Steering Committee Member Profile: Deborah Cornman

Our profile of Deborah Cornman was originally written in 2018. In celebration of her 2022 retirement we have added the final section, Future Plans.


Debbie Cornman is a clinical psychologist who serves as the Associate Director of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) and is an Associate Research Professor at UConn. Cornman’s research expertise lies in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based health behavior change interventions that are feasible for the context in which they are implemented, acceptable to and culturally tailored for both the implementers and the target population, and sustainable over time. She has successfully developed interventions in the areas of treatment adherence, sexual risk reduction, and gender-based violence prevention, among others. In addition to her role as a researcher, she is the Director of InCHIP’s Community-Engaged Health Research Core, which facilitates and supports the development of equitable research partnerships between UConn faculty and community organizations in order to address critical public health issues in Connecticut and elsewhere.

Involvement with CSCH

In her role as Director of InCHIP’s Community-Engaged Health Research Core, Cornman works to develop multidisciplinary teams that include researchers from different academic disciplines along with community organizations and institutions.

“The Collaboratory provides an exciting opportunity to bring people together from different disciplines to address challenging child health issues,” says Cornman. “When you are working with children who are facing a variety of issues, such as early childhood trauma, anxiety, stress, mental health issues, and obesity, a single solution isn’t going to work and a single discipline isn’t going to be able to address it, so a team approach is critical. We need a variety of perspectives and skill sets, ranging from computer scientists with technology expertise to lawyers with policy perspectives to psychologists, healthcare providers, and community members, among others. We are going to need multiple teams working from different perspectives to address the many challenges facing children today.”

Fun Facts

Cornman has conducted research in Ethiopia, India, Mozambique, South Africa, and Uganda. As part of her work, she has developed training curricula and trained hundreds of healthcare providers and peer educators worldwide in theory-based health behavior change interventions.

Future Plans

Although she will be retiring from UConn,  Cornman will still be working. She has a new grant starting that is continuing the research she has been doing with Beth Russell and the Waterbury Health Department on the prevention of opioid overdoses in the City of Waterbury. She will also be working with Rosa Raudales and the Office of Outreach and Engagement on the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification application. She is starting a new baking business out of her home called “Dr. Derbilicious.” And finally, she plans to continue to expand upon the work that she does in the community. She will be quite busy in her “retirement” doing the things that she loves!