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Honoring Dr. Donald J. Cohen

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman

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Mr. President, today I honor Dr. Donald J. Cohen, a doctor, an author, an outstanding psychiatrist, a true professional, and caregiver and friend to the thousands of people who had the good fortune of knowing him. Today I grieve for my friend, as he recently passed away after only 61 short years on this Earth. I could think of no better tribute to this great man than to name the very program he envisioned so many years ago to help the victims of violence-related stress in his honor. Thus, I submitted an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill to amend Section 582 of the Public Health Service Act to rename this critically important grant program, the ``Donald J. Cohen National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative.'' I am proud to say that this amendment has been accepted by both the House and Senate and for that I thank my colleagues.

Dr. Cohen did more in his 61 years than most anyone else could ever hope to accomplish in a lifetime. He started at Brandeis University in 1961 on the course to a medical career and then went on to graduate from Yale University School of Medicine in 1966. Over the following 35 years, Dr. Cohen dedicated his life to helping children and adolescents. Donald spent virtually all of his adult life working tirelessly to develop and promote programs to assist children. I recently learned from my colleague, Senator Dodd, that Dr. Cohen was the first person to suggest a special health insurance program for children that ultimately became the Childrens' Health Insurance Program. Today, this program throughout the Nation provides health care for millions of children who would otherwise go without the basic care they need to grow up healthy and flourish.

Dr. Cohen was a well-respected and world-renowned physician and teacher. Over the course of his illustrious career, he held many faculty positions at the Yale University School of Medicine, culminating with his appointment as the child Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Yale Children's Hospital and Director of the Child Study Center at Yale School of Medicine. He held these positions for the past 18 years, which, as anyone in medicine will tell you, is an incredible testimony to his stature and leadership.

He has been honored by the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Commission on Children, and the American Psychiatric association for his outstanding work. He received numerous lifetime research awards, including the Strecker Award from the Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital and the Agnes Purcell McGavin Award for Prevention from the APA. He was recognized as a Sterling Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology. He served as President of the International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions since 1993 and published over 300 papers and books. Dr. Cohen was also awarded a Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, from the Bar Ilan University in Israel.

As you can see, Dr. Donald Cohen was quite a remarkable man. So many people have been touched in some way by this great man's dedication.

It can be said that Dr. Cohen indeed achieved what most of us strive for, to make a difference. For those of us who knew him, for those of us in whose life Donald made a difference, his passing comes painfully too soon. We mourn and pray that Donald's soul will be embraced in the warmth of eternal life and that God will comfort and strengthen Phyllis, his wife, their children and grandchildren, and all of the family, friends, colleagues and patients who will miss him. I know the spirit and warmth of Dr. Donald J. Cohen will burn on in the hearts of those who grieve him. It is with spirit that I ask my colleagues to honor this man with the dedication of the Donald J. Cohen National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative.