Science Faculty Spotlight: Elizabeth Cohn

December 10, 2019

Elizabeth Cohn

Dr. Elizabeth Cohn is the Rudin Professor of Nursing, the Associate Dean for Research and the Director of the Center for Nursing Research at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, as well as faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is a nurse and nurse practitioner and worked at North Shore University Hospital (now Northwell Health) in the Emergency Department and Critical Care Units for the first 25 years of her career. In 2009, she earned her PhD from Columbia University. Dr. Cohn’s community-based work focuses on health equity in innovative technology the promise, possibilities, and potential for harm. Her current work focuses on precision medicine and artificial intelligence. Inherent in this is the larger issue of ensuring investigators and communities that we build a more equitable research enterprise.

Dr. Cohn’s research career began amidst the HIV crisis in 2007, when she proposed a new translational model for nurse-researchers to strengthen communication with participants, investigators, and the community in clinical trials, restructuring the process by which participants in HIV trials were recruited and the results disseminated. She posited that nurse researchers should play a unique and essential role in implementing this new model, advocating for individuals, strengthening societal trust, and fostering equity—an approach that summarizes her work still today.

A decade later, she was recognized as an Obama White House Champion of Change in Precision Medicine and health equity for the continuation of this work.

Her teaching career began at Adelphi University and progressed to Columbia University; in both universities, she won teaching awards for innovative and creative teaching techniques.

More recently, her national and local work with the All of Us (AoU) Research Program is as the chair of the AoU Research Program National Publications Committee, the AoU Research Program National Incident Review Board, and member of the Science Committee. Her most recent publication described the work of the All of Us Research Program, in the New England Journal of Medicine, a collaborative publication from all the site investigators in the consortium.

In the policy arena, Dr. Cohn was the primary investigator and originating author of Voice Your Vision: The New York State Minority Health Report of 2016, which set priorities for funding in low-resourced, low-access areas across New York State. She previously was the inaugural executive director of the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) at Adelphi University. In this position, she was responsible for setting broad institutional research funding priorities, working with regional and national advisory councils, the research community, and seven different schools of health and basic sciences.

Dr. Cohn’s past work includes Diversity and Inclusion in Precision Medicine: What Will Success Look Like published in Genetics in Medicine/Nature and Precision Health Research and Implementation Reviewed Through Five Synergistic Principles published in Nursing Outlook.

As the Associate Dean and the Director of Nursing Research, she has represented nursing science at federal agencies, testified for the FDA, and partnered with national and international agencies including agencies such as FEMA, private foundations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the media, and members of the public. She is an alum of the Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholars, and has been featured in the New York Times, on NPR, in Men’s Health and in The Atlantic.