Sarah D. Mills, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
305 Rosenau Hall
CB # 7440
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Dr. Sarah D. Mills is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Mills examines the roles that the neighborhood in which one lives and public policy play in racial and socioeconomic disparities in tobacco use. She also validates measures of health outcomes. 

Dr. Mills published one of the first national studies documenting disproportionate advertising for menthol cigarettes in Black communities in the United States. Her research is currently supported by a Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award in Tobacco Regulatory Research (K01), funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Food and Drug Administration. She is using microsimulation modeling to estimate the impact of a national menthol cigarette ban on tobacco use, cardiovascular disease and cancer, with a focus on health disparities between demographic groups. 

She teaches Scale Development Methods in the doctoral program in the Department of Health Behavior. The class provides students with foundational knowledge in measure development and psychometric evaluation. Dr. Mills has examined the psychometric properties of several health-related measures, including the widely-used Patient Health Questionnaire-4 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 scales among English- and Spanish-speaking Latinos.

Sarah Mills in the Gillings News

Research Activities

- Tobacco control

- Health disparities

- Cancer

- Measurement

Key Publications

Are state-level income-based disparities in adult smoking declining? Mills, S. D., Golden, S. D., Queen, T. L., Kong, A. Y., & Ribisl, K. M. (2020). Preventive Medicine.

Disparities in retail marketing for menthol cigarettes in the United States, 2015. Mills, S. D., Henriksen, L., Golden S. D., Kurtzman, R., Kong, A. Y., Queen, T. L., & Ribisl, K. M. (2019). Health and Place, 53.

Neighborhood disparities in the price of the cheapest cigarettes in the United States. Mills, S. D., Golden, S. D., Henriksen, L., Kong, A. Y., Queen, T. L., & Ribisl, K. M.  (2019). Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 73, 894-896.
View publication

The psychometric properties of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 scale in Hispanic Americans with English or Spanish language preference. Mills, S. D., Fox, R. S., Malcarne, V. L., Roesch, S. C., Champagne, B.R., & Sadler, G.R.  (2014). Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20.


  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, 2017
  • Clinical Internship, Health and Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, 2017
  • MPH, Epidemiology, San Diego State University, 2015
  • MS, Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University, 2013
  • BA, Psychology and Concentration in Hispanic Cultures, Columbia University, 2010