Zhenmei Zhang, PhD, is a Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. She received her PhD in Sociology and Demography from Pennsylvania State University in 2003. She joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 2006, after working for three years as an assistant professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Zhang’s areas of expertise include aging and the life course, family and health, racial/ethnic disparities in health, and elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes. Specifically, her research has focused on the effects of social relationships on both physical and cognitive health in later life. Another line of her research has examined racial/ethnic differentials in a variety of health outcomes, including cognitive impairment, chronic health problems, and active life expectancy.
Most recent projects have focused on life-course determinants of severe cognitive impairment and dementia in the United States and China. She used life-course theories and models to identify psychosocial and economic mechanisms underlying the disparities in late-life cognitive health. Dr. Zhang’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Medicaid/Medicare. Her work has appeared in Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Journal of Aging and Health, Research on Aging, and The Gerontologist, etc.