Photo of Deborah J. Cohen, Ph.D.

Deborah J. Cohen Ph.D.

    • Professor of Family Medicine School of Medicine
    • Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program School of Medicine

Deborah Cohen, Ph.D., has been developing her skills in qualitative methods for more than 20 years, and has spent more than a decade studying primary care practices, with a focus on clinician-patient communication, practice change and improvement and health information technology use.

Dr. Cohen has expertise in a range of qualitative methods and approaches, including interviewing, observation, and conversation analysis. Dr. Cohen is a highly skilled analyst, and she has experience supervising qualitative teams in data collection, management and analysis of qualitative and mixed methods data.

Dr. Cohen uses her qualitative expertise on mixed methods teams to look at how improvements are implemented in primary care practices, to identify what changes are made, and to compare the effectiveness of observed practice change on process and outcomes measures. She has been a Principal Investigator on several federal and foundation funded grants, leading mixed methods teams to understand and tackle the complicated problems related to implementing and disseminating new innovations and important quality improvements in primary care practice. Her work has focused on comparing the effectiveness of approaches for improving preventive services, health behavior and behavioral and mental health care in the primary care setting.

In addition to her research, Dr. Cohen mentors and teaches on the topics of qualitative methods and practice change and improvement. She is an Associate Editor for the Annals of Family Medicine, and she created a web-based resource for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is designed for people with an interest in qualitative research (

Areas of Research Keywords

Qualitative and Mixed-methods Research, Practice-based Research, Primary Care Practice Change and Improvement, Dissemination and Implementation Research, EHR Use, Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care, Preventive Service Delivery.

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  • "Multiple perspectives on clinical decision support" BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making April 24 2015
  • "Behavioral change counseling in the medical home" American Family Physician November 15 2007
  • "Accountable Care Organizations" Circulation August 18 2015
  • "Teachable moments for health behavior change and intermediate patient outcomes" Patient Education and Counseling  2014
  • "Re" Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine January 2014
  • "How Clinicians Use Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs" Pain Medicine  2014
  • "Family physicians are an important source of newborn care" American Family Physician August 15 2003
  • "Understanding healing relationships in primary care" Annals of Family Medicine July 2008
  • "Studying the vendor perspective on clinical decision support." AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium  2011
  • "Use of qualitative methods and user-centered design to develop customized health information technology tools within federally qualified health centers to keep children insured" Journal of Ambulatory Care Management  2014
  • "A typology of electronic health record workarounds in small-to-medium size primary care practices" Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association  2014
  • "IMPACCT Kids' Care" Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research August 1 2015
  • "Opportunistic approaches for delivering preventive care in illness visits" Preventive Medicine May 2004
  • "Physicians' early perspectives on Oregon's Coordinated Care Organizations" Health care January 14 2015
  • "Oregon's medicaid transformation-observations on organizational structure and strategy" Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law  2015
  • "Using learning teams for reflective adaptation (ULTRA)" Annals of Family Medicine September 2010
  • "Evaluative criteria for qualitative research in health care" Annals of Family Medicine July 2008
  • "Learning Evaluation" Implementation Science March 10 2015
  • "Fidelity Versus Flexibility. Translating Evidence-Based Research into Practice" American Journal of Preventive Medicine November 2008
  • "Antibiotic use in acute respiratory infections and the ways patients pressure physicians for a prescription" Journal of Family Practice  2001
  • "In this issue" Annals of Family Medicine May 2010
  • "In this issue" Annals of Family Medicine January 2013
  • "Features of the Chronic Care Model (CCM) associated with behavioral counseling and diabetes care in community primary care" Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine May 2010
  • "Closing the vaccine gap among toddlers in N.J. family physicians' practices." The Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association  2005
  • "Oregon's Medicaid transformation" Health care September 1 2014
  • "Typical electronic health record use in primary care practices and the quality of diabetes care" Annals of Family Medicine May 2012
  • "Bridging Primary Care Practices and Communities to Promote Healthy Behaviors" American Journal of Preventive Medicine November 2008
  • "Rethinking prevention in primary care" Milbank Quarterly January 2007
  • "Identifying teachable moments for health behavior counseling in primary care" Patient Education and Counseling November 2011
  • "Practice-Level Approaches for Behavioral Counseling and Patient Health Behaviors" American Journal of Preventive Medicine November 2008

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