As senior medical correspondent for CNN's Health, Medical, and Wellness Unit, Elizabeth Cohen has reported breaking medical news ranging from the BP oil disaster and the Haiti Earthquake to Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Her signature digital column, The Empowered Patient, keeps consumers informed on how to ensure the best medical care for themselves and their families and was followed by a book, The Empowered Patient: How to Get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time, published in August 2010.
Cohen’s reporting on the BP scandal included a whistleblower exclusive with a fisherman’s wife who was among the first to speak out about the health concerns of fishermen now working for BP as clean-up workers. In Haiti, she reported from a makeshift hospital, bringing insights to the injury triage, the complications of transporting critical patients to the US, and the lack of medical infrastructure and resources. She added clarity to reporting on the global response to H1N1 influenza, interviewing patients and reporting on the latest prevention updates.
Cohen’s report on the aftermath of the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 contributed to CNN's Peabody and Emmy Award-winning coverage through stories about airlifts of premature babies from flooded neonatal intensive care units and reports on displaced cancer patients in desperate need of treatment. She also contributed to CNN’s Emmy Award-winning coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, reporting with sensitivity and professionalism on the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero and the search for missing people in lower Manhattan.
Passionate about teaching others how to be advocates for themselves and their families when faced with a less than perfect medical system, Elizabeth Cohen speaks fluidly about patients’ need to take better control of their healthcare by learning the basic skills for achieving the best medical care in her engaging keynotes.
Before joining CNN in 1991, Cohen was associate producer of Green Watch, an environmental television program on WLVI in Boston, a reporter for States News Service in Washington, DC, and a reporter for the Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York, where she won a Hearst Award.
Her field reporting has also included coverage of the Virginia Tech student shootings, offering a detailed account of what happened from a student who claimed to be the last person shot that day.
Cohen received a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and a National Headliner Award in 2006 for “A Lesson Before Dying,” a feature on the medical decisions made by a Georgia man at the end of his life. In 2007, Cohen was honored by the Newswomen's Club of New York and the New York Association of Black Journalists for the feature “African Americans and Bone Marrow Transplants.” The Mental Health America Media Awards honored her in 2007 for “Perfection Obsession,” a feature focusing on a teen’s battle against obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2008, Cohen received a Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television for “Where’s Molly?”, a feature on a man’s search for his sister nearly 50 years after she was placed in a residential mental health institution. Cohen is the recipient of the outstanding alumna award from Columbia College in New York City, where she received a bachelor’s degree in history, and the Distinguished Alumni Award at Boston University where she earned a master's degree in public health.
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