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CRF Announces New Director

The Center for Research on Families is excited to welcome its new Director, Dr. Lorraine Cordeiro, Ph.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. She began her appointment on June 1, 2021.

Dr. Cordeiro is an American of Tanzanian Goan heritage who came to the U.S. in 1989 and became a first-generation graduate from Mount Holyoke College. Born and raised in Tanzania, Dr. Cordeiro is the youngest of three children of the late Henry and Louisine Cordeiro of Moshi, Tanzania. Both her siblings have a love of learning and are educators. Dr. Cordeiro is married to Hai Cheng, UMass ’91, ’96, who came as a Cambodian unaccompanied minor from a Thai refugee camp to the U.S. in 1982 and completed graduate school at UMass A. They have two teenagers in the Amherst Regional Public Schools.

Dr. Cordeiro studies the associations between food security, high-risk health behaviors, and nutritional outcomes among adolescents and women in multiple social and cultural contexts. Her community-engaged research, teaching, and service promotes social justice and equity, particularly as it relates to the health and well-being of families. She applies the principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR), both to respect and leverage the wisdom of underserved communities and as a pathway to build their research capital. Her work serves to create a meaningful dialogue on health and economic disparities in underserved populations in the U.S., internationally, and in communities undergoing transition.

Prior to her appointment at UMass in 2009, Dr. Cordeiro was a National Institutes of Child and Human Development (NICHD) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. Dr. Cordeiro received her Ph.D. from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, her M.P.H. from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College. From 2016 to 2019 she was secretary of the World Federation for Health and Migration, and since 2019 she has been a coach for the Faculty Success Program of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. In 2013, Dr. Cordeiro was a recipient of the College Outstanding Teaching awards and in 2015, she received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Her research team also received the Distinguished Research Partnership Award from the Cambodia Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell.

As a former CRF Scholar, (’10-’11), Dr. Cordeiro brings her expertise and a new vision to CRF. She says “CRF represents a safe place for faculty development and research success. I am committed to advancing social and racial justice, strengthening community-engaged research, and supporting faculty research on families.” Dr. Cordeiro has put a concerted effort into strengthening support systems for Black, Indigenous, and other Faculty of Color in the Five College Consortium and UMass system. She plans to develop and implement a strategic vision based on the priorities of the center and university, as well as CRF’s legacy of family research, capacity building, and leadership. Dr. Cordeiro brings a strong, collaborative approach to advance CRF’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, community engagement, and data-informed decision making. Under her leadership, CRF will remain an inclusive and supportive environment that invites more people to the table, increases the pipeline of family researchers, and ultimately changes the face of academia.

At the Center’s recent Annual Celebration and Research Forum Dr. Cordeiro said, “I am thrilled to lead CRF through this time of the pandemic with an experienced commitment to social and racial justice. This is my priority. It is the core of my research. It is why I became a professor. As director, I will lead with compassion, kindness, and equity. CRF is family and I hope you will all work with me to create a safe place for everyone at UMass.” Dean of Public Health and Health Sciences, Anna Maria Siega-Riz said, “I have no doubt that under Dr. Cordeiro’s leadership the Center will continue to grow and prosper.”