Skip Navigation

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Dana-Farber patients & families Learn more

Glorian Sorensen, PhD, MPH


No Ratings Available - Why Not?

Glorian Sorensen, PhD, MPH


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

Contact Information

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


Dr. Sorensen joined DFCI and Harvard in 1992. She 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 served as a member of the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Medical School (1986-1992). She directs the DFCI Center for Community-based Research. At the Harvard T.H. Chan School, where she is Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, she directs the Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing. She previously served as the DFCI's Faculty Vice President for Faculty Development.

Recent Awards:

  • HERO Workplace Health and Well-Being (HWB) Mark Dundon Research Award 2017
  • Excellence in Teaching Continuing Education Award from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for 2016
  • Rockefeller Foundation’s Academic Writing Residency, Bellagio, Italy 2015


The core of Dr. Sorensen’s research is randomized community and worksite studies that test the effectiveness of theory-driven interventions targeting individual and organizational change.  Her research has focused particularly on redressing disparities in cancer risk.  She has designed and tested interventions for low-income and multi-ethnic populations – including blue-collar and service workers – that are embedded in the social context of people’s lives. 
Dr. Sorensen is the Director and Principal Investigator (PI) for the Harvard Chan Center for Work, Health and Well-being, funded since 2007, by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) through its Total Worker Health® Program.  The Center focuses on protecting and promoting worker safety, health and wellbeing through improved conditions of work. In research first funded in 1989, Dr. Sorensen and her research team were among the first to demonstrate that the integration of occupational health and safety with worksite health promotion can significantly enhance health behavior change among blue-collar workers. Since then, her research team has designed and tested integrated interventions across a range of industries, including manufacturing, construction, health care, social service, and transportation, and with small and large worksites, in over a dozen large-scale trials. This research has focused particularly on low-wage and blue-collar workers, among whom on-the-job risks and risk-related behaviors are especially prevalent.  This research has repeatedly demonstrated that a systems approach integrating occupational safety and health with other workplace initiatives related to worker health has benefits for improved occupational health and safety, and improvements in worker health and safety behaviors. Her training in occupational sociology has provided a platform for her focus on the work organization and environment from a systems perspective.
Dr. Sorensen has conducted a series of tobacco control studies in India since 2003, in collaboration with the Healis-Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health in Mumbai. There is a profound need for evidence-based interventions that promote tobacco control on a large scale, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. In India in 2010 alone, tobacco use accounted for over 1 million deaths. In the Bihar School Teachers Study, she and her colleagues demonstrated the efficacy of a tobacco use cessation intervention for school teachers in the state of Bihar.  Dr. Sorensen leads research funded by the National Cancer Institute that aims to identify effective strategies for broad-based implementation of evidence-based tobacco control interventions using existing organizational infrastructures and accommodating the realities of low-resource settings.  

Sorensen G, Stoddard A, LaMontagne A, Emmons K, Hunt MK, Youngstrom R, McLellan D, Christiani D. A comprehensive worksite cancer prevention intervention: behavior change results from a randomized controlled trial (United States). J Public Health Policy 2003;24:5-25.


Sorensen G, Emmons K, Hunt MK, Barbeau E, Goldman R, Peterson K, Kuntz K, Stoddard A, Berkman L. Model for incorporating social context in health behavior interventions: applications for cancer prevention for working-class, multiethnic populations. Prev Med 2003;37:188-97.


Sorensen G, Barbeau, E, Hunt MK, Emmons K. Reducing social disparities in tobacco use: a social contextual model for reducing tobacco use among blue-collar workers. Am J Public Health 2004;94:230-9.


Sorensen G, Fagan P, Hunt MK, Stoddard AM, Girod K, Eisenberg M, Frazier L. Changing channels for tobacco control with youth: developing an intervention for working teens. Health Educ Res 2004;19:250-60.


Sorensen G, Gupta PC, Sinha DN, Shastri S, Kamat M, Pednekar MS, Ramakrishnan S. Teacher tobacco use and tobacco use prevention in two regions in India: results of the Global School Personnel Survey. Prev Med 2005;41:417-23.


Sorensen G, Gupta PC, Sinha DN, Shastri S, Kamat M, Pednekar MS, Ramakrishnan S. Teacher tobacco use and tobacco use prevention in two regions in India: qualitative research findings. Prev Med 2005;41:424-32.


Sorensen G, Gupta PC, Pednekar MS. Social disparities in tobacco use in Mumbai, India: the roles of occupation, education, and gender. Am J Public Health 2005;95:1003-8.


Barbeau EM, Goldman R, Roelofs C, Gagne J, Harden E, Conlan K, Stoddard A, Sorensen G. A new channel for health promotion: building trade unions. Am J Health Promot 2005;19:297-303.


Sorensen G, Barbeau EM, Stoddard AM, Hunt MK, Kaphingst K, Wallace L. Promoting behavior change among working-class, multiethnic workers: results of the healthy directions-small business study. Am J Public Health 2005;95:1389-95.


LaMontagne AD, Stoddard AM, Youngstrom RA, Lewiton M, Klar JM, Sorensen G. Improving the prevention and control of hazardous substance exposures: a randomized controlled trial in manufacturing worksites. Am J Ind Med 2005;48:282-92.


Sorensen G,  Quintiliani L, Pereira L, Yang M, Stoddard AM. Work experiences and tobacco use: Findings from the Gear Up for Health Study. J Occup Env Med 2009 Jan;51(1):87-94. 2009

Buxton OM, Ebbeling CB, Stoddard A, Pereira L, Yang, M, Quintiliani L, Sorensen G.  Association of sleep adequacy with more healthful food choices and positive workplace experiences among motor freight workers. Am J Public Health Suppl 3, 2009, 99(S3): S1-S8. 2009

Harley AE, Devine CM, Beard B, Stoddard AM, Hunt MK, Sorensen G. Multiple health behavior changes in a cancer prevention intervention for construction workers, 2001-2003. Prev Chronic Dis 2010, May;7(3):A55. Epub 2010 May 15. 2010

Sorensen G, Stoddard A, Quintiliani L, Ebbeling C, Nagler E, Yang M, Pereira L, Wallace L. Tobacco use cessation and weight management among motor freight workers: results of the Gear Up for Health Study. Cancer Cause Control, 2010, Dec;21(12):2113-22 2010

Sorensen G, Landsbergis P, Hammer L, Amick B, Linnan L, Yancey A, Welch L, Goetzel R, Flannery K, Pratt C, and the Workshop Working Group on Worksite Chronic Disease Prevention. Preventing chronic disease at the workplace: A workshop report and recommendations. Am J Public Health 2011 Dec;101 Suppl 1:S196-207. 2011

Sorensen G, Stoddard AM, Stoffel S, Buxton O, Sembajwe G, Hashimoto D, Dennerlein JT, Hopcia K. The role of the work context in multiple wellness outcomes for hospital patient care workers. J Occup Environ Med 2011 Aug;53(8):899-910. 2011

Nelson C, Sapp A, Berkman LF, Li Y, Sorensen G, Allocation of household responsibilities influences changes in dietary behavior. Soc Sci Med 2011 Nov; 73(10):1517-1524 2011

Sorensen G, Gupta PC, Nagler EM, Viswanath K. Promoting life skills and preventing tobacco use among low-income Mumbai youth: Effects of Salaam Bombay Foundation intervention. PLoS ONE 2012 ;7(4):e34982. Epub 2012 Apr 16. 2012

Nagler E, Pednekar M, Viswanath K, Sinha D, Aghi M, Pischke C, Ebbeling C, Lando H, Gupta P, Sorensen G. Designing in the social context: Using the social contextual model of health behavior change to develop a tobacco control intervention for teachers in India. Health Educ Res 2012 June 4. 2012

Caspi CE, Adamkiewicz G, Sorensen G. the relationship between diet and perceived and objective access to supermarkets among low-income housing residents. Soc Sci Med (in press). 2012


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
450 Brookline Avenue
375 Longwood Avenue 717
Boston, MA 02215
Get Directions