Meghan Zacher

Assistant Professor of Population Studies (Research)

Meghan Zacher is a quantitative sociologist who studies population health and health disparities. Her overarching interest is in how social factors get under the skin and cause avoidable morbidity, mortality, and inequality. Much of her current research centers on cognitive health and aging among older U.S. adults, with a particular focus on variation by subpopulation and place. She also studies women’s health, biomarkers of physiological function and genetic risk, and the mental and physical health trajectories of Hurricane Katrina survivors. Previously, she studied trends in tobacco use in Australia and evaluated the impacts of major tobacco control initiatives, including a nationwide policy that banned most elements of branding on tobacco packages. She holds a BA from the University of Minnesota and an MA and PhD from Harvard University.

Dr. Zacher is supported by a K01 award from the National Institute on Aging that aims to understand sex/gender differences in the patterns and predictors of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) among older U.S. adults, and the role of education in particular.

Select Publications

Susan E. Short* and Meghan Zacher*. 2022. “Women’s Health: Population Patterns and Social Determinants.” Annual Review of Sociology 48:277-298.

Meghan Zacher, Jiwen Wang, and Susan Short. 2021. “The Contributions of Hypertension Diagnosis and Blood Pressure Control to Subjective Life Expectancy in a Representative Sample of Older U.S. Adults.” The Journals of Gerontology, Series B 77(2):378-388.

Meghan Zacher, Ethan J. Raker, Mariana C. Arcaya, Sarah R. Lowe, Jean Rhodes, and Mary C. Waters. 2021. “Physical Health Symptoms and Hurricane Katrina: Individual Trajectories of Development and Recovery More Than a Decade After the Storm.” American Journal of Public Health 111(1):127-135.

Ethan J. Raker*, Meghan Zacher*, and Sarah R. Lowe. 2020. “Lessons from Hurricane Katrina for Predicting the Indirect Health Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(23):12595-12597.

Robbee Wedow*, Meghan Zacher*, Brooke M. Huibregtse, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Benjamin W. Domingue, and Jason D. Boardman. 2018. “Education, Smoking, and Cohort Change: Forwarding a Multidimensional Theory of the Environmental Moderation of Genetic Effects.” American Sociological Review 83(4):802-832.

Meghan Zacher, Megan Bayly, Emily Brennan, Joanne Dono, Caroline Miller, Sarah Durkin, Michelle Scollo, and Melanie Wakefield. 2014. “Personal Tobacco Pack Display Before and After the Introduction of Plain Packaging with Larger Pictorial Health Warnings in Australia: An Observational Study of Outdoor Café Strips.” Addiction 109(4):653-662.

Scholarly Interests

Health; Health disparities; Aging; Cognitive health and ADRD; Biomarkers; Genetics; Education; Sex/gender and women’s health; Disasters