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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI selects researcher/activist to direct
its Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- October 11, 2000 -- When the University of Rhode Island began the search for a director of its Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America, it looked for someone who could make a difference in the battle to eradicate hunger. The person had to be a unique individual -- an educator with a solid background in academic research and an activist who could inform the public and influence policy.

The search is over. The University has selected Dr. Kathleen Gorman, who comes to URI from the University of Vermont with both enthusiasm and determination.

"Hunger is invisible and difficult to measure accurately," says the new director and new resident of South Kingstown. "Most people don't know the degree of hunger in the United States. We need to work hard to develop awareness and increase understanding so that we can come up with meaningful solutions to the problem."

The long-term goal for the Center is to make a difference in the fight against hunger. One of Gorman's short-term goals is to help develop URI's academic minor in hunger studies. She admires URI's inter-disclipinary approach in which students view hunger in nutritional, political, community planning, child development, and communications terms. "I would like to see our students trained to think critically." She also emphasized that the hunger center is based at both the URI's Kingston and Providence campuses, providing opportunities for students and studies in both a rural and urban setting.

Equally important, she wants to encourage students to become personally involved by giving them hands-on experience in food kitchens, at food banks, and other agencies that serve the poor. "It builds passion and commitment," she says, "and, hopefully, lifelong advocates."

Gorman sees URI's center providing a forum and sharing its expertise and research to the Rhode Island communities and beyond. She would like to strengthen the links between URI and community agencies, particularly those engaged directly with hungry Rhode Islanders. Through education and applied research, the Center will be in a position to help inform and develop policy with legislators.

Gorman's own research focuses on the effects of malnutrition on infant behavior and development. Her work has brought her to Guatemala where she studied the long-term effects of infant malnutrition on adolescent development and to China where she is researching the effects of maternal iodine deficiency on infant development.

For the past seven years, she was a faculty member of psychology at the University of Vermont. Gorman was also a board member and board president of the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger.

For the last four years, Gorman worked with the Vermont Agency of Human Services in evaluating the effectiveness of its Success by Six program targeted at providing services to all families so that children arrive at school ready to learn. As part of this work, she developed a statewide assessment of kindergarten readiness.

She has been a consultant to the United Nations, the World Bank, the Social Security Institute of Guatemala, and the Ministry of Education of Peru. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Notre Dame, her licensure in educational psychology from Universidad Catolica del Peru and her doctorate in child development from the University of Maryland.

For Information: Kathleen Gorman, 401-277-5427, Jan Sawyer, 401-874-2116


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