Auditorium Dedicated to Memory of Donald J. Cohen, Former Director of the Yale Child Study Center

The dedication of the Donald J. Cohen Auditorium will take place at a day-long ceremony on June 19 at 8:15 a.m. in Harkness Auditorium.

The dedication of the Donald J. Cohen Auditorium will take place at a day-long ceremony on June 19 at 8:15 a.m. in Harkness Auditorium.

The dedication ceremony will include presentations by Dante Cicchetti, Sue Levi Pearl, Abbey Meyers, Duane Alexander, M.D., and a seminar at 3 p.m. titled “Children Exposed to Community Violence.” The dedication will end at 4:30 p.m. with a reception at the Donald J. Cohen Auditorium at the Child Study Center.

Cohen was director of the Child Study Center from 1983 until his death in October 2001. He was widely recognized as the leading American child psychiatrist of his generation. Cohen was also known as a great scientist, psychoanalyst, social policy advocate and institution builder. He made groundbreaking contributions in biological psychiatry, clinical care and the development of international collaborations in child psychiatry. Cohen pioneered neurobiological research into autism and tic disorders, particularly Tourette’s syndrome. He was the first to propose using the anti-hypertensive drug clonidine for Tourette’s syndrome, which opened new avenues to treating and understanding the disorder.

One of the world’s leading centers of child psychiatry, the Child Study Center is internationally recognized for its multidisciplinary programs of clinical and basic research, professional education and clinical services and advocacy for children and families.

Together with colleagues at the Child Study Center and around the world, Cohen developed a series of programs to assist children exposed to violence and disaster. One such program, the Yale-New Haven Child Development Community Policing Program, trains police officers, who usually are the first to encounter children who have witnessed or committed a violent crime, in how to respond to children and families, with immediate assistance from a team of clinicians from the Center and specially trained officers to help children cope with the trauma of exposure to violence and with the longer-term aftermath of such trauma.

Cohen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and psychology from Brandeis University and went on to Cambridge University as a Fulbright Scholar in philosophy. He received his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in 1966. Before joining the Yale faculty, he served as special assistant to the director of the Office of Child Development in Washington, D.C. Cohen is the author of over 400 articles, chapters and books. A man of broad intellectual interests, he served as chair of the publications committee and vice president of the Board of Governors of Yale University Press. He was also chair of the Child Health and Development Institute, the International President of the Telefon Azzuro Foundation (Italy) and chair of the international advisory committee of the Schneider Children’s Hospital of Israel, as well as a member of the editorial board of scientific publications in France, Israel, Great Britain and the United States.

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