbilt University


Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy

Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Alzheimer’s Dementia Research Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Center for Child Health Policy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Vanderbilt University
Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University
Program for LGBTQ Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Tennessee Center for AIDS Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center