Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Dr. Cohen helped develop palliative care research in Canada by leading the CIHR/NCIC Strategic Training Initiative in Palliative Care, the CIHR New Emerging Team in Family Caregiving in Palliative and End of Life Care, and the NCIC Sociobehavioural Cancer Research Network Palliative Care Team.
Her research focuses on many aspects of palliative care, all with a whole-person care perspective. The ultimate goal of her research is to optimize the quality of life of palliative care patients and that of their family caregivers. She developed measures of their quality of life (MQOL: McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire; QOLLTI-F: Quality of Life in Life-Threatening Illness Family Caregiver version).
She also developed measures of satisfaction with end-of-life care and the quality of death. Her research highlights the importance of existential well-being. With her trainees, she is now developing and testing interventions to help people re-establish a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, while taking into account a diagnosis of advanced cancer or recent bereavement.
An example of her outstanding research is that Dr Cohen and her team have implemented and formatively evaluated a Volunteer Caregiver Guide service designed to support family caregivers of palliative care patients at home. This innovative research underscores the fact that caregivers (often invisible and at great risk burn out) are an important part of the public health conversation and points the way for communities to mobilize their efforts to create sustainable, compassionate services.
Nominated by colleagues at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences