Virginia Chang

Virginia Chang
Virginia Chang

Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Professional overview

Virginia W. Chang, MD, PhD is Associate Professor of Global Public Health at NYU School of Global Public Health, Associate Professor of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, and Affiliated Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at NYU. Dr. Chang is a graduate of the Inteflex Program at the University of Michigan, where she received her BS and MD degrees.  She then completed a residency in internal medicine, fellowship training with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, and a PhD in sociology, all at the University of Chicago. Prior to joining NYU, Dr. Chang was in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a staff physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center.

As a physician and sociologist, Dr. Chang integrates perspectives from medicine, epidemiology, sociology, and demography in her research. Much of her work has focused on obesity and health disparities, engaging topics such as the influence of socially structured context (e.g., racial segregation, income inequality, neighborhood social/physical disorder) on obesity; the relationship of obesity to mortality and disability; the influence of weight status on the quality of medical care; socioeconomic disparities in health and mortality; and the inter-relationships between health, medical technologies, and stratification.

Her research program has been funded by the NICHD, NHLBI, and NIA of the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Health Administration, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Measy Foundation, the American Diabetes Association, and the Russell Sage Foundation.  She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Society of General Internal Medicine Award for Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year and the Marjorie A. Bowman Award from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for achievement in the health evaluation sciences. Dr. Chang is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Chang’s publications span a variety of disciplines, including journals such as JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA Internal Medicine, Health Affairs, American Journal of Public Health, American Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Health & Social Behavior, Social Science & Medicine, Demography, and Social Forces.  She was recently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health & Social Behavior.

Education

BS, Biomedical Sciences and Philosophy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
MD, Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
MA, Sociology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
PhD, Sociology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
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Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Resident, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Intern, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
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Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine
Licensed Medical Physician, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Honors and awards

Majorie A. Bowman Research Award, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2010)
Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year, Society of General Internal Medicine (2008)
Robert Austrian Faculty Award for Health Evaluation Reserach, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2008)
Physician Faculty Scholars Award, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2007)
Finalist, Hamolsky Junior Facutly Award, Society of General Internal Medicine (2004)
Finalist, Richard Saller Prize for Best Dissertation in the Division of the Social Sciences, University of Chicago (2003)
Graduate University Fellowship, University of Chicago (2001)
Eli G. Rochelson Memorial Award for Excellence in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School (1994)
Biomedical Research Program Scholarship, University of Michigan Medical School (1991)
James B. Angell Scholar, University of Michigan (1988)
William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize, University of Michigan (1986)

Areas of research and study

Global Health
Health Disparities
Internal Medicine
Obesity
Population Health
Social Behaviors

Publications

Publications

24-Year trends in educational inequalities in adult smoking prevalence in the context of a national tobacco control program: The case of Brazil

Bandi, P., Chang, V. W., Sherman, S. E., & Silver, D.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Preventive Medicine

Volume

131
Abstract
Brazil was a low and middle-income country (LMIC) in the late-1980s when it implemented a robust national tobacco-control program (NTCP) amidst rapid gains in national incomes and gender equality. We assessed changes in smoking prevalence between 1989 and 2013 by education level and related these changes to trends in educational inequalities in smoking. Data were from four nationally representative cross-sectional surveys (1989, n = 25,298; 2003 n = 3845; 2008 n = 28,938; 2013 n = 47,440, ages 25–69 years). We estimated absolute (slope index of inequality, SII) and relative (relative index of inequality, RII) educational inequalities in smoking prevalence, separately for males and females. Additional analyses stratified by birth-cohort to assess generational differences. Smoking declined significantly between 1989 and 2013 in all education groups but declines among females were steeper in higher-educated groups. Consequently, both absolute and relative educational inequalities in female smoking widened threefold between 1989 and 2013 (RII: 1.31 to 3.60, SII: 5.3 to 15.0), but absolute inequalities in female smoking widened mainly until 2003 (SII: 15.8). Conversely, among males, declines were steeper in higher-educated groups only in relative terms. Thus, relative educational inequalities in male smoking widened between 1989 and 2013 (RII: 1.58 to 3.19) but mainly until 2008 (3.22), whereas absolute equalities in male smoking were unchanged over the 24-year period (1989: 21.1 vs. 2013: 23.2). Younger-cohorts (born ≥1965) had wider relative inequalities in smoking vs. older-cohorts at comparable ages, particularly in the youngest female-cohorts (born 1979–1988). Our results suggest that younger lower-SES groups, especially females, may be particularly vulnerable to differentially higher smoking uptake in LMICs that implement population tobacco-control efforts amidst rapid societal gains.

The Economic Value of Education for Longer Lives and Reduced Disability

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Health, Polysubstance Use, and Criminal Justice Involvement Among Adults With Varying Levels of Opioid Use

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Medicaid Expansion, Mental Health, and Access to Care among Childless Adults with and without Chronic Conditions

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Overweight or obese BMI is associated with earlier, but not later survival after common acute illnesses

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Ultra-processed food consumption and excess weight among US adults

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Birth weight, early life weight gain and age at menarche: a systematic review of longitudinal studies

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The obesity paradox and incident cardiovascular disease: A population-based study

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Trends in the Relationship between Obesity and Disability, 1988-2012

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Mortality attributable to low levels of education in the United States

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Obesity and 1-year outcomes in older Americans with severe sepsis

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Obesity and Mortality

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Gender equality, development, and cross-national sex gaps in life expectancy

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Race/ethnic differences in adult mortality: The role of perceived stress and health behaviors

Krueger, P. M., Saint Onge, J. M., & Chang, V. W.

Publication year

2011

Journal title

Social Science and Medicine

Volume

73

Issue

9

Page(s)

1312-1322
Abstract
We examine the role of perceived stress and health behaviors (i.e., cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, sleep duration) in shaping differential mortality among whites, blacks, and Hispanics. We use data from the 1990 National Health Interview Survey (N = 38,891), a nationally representative sample of United States adults, to model prospective mortality through 2006. Our first aim examines whether unhealthy behaviors and perceived stress mediate race/ethnic disparities in mortality. The black disadvantage in mortality, relative to whites, closes after adjusting for socioeconomic status (SES), but re-emerges after adjusting for the lower smoking levels among blacks. After adjusting for SES, Hispanics have slightly lower mortality than whites; that advantage increases after adjusting for the greater physical inactivity among Hispanics, but closes after adjusting for their lower smoking levels. Perceived stress, sleep duration, and alcohol consumption do not mediate race/ethnic disparities in mortality. Our second aim tests competing hypotheses about race/ethnic differences in the relationships among unhealthy behaviors, perceived stress, and mortality. The social vulnerability hypothesis predicts that unhealthy behaviors and high stress levels will be more harmful for race/ethnic minorities. In contrast, the Blaxter (1990) hypothesis predicts that unhealthy lifestyles will be less harmful for disadvantaged groups. Consistent with the social vulnerability perspective, smoking is more harmful for blacks than for whites. But consistent with the Blaxter hypothesis, compared to whites, current smoking has a weaker relationship with mortality for Hispanics, and low or high levels of alcohol consumption, high levels of physical inactivity, and short or long sleep hours have weaker relationships with mortality for blacks.

Secular declines in the association between obesity and mortality in the United States

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Metabolic syndrome and weight gain in adulthood

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Quality of care among obese patients

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Social capital and glucose control

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Fundamental cause theory, technological innovation, and health disparities: The case of cholesterol in the era of statins

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Mortality attributable to obesity among middle-aged adults in the United States

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Neighborhood racial isolation, disorder and obesity

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Racial differences in the impact of comorbidities on survival among elderly men with prostate cancer

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Weight change, initial bmi, and mortality among middle- and older-aged adults

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Being poor and coping with stress: Health behaviors and the risk of death

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The relationship between measured performance and satisfaction with care among clinically complex patients

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Contact

vc43@nyu.edu +1 (212) 992-7696 715/719 Broadway New York, NY 10003