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