Lorna Rivera, Ph. D.


University of Massachusetts-Boston
Email lorna.rivera@umb.edu

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Areas of Expertise:

  • Latino & Immigrant Education
  • Latino Studies
  • Race/Gender Health Disparities


Dr. Lorna Rivera is Director of the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy, and Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies & Latino Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Rivera has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northeastern University. Her research focuses on women’s and family literacy programs, social welfare reform policies, gender/racial/ethnic-based health disparities, and the education of Latinx students. She is the author of the award-winning book, Laboring to Learn: Women’s Literacy & Poverty in the Post-Welfare Era (2008, University of Illinois Press). Her recent publications include a Gaston Institute report “COVID-19 and Latinos in MA” (2020) and “The Impact and Outcomes of Integrating Health Literacy Education into Boston’s Adult Basic Education Programs” in Journal of Health Literacy Research and Practice (2019). Currently, Rivera is P.I. on three federally funded projects examining the impact of COVID-19 and Latinx and immigrant communities. She is also Co-P.I. on the study, “Community-Driven Environmental Assessment” in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Rivera oversees the Talented & Gifted (TAG) and Alerta afterschool programs for Latinx bilingual students in the Boston Public Schools. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Hyde Square Task Force, an arts-based Afro-Latinx youth agency in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, and board member for the Inter-University Programs on Latino Research (IUPLR) in the US. Rivera serves on the editorial board of Signs: Journal of Women & Culture in Society. 2019. In 2019, Rivera was inducted as an Honorary Member of Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society.