The Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell, Inc. (CMAA) on Nov. 2 honored assistant professors of nutrition Lorraine Cordeiro and Jerusha Peterman with the agency’s first Distinguished Research Partnership Award.
Cordeiro and Peterman are implementing a community-engaged study examining food insecurity, nutrition education needs and health risks among Cambodian women in Massachusetts. The study, which recognizes the significant health disparities faced by Cambodians and seeks to understand the root causes of these disparities, is supported by the Center for Agriculture with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Cordeiro and Peterman were once CMAA staff members. They never forgot us and have returned to contribute their scientific knowledge and skills in an effort to build the capacity of our community to understand the health issues that affect our longevity and well-being,” said Rasy An, executive director of the CMAA.
Shanshan Chen, a doctoral student on the research team, is hoping to base her dissertation research on data from the Cambodian Women Project and has already presented one abstract at a national scientific conference.
Undergraduates Emily Boudreau, Kannika Chap, Nicholas Otis, Alexandra Purdue-Smithe and Jillian Saffe are research assistants on the team.
Cordeiro and Peterman have made a concerted effort to engage Cambodian-American students by hiring them as research assistants or involving them in independent studies. Thus far, five Cambodian-American women have been hired as research assistants; two of whom graduated with their bachelor’s degrees this year.