Irina Todorova PhD

Director of Research

Why I became a coach:

My interest in meaning making and narratives led me to coaching, as a relational, non-hierarchical practice through which people explore the complexities of life and support the well-being of self and communities. 

Why I care about the Institute of Coaching:

The Institute strives for excellence in research and education in coaching and is a valuable resource to dedicated practitioners and scholars. 


Irina Todorova, PhD is a health psychologist with experience in psychosocial, gender and cultural aspects of human development and health. Her work is based on narrative and relational approaches to research, teaching and coaching with the aim of promoting personal and community wellbeing, development and equality. She has taught Qualitative Inquiry at Harvard Graduate School of Education and currently at Northeastern University, Boston, where she is an Adjunct Associate Professor and advises doctoral and master and doctoral students conducting relevant research, program development and evaluation projects. She has been awarded research grants for national and international projects - for example she has been Principal Investigator on grants funded by the WHO, EngenderHealth, Jacobs Foundation, European Commission Framework7 Program and Co-Investigator on NIH and NSF grants. She is also currently consulting to the Center on Population Health and Health Disparities;  on an international project “Improving quality and safety in the hospital: the link between organizational culture, burnout, and quality of care”; as well as on a project in collaboration with UNESCO Foresight, all of which implement participatory action research methodologies. Todorova was recently elected as Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS). She is Past President of EHPS and currently on the Executive Committee of the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. Thus, she has extensive experience with interdisciplinary and multi-cultural/ international research and professional teams, as well as in reviewing publications, conference papers and grant applications. She has been Editor of the European Health Psychologist, and is on the editorial board for Health Psychology Review; Psychology and Health and Cognition, Brain, Behavior. Todorova is certified in coaching from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and coaches in the areas of health and healthcare, education and with community organizations. 

Books and Selected Papers:

  • Suárez-Orozco, C., Suárez-Orozco, M. & Todorova, I., (2008). Learning a New Land: The Experience of Newcomer Immigrant Youth. Harvard University Press; awarded the Virginia and Warren Stone Book Prize.
  • Guest Editor and author- Special Section in International Journal of Behavioral Medicine: Todorova, I. (2014). Introduction to the special section: cross-cultural beliefs, attitudes, and dilemmas about vaccination. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21(1), 1-2.
  • Guest Co-editor and author - Special Series in British Journal of Health Psychology: Montgomery, A., Todorova, I., Baban, A., & Panagopoulou, E. (2013). Improving quality and safety in the hospital: the link between organizational culture, burnout, and quality of care. British Journal of Health Psychology, 18(3), 656-662.
  • Todorova, I. L., Guzzardo, M. T., Adams, W. E., & Falcón, L. M. (2014 On-line first). Gratitude and longing: Meanings of health in aging for Puerto Rican adults in the mainland. Journal of Health Psychology.
  • Todorova, I., Suárez-Orozco, C., & Singh, S. (2012). Evolving narratives of immigrant Latino youth. In D. Nagata, L. Kohn-Wood & L. Suzuki (Eds.), Qualitative Strategies for Ethnocultural Research: American Psychological Association Press.
  • Todorova, I., Falcón, L. M., Lincoln, A. K., & Price, L. L. (2010). Perceived discrimination, psychological distress and health. Sociology of Health & Illness, 32(6), 843-861.
  • Vasileva, L., Alexandrova-Karamanova, A., Alexandrova, B., Bogdanova, E., Dimitrova, E., Kotzeva, T., & Todorova, I. (2009). Behavior and Health in School Aged Children: Results from the Representative Study of Bulgarian Children 11, 13 and 15 Years of Age (National Report). Sofia: Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Health Psychology Research Center.
  • Todorova, I., Suárez-Orozco, C., & Suárez-Orozco, M. (2008). Changing stories: Narratives of immigrant children. Cognition, Brain, Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 12(4), 345-367.
  • Suárez-Orozco, C., Todorova, I., & Suárez-Orozco, M. (2004). Wandering souls: Adolescent immigrant interpersonal concerns. In G. DeVos & E. DeVos (Eds.), Cross-Cultural Dimensions in Conscious Thought: Narrative Themes in Comparative Context (Vol. 2). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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