Dr. Rachal Chazan Cohen Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Human Development and Family Sciences Department at the University of Connecticut. Her main research interest is in how early childhood programs support children’s development and family well-being.
Before entering academia, Cohen worked for the federal government in administration with children and families for 11 years. Cohen believes that having different perspectives is important to your work. She conducted research across the U.S. in her role as evaluator of Early Head Start, a federal program that supports children and families living in poverty.
Cohen is passionate about bringing together research, policy, and practice. She conducts research to make a difference to support children’s development. One of her research projects is to study programs for families at risk due to low income, mental health issues, or substance abuse. She has spent most of her career researching Early Head Start, which includes home visiting and childcare. She has also worked as an evaluator of a home visiting program. “I’m hoping for universal childcare, universal home visiting,” says Cohen. “I think these programs make a huge difference and it’s not just families with low income that need these services.” Cohen believes that giving good parental leave and effective supports for families ensures that children get off to a good start early on and avoid educational and behavioral intervention later on.
Involvement with CSCH
Cohen enjoys working with interdisciplinary teams to bring perspective into the workplace. She worked on a randomized study where she and her team went to numerous communities around the country studying 3,000 children and families. As a follow-up to that work, the Pritzker Family Foundation recently supported Cohen in bringing researchers together to collaborate on the idea about specific services that children and families have and how those services impacted the families. “…Not only are you thinking about the whole child, but you are also thinking about the family and about the family’s health, mental health, economic well-being, self-sufficiency, jobs, housing,” says Cohen.
Cohen and her team what families get to be a part of those Early Head Start programs and what difference those services make in them. Results have shown that these programs have important positive impacts.
Cohen loves to try new things. Since the pandemic, she has embarked on an interest in making her own wine using grapes from different states. Cohen and her family enjoy going biking, hiking, and traveling.
Undergraduate Researcher Jannell Brown interviewed Dr. Chazan Cohen and wrote this profile.