Dr. Cnaan is the Associate Dean for Research, Professor, and Chair of the Doctoral Program in Social Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the Director of the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research.
Dr. Cnaan is a world-renowned expert in studying faith-based social services. He carried out the first national study on the role of local religious congregations in the provision of social services as well as the first one-city census of congregations.
Dr. Cnaan has published numerous articles in scientific journals on a variety of social issues. In addition, he serves on the editorial board of seven academic journals. He is the author of: The Newer Deal: Social Work and Religion in Partnership (Columbia University Press, 1999) and: The Invisible Caring Hand: American Congregations and the Provision of Welfare (New York University Press, 2002). His forthcoming book, The Other Philadelphia Story: How Local Congregations Support Quality of Life in Urban America(University of Pennsylvania Press) deals with congregations in one large city. In addition, along with Stephanie Boddie (Washington University), he edits Assessing the Impact of Faith-Based Social Services: Methodological Challenges and Practical Solutions (Haworth Press).
Ram and Van are working on research on LDS volunteerism in Latin America. They have published together previous articles on LDS volunteerism in peer-reviewed journals.