Recognized nationally as an authority in the public health management arena, Richard J. Cohen, PhD, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), has led the organization since 1980. Dr. Cohen leads close to 1400 employees, over 250 public health programs and approximately ten subsidiary organizations. Under his watch, the organization has expanded more than 75-fold and continues to grow, with a current operating budget of approximately $180 million. Dr. Cohen has devoted his professional life to the needs of Philadelphia and the surrounding region, while playing a critical role at a national level as well.
Prior to joining PHMC, his career took him to Temple University as Instructor of Psychology and Assistant Director of Project Upward Bound, then to St. Luke’s and Children’s Medical Center and to the City of Philadelphia Coordinating Office for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Programs, where he held increasingly senior positions managing drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programs. Dr. Cohen also has consulted with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute on Drug Abuse. He holds a PhD in Social Sciences and Psychiatry from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, an MA in Clinical Psychology from Temple University and a BA in Psychology from the University of Maine.
Regionally and nationally, Dr. Cohen is sought not only for his depth of experience in public health delivery and management, but also for his insight into the underlying issues. This is evidenced by his more than thirty publications and conference presentations that get to the heart of addressing public health dilemmas, with insight into the marketing of human services, developing leadership, establishing public/private partnerships, assessing long- verses short-term costs, understanding hospital utilization patterns, and many other critical topics. This is knowledge born not simply of theory, but of a life in the thick of urban public health, experiencing firsthand the obstacles and innovating to overcome them.
Dr. Cohen has shared this expertise with numerous professional institutions throughout his career. He is a member of and holds leadership roles in many distinguished health organizations that include the American Public Health Association (Governing Council, Treasurer, Executive Board), the Alliance of Children and Families (Board Chair, Vice Chair, Board of Directors of its parent organization, Families International), the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (past Board Chair, Executive Committee), the Pennsylvania Public Health Association (Past President), the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (Trustee) and the American College of Health Care Executives (Past Regent). He is the recipient of numerous awards from groups as wide-ranging as local community alliances and national institutions.
However varied his professional involvement, one central theme defines Dr. Cohen’s career. Through his tenure at Public Health Management Corporation, and through the many other avenues by which he shares his penetrating grasp of the profession, Dr. Cohen expands the reach and increases the power of public health in the greater Philadelphia area and beyond.