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Glorian Sorensen, PhD, MPH



  • Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Director, Harvard T.H. Chan Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing
  • Director, DFCI Center for Community-Based Research

Contact Information

  • Office Phone Number617-632-2183
  • Fax617-632-1999


Dr. Sorensen received her MPH in 1980 and her PhD in sociology in 1983 from the University of Minnesota, where she subsequently served as a research fellow with the School of Public Health. She later joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and in 1992 joined Harvard School of Public Health and DFCI, where she now directs the Center for Community-Based Research. She is the DFCI's Faculty Vice President for Faculty Development, and oversees the DFCI's Office for Faculty Development. She is also Professor of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Recent Awards:

  • Fulbright Award: Social disparities in tobacco use in India 2003


Center for Community-Based Research

Dana-Farber's Center for Community-Based Research, directed by Dr. Sorensen, focuses on research in cancer prevention and control. The core of our work is randomized worksite- and community-based studies that test the effectiveness of theory-driven interventions targeting individual and organizational change. This research focuses particularly on redressing disparities in cancer risk by socioeconomic position and race/ethnicity. Interventions are designed for low income, multiethnic populations - including blue-collar and service workers - and are embedded in the social context or environment in which people live. We conducted the first randomized controlled worksite-intervention trials to demonstrate the benefits of an integrated approach to improving health behaviors among blue-collar workers at high risk of both job-related exposures and lifestyle behaviors such as tobacco use and diet. We tested this approach at large and small manufacturing worksites with construction laborers, truck drivers, and other motor freight workers. Recently, we initiated a new study to examine both individual health behaviors and hazardous environmental exposures within low-income housing developments. Another study, Cancer Control in Working Class, Multiethnic Populations, included intervention research in small businesses and health centers, and the development of a cancer prevention model that uses the results of these interventions to estimate the long-term benefits of cancers avoided and costs saved. Study results demonstrated the efficacy of a social context model for promoting changes in health behavior across diverse populations.From 2003 to 2004, Dr. Sorensen conducted studies in Mumbai, India, at the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, through a Fulbright Award. This research with Indian collaborators focused on disparities in tobacco use in India, and examined tobacco-use patterns among school teachers. Currently, Dr. Sorensen leads the Massachusetts Cancer Prevention Community Research Network, a collaboration with Boston University to foster research with community partners.


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