Lewis Mitchell Cohen

Lewis Mitchell Cohen

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Medicine and Health

Competition: US & Canada

Baystate Medical Center

Lewis Mitchell Cohen is a Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, and the Director of the Psychiatric Consultation Service and Medical Director of the Renal Palliative Care Initiative at the Baystate Medical Center.  He is a Fellow of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and an Elected Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists.

During his Guggenheim Fellowship term, and with support from the bioethics organization Greenwall Foundation, Dr. Cohen will be preparing a study of the criminalization of end-of-life care medical practices.  Tentatively titled No Good Deed: Allegations of Murder in the Medical Community, this study is an outgrowth of his fifteen-year research into and interest in understanding how patients with kidney disease come to decide to stop dialysis treatment.  His work led directly to an award-winning and groundbreaking demonstration project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to integrate palliative medicine into the treatment of kidney disease, an approach that integrates elements of bioethics, nephrology, psychiatry, public policy, palliative medicine, geriatrics, and social work. Dr. Cohen has written extensively on this subject.  His many publications include (with M. J. Germain and D. M. Poppel), "Practical considerations in dialysis withdrawal: ‘To have the option is a blessing,’" Journal of the American Medical Association, 289 (2003), 2113-2119; "Renal Disease" (with M. B. Levy, E. Tessier, and M. Germain), in American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychosomatic Medicine, ed. J. Levenson (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2005); "Renal Palliative Care," Journal of Palliative Medicine, 9, No. 3 (2006), 975-990; and (with M. Bostwick et al.), "A psychiatric perspective of dialysis discontinuation," Journal of Palliative Medicine, 10, No. 6 (2007), 1262-1265.

Dr. Cohen received a B.A. and A.A. (Hebraic Studies) from Yeshiva University in 1970.  He received his medical degree from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1974, and completed a four-year residency there. While still a resident in psychiatry, Dr. Cohen instituted, in 1974, the Kings County Hospital Perinatal Mortality Clinic, to help parents cope with stillbirths and neonatal deaths, and was a consultant to the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Cohen has received many honors, including the Ferruchio DiCorri Research Award, Department of Psychiatry, SUNY, 1977; Soros Faculty Scholar Award, Project on Death in America, Open Society Institute, 1998; Svenska Award, Swedish Medical Society, 1999; Outstanding Psychiatric Award for Research, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, 2001; and the 14th Annual William B. and Gertrude F. Coen Memorial Lecture Award, 2004, to name but a few.


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