Dr. Deborah Cohen headshot

Deborah A. Cohen, MD, MPH

Research Scientist III

Division of Behavioral Health




Dr. Deborah Cohen studies how environmental factors influence the health of communities and affect health disparities. Her work has focused on improving the food environment, which is currently designed to promote the overconsumption of nutrient-poor foods. She has also investigated how the management and design of neighborhood parks can support more people to be physically active. She is currently developing and evaluating interventions to promote more physical activity and a healthier diet.

Dr. Cohen previously served as a senior physician policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. She has served on panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She is author of A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Influences Behind the Obesity Epidemic—and How We Can End It and co-author of Prescription for a Healthy Nation: A New Approach to Improving Our Lives by Fixing Our Everyday Worlds. 



Areas of Focus

  • Obesity, diet
  • Physical activity
  • Parks and urban design
  • Food retail outlets, food environment


University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
MPH, Epidemiology
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California