Deborah J. Cohen, Ph.D.

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


Dr. Cohen is a recently elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, and she is serving as a member of the NAM workshop planning committee for the Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness’ workshop on Integrating Serious Illness Care into Primary Care Delivery. She is the Principal Investigator of the national evaluation of EvidenceNOW, funded by AHRQ. This is a $13 million dollar R01 that is wrapping up this year. We have several important publications (and more to come) from this AHRQ-funded initiative. Dr. Cohen participates in a number of other studies and state-evaluation efforts, including the evaluation of the Medicaid Transformation Project in Washington state. She proudly serves the Department of Family Medicine at the Research Vice Chair, and has recently transitioned from her role at Chair of the DFM Promotion & Tenure Committee, but will continue her support of faculty promotion as committee member.

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 outcome measures. She has led 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 related to prevention and health behavior change, behavioral, mental health and chronic care.

She has a Ph.D. in communication, where she studied interpersonal and organizational communication. She was trained in a range of qualitative data collection methods, and was trained to analyze qualitative and quantitative data, but her emphasis was on using a range of approaches to analyze qualitative data, with an emphasis in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis.


Selected publications

  • See complete list of publications under Links.


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