Glorian Sorensen, PhD, MPH

Director, Harvard Chan School Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing
Director, Center for Community-Based Research
Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The core of Dr. Sorensen’s research is randomized worksite- and community-based studies that test the effectiveness of theory-driven interventions targeting individual and organizational change. She is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, funded as a Center of Excellence by the National Institute for Safety and Health and its Total Worker Health® Program. She is also the Director of the Center for Community-Based Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Her research focuses particularly on designing and testing interventions to be effective for low-income, multi-ethnic working populations, and for use in low-resource settings. Her training in occupational sociology provides a platform for her research focus on the work organization and environment from a systems perspective. Her research has focused on a range of settings, particularly worksites and labor unions.

She conducted the first randomized controlled worksite intervention trials to integrate occupational health and health behaviors, and has designed and tested worksite interventions across a range of industries, including manufacturing, construction, health care, social service, and transportation, and with small and large worksites. These interventions aim in particular to address disparities in worker health outcomes and to be effective for low-income, multi-ethnic populations. Her current research includes a study with low-income food service workers designed to assess and address organizational factors contributing to worker health and safety.

Dr. Sorensen’s research also examines disparities in tobacco control and consumption in India; she has developed strong collaborations with investigators at the Healis-Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health in Mumbai. Her research in India, funded by the National Cancer Institute, has focused on designing, testing, and disseminating tobacco use cessation interventions with teachers in the state of Bihar and with manufacturing worksites in Mumbai.

Dr. Sorensen’s research has included a P01 program project, several U01’s, and multiple R01’s funded by NCI, NIEHS, CDC, and NIOSH, as well as through foundations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She previously led the Harvard Cancer Prevention Education Program and the Training Program in the Lung Cancer Disparities Center, which train pre- and post-doctoral fellows in cancer prevention, and she continues to provide mentoring and training for students and post-doctoral fellows. Dr. Sorensen also co-directs an Executive and Continuing Professional Education course entitled “Work, Health and Wellbeing: Frameworks, Evidence and Applications.”


Research projects
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing
The goal of this center is to establish a sustainable transdisciplinary program devoted to research, education and dissemination to facilitate the integration of occupational safety and health and health promotion.

Organizational Approaches to Total Worker Health for Low-income Workers
This innovative and rigorous investigation will directly assess the feasibility of changes in the work organization, and test these work organization changes in a Total Worker Health intervention that will address shared organizational pathways affecting outcomes traditionally addressed by health protection (MSDs) and health promotion (diet).
Disseminating an evidence-based tobacco control intervention for school teachers in India
This research is expected to result in a replicable dissemination model that can impact tobacco use cessation among school teachers in India, and to generate new knowledge about dissemination and implementation processes, of importance in the US as well.