human development and family studies

Transition Center, 2 Lower College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

401.874.2150 (ph); 401.874.4020 (f)

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Melanie Sereny Brasher

Melanie Brasher
  • Assistant Professor
  • Chafee Bldg, Rm 514
  • Phone: 401.874.2597
  • Email:


Dr. Brasher joined URI in the fall of 2014. She is currently an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Sociology & Anthropology and Human Development & Family Studies. Professor Brasher obtained her B.A. degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from Duke University. As a graduate student, she was an NIA Pre-Doctoral Trainee for the Social and Medical Demography of Aging.

Her dissertation researched examined the impact of family ties and economic resources on the receipt of support and the health of older adults across communities in China at different levels of economic development. She engages in collaborative research project with scholars around the world, including ongoing work with public health researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, China, where she served as a visiting scholar in 2011.


Dr. Brasher’s research focuses on aging and the life course, health disparities, social determinants of health, and intergenerational relations. She is particularly interested in the impact of economic disparities, social support, and community context on the health and well-being of older adults in China.


  • Ph.D., Duke University, 2013
  • M.A., Duke University, 2009
  • B.A., Washington University in St. Louis, 2005


He, Liu, Yi Zhai, Michael Engelgau, Weirong Li, Hanzhu Qian, Xiang Si, Xin Gao, Melanie Sereny, Jing Liang, Xiaolei Zhu, and Xiao Ming SHI. 2013. “Association of children’s eating behaviors with parental education, and teachers’ health awareness, attitudes and behaviors: a national school-based survey in China.” The European Journal of Public Health.

Yin, Zhao-Xue, Xiao-Ming Shi, Virginia B Kraus, Simon M Fitzgerald, Han-zhu Qian, Jian-wei Xu, Yi Zhai, Melanie D Sereny, and Yi Zeng. 2012. “High normal plasma triglycerides are associated with preserved cognitive function in Chinese oldest-old.” Age and Ageing 41(5):600-06.

Sereny, Melanie. 2011. “Living arrangements of older adults in China: The interplay among preferences, realities, and health.” Research on Aging 33(2):172-204.

Sereny, Melanie and Danan Gu, 2011. “Predicting living arrangement concordance and its association with self-rated health among institutionalized and community-residing elderly people in China.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 26(3):239-59.

Download Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

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