Ruth E. Zambrana

Ph.D. (1977) Boston University, M.A. (1971) University of Pennsylvania, B.A. (1969) Queens College City University of New York

Photo of Ruth Enid Zambrana

Ruth Enid Zambrana, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Women’s Studies, Director of the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity and Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Medicine. Dr. Zambrana’s scholarship applies a critical intersectional lens to structural inequality and racial, Hispanic ethnicity, and gender inequities in population health and higher education trajectories. Her recent work includes an anthology with Sylvia Hurtado, The Magic Key: The Educational Journey of Mexican Americans From K-12 College and Beyond (UT Press, 2015); an edited volume with Virginia Brennan and Shiriki Kumanyika, entitled Obesity Interventions in Underserved U.S. Communities: Evidence and Directions (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014); Latinos in American Society: Families and Communities in Transition (Cornell University Press, 2011). Awards include the 2013 American Public Health Association Latino Caucus, Founding Member Award for Vision and Leadership, 2013 University of Maryland Outstanding Woman of Color Award for her lifetime achievements, and the 2011 Julian Samora Distinguished Career Award by the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Latinos/as Section for her contributions to the sociology of Latinos and immigrant studies, teaching and mentoring. She was Principal Investigator of a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on Understanding the Relationship between Work Stress at U.S. Research Institutions’ Failure to Retain Underrepresented Minority (URM) Faculty and her book, entitled Toxic Ivory Towers: The Health Consequences of Work Stress on the Health of Underrepresented Minority Faculty is in press. The most recent award from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Expanding the Bench program initiative, aims to translate these new findings on URM faculty barriers and challenges into higher education policies to enhance retention and promotion.

Major Areas of Research:

  • Women and health: Race, Ethnicity, and SES
  • Latinos in the U.S.: Family, Community, and Class
  • Chronic Health Conditions in Life Course Trajectories
  • Inequity in Access to Pathways to Higher Education

Select Publications:


Zambrana, R.E. (Forthcoming 2018). Toxic Ivory Towers: The Health Consequences of Work Stress on the Health of Underrepresented Minority Faculty. Rutgers University Press.

Zambrana, R.E., & Hurtado, S.  (Eds.). (2015). The Magic Key: The Educational Journey of Mexican Americans from K-12 and to College and Beyond. University of Texas Press.

Brennan, V., Kumanyiki, S., & Zambrana, R.E., Guest Editors (2014) Obesity Interventions in Underserved U.S. Communities: Evidence and Directions. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Zambrana, R.E. (2011). Latinos in American society: Families and communities in transition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Dill, B.T. & Zambrana, R.E. (Eds.). (2009). Emerging intersections: Race, class, and gender in theory, policy and practice. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.


Espino, M. & Zambrana, R.E. (Forthcoming 2018). How Do You Advance Here? How do You Survive?”  An Exploration of Under-Represented Minority Faculty Perceptions of Mentoring Modalities. The Review of Higher Education.

Zambrana, R.E., Dávila, B.A., Espino, M.M., Lapeyrouse, L.M., Valdez, R.B. & Segura, D. (2017). Mexican American Faculty in Research Universities: Can the Next Generation Beat the Odds? Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 3(4), 458-473. DOI:

Zambrana, R.E. Wingfield, A. H., Davila, B., Lapeyrouse, L. M., Hoagland, T. & Valdez, R. B. (2017). Blatant, Subtle and Insidious: URM Faculty Perceptions of Discriminatory Practices in Predominantly White Institutions. Sociological Inquiry 87(2), 207-232

Roman, L., Zambrana, R.E., Ford, S., Meghea, C., & Williams, K. P. (2016). Casting a Wider Net: Engaging Community Health Worker Clients and Their Families in Cancer Prevention. Preventing Chronic Disease 13, 1-5.

Zambrana, R. E., López, L., Dinwiddie, G. Y., Ray, R. M., Eaton, C. B., Phillips, L. S., & Wassertheil-Smoller, S. (2016). Association of Baseline Depressive Symptoms with Prevalent and Incident Pre-Hypertension and Hypertension in Postmenopausal Hispanic Women: Results from the Women’s Health Initiative.PLoS ONE11(4), e0152765.

Dinwiddie, G. Y., Zambrana, R. E., Doamekpor, L. A., & Lopez, L. (2016). The Impact of Educational Attainment on Observed Race/Ethnic Disparities in Inflammatory Risk in the 2001–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(1), 42.

Singer, R.H., Stoutenberg, M., Gellman, M.D., Archer, E., Davis, S.M., Gotman, N., Marquez, D.X., Buelna, C., Deng, Y., Hosgood, H.D., Zambrana, R.E. (2016). Occupational physical activity and body mass index: Results from the Hispanic community health study/study of Latinos. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0152339.

Castaneda, M., Zambrana, R. E., Marsh, K., Vega, W., Becerra, R., & Perez, D. J. (2015). Role of Institutional Climate on Underrepresented Faculty Perceptions and Decision-Making in Use of Work-Family Policies. Journal of Family Relations 64, 711-725.

Zambrana, R.E., Meghea, C., Talley, C., Hammad, A., & Lockett, M., Williams, K.P.  (2015). Association between family communication and health literacy among underserved racial/ethnic women. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 26(2), 391-405.

Northridge, M.E., Holtzman, D. Bergeron, C. D., Zambrana, R. E., & Greenberg, M. R. (2015). Mentoring for publication in the American Journal of Public Health. American Journal of Public Health, 105(S1), S14-S16.

Zambrana, R.E., Ray, R.J., Espino, M. M., Castro, C., Douthirt-Cohen, B., & Eliason, J. (2015). “Don’t Leave Us Behind”: The Importance of Mentoring for Underrepresented Minority Faculty. American Educational Research Journal, 52(1), 40-72.

Book Review

Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, & Threatens Our Future by Thomas Shapiro (2017). American Journal of Public Health107(10), 1531.


“Challenging Existing Stereotypes: A Qualitative Account of the Contraceptive Experiences of Low-Income Latinas.”  North American Primary Care Research Group Conference, Montreal, Quebec, November 17, 2017.

“From Mentoring Frenzy to Inclusive, Responsive and Effective Practices.” Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment, Chicago, IL, September 29, 2017.

“Policy and Practice: Understanding the Educational Journey of Mexican Americans in the United States.”   Keynote Address. Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital, September 26, 2017.

“Institutional Transgressions, Work Stress and Mentoring in Academe.” Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital. September 26, 2017.

“Equity, Excellence and Diversity: Translating on the Ground Experiences into Effective and Responsive Interventions.” WESTOP Conference, California State University Monterey Bay, February 27, 2017.

“Increasing the Pipeline for Future Scholars.” 2016 Latina Researchers Conference. San Antonio, Texas, July 14, 2016.

“The Meanderings of Latino Population Health Research: What’s Next?” Alan Berkman Memorial Lecture. Columbia, University, New York, New York, April 13, 2016.

“Investing in Historically URM Scholars: Applying competent and responsive practices in Higher Education.” UC Davis ADVANCE Seminar. Davis, California, March 14, 2016.

“Building Competencies for Diverse and Inclusive Relationships.” American Association for the Advancement of Science. Washington, D.C., March 31, 2016.


  • Health Disparities by Race, Gender, Age and Class (WMST488)
  • Latino Families, Women and Children (WMST498)
  • Introduction to Women’s Studies: Women in Society ( WMST200)
  • Dissertation Writing Seminar (WMST698)
  • Introduction to WMST Field (WMST628)


Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity