Zoua M. VangMeta Schroeder Beckner Outreach Professor | Professor of Civil Society & Community Studiesshe/her/hers

My interdisciplinary scholarship lies at the intersection of sociology, epidemiology, and medicine. My research portfolio includes (i) maternal and child health, (ii) international migration (including the healthy immigrant effect), (iii) Indigenous health, (iv) racism and discrimination as social determinants of wellness, (v) community-based approaches to health equity, and (vi) cultural safety. I examine these issues in collaboration with underserved and marginalized populations such as immigrants/refugees, Indigenous peoples, and racial/ethnic minorities in Canada and the United States. Trained as a mixed-method researcher, I employ both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches in my projects.

I am also an integrated specialist in the Ecology of Healthy Communities with the UW–Madison Division of Extension’s Health and Well-Being Institute (HWBI). As an integrated specialist, I collaborate with Extension colleagues, HWBI educators, and community stakeholders across the state to support health and wellness within urban, rural, and Native communities.

At the School of Human Ecology, I direct the Maternal Child Health Equity & Safety (MatCHES) Lab. The lab’s core activities include research, knowledge transfer, and community outreach. As a training platform, the MatCHES Lab provides hands-on experience for undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying CBPR to co-create community-based initiatives to address pressing health inequity challenges affecting underserved and marginalized communities locally and globally. The lab also supports knowledge transfer activities such as cultural safety and anti-racism workshops for healthcare professionals, hospital administrators, and knowledge exchanges in decolonizing models of maternity care. Students interested in working or volunteering in the MatCHES Lab should contact me directly for further information.

Read my research profile

Selected Publications

Yang, S., Shapiro, G. D., Ng, E., Vissandjee, B., & Vang, Z. M. (2024). Birth and postnatal outcomes among infants of immigrant parents of different admission categories and parents born in Canada: A population-based retrospective study. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 196(12), E394-E409.

Vang, Z. M., Chau, S., Kobayashi, K. M., Owen, M. J., McKenzie-Sampson, S., Mayrand-Thibert, J., & Brass, G. M. (2024). Pain and functional limitations among midlife and older Canadians: The role of discrimination, race and sense of belonging. Journals of Gerontology: Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences, 79(4), 1-12.

Vang, Z. M., & Ng, E. (2023). The impacts of COVID-19 on immigrants and the healthy immigrant effect: Reflections from Canada. Preventive Medicine, 171(June 2023), 107501.

Ramadan, M., Qamar, H., Yang, S., & Vang, Z. M. (2023). Fifty years of evidence on perinatal experience among refugee and asylum-seeking women in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries: A scoping review. PLoS One, 18(10), e0287617.

Silver, H., Tukalak, S., Sarmiento, I., Budgell, R., Cockcroft, A., Vang, Z. M., & Andersson, N. (2023). Giving birth away from home in a good way: Participatory research into visions of Inuit families and their Montreal-based medical providers. Birth, 50(4), 781-788.

Vang, Z. M., Gagnon, R., Lee, T., Jiménez, V., Navickas, A., Pelletier, J., & Shenker, H. (2018). Interactions between Indigenous women awaiting childbirth away from home and their southern, non-Indigenous healthcare providers. Qualitative Health Research, 28(12), 1858-1870.

For a full list of publications, see Vang’s CV.

An Asian woman smiling, with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing a blue neck scarf and jacket.


  • Civil Society & Community Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Civil Society & Community Research



  • PhD and MA, Sociology, Harvard University
  • BA, Sociology and Psychology, University of Pennsylvania


Office: 4145 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-890-0221