Prevention Institute founder and Executive Director, Mr. Cohen has been an advocate for public health and prevention since 1972. He formed the first coalition in the nation to change tobacco policy, helped catalyze the nation's food labeling law, and helped shape strategy to secure passage of bicycle and motorcycle helmet laws, strengthen child and adult passenger restraint laws, and establish fluoridation requirements in California.
Mr. Cohen developed the Spectrum of Prevention as a tool to promote health through public policy and continues to promote the understanding and utility of primary prevention. He has developed a unique approach to health equity and has produced numerous resources on the topic, including: the California Health Department’s state-wide strategy, The California Campaign to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health, co-chaired by the American Public Health Association, the California Health and Human Services Agency, and staffed by Prevention Institute; and THRIVE (Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments), an interactive web tool to help communities understand and prioritize factors in the environment that impact health disparities.
Mr. Cohen writes and trains nationally on nutrition and physical activity environments, including The Built Environment and Health: 11 Profiles of Neighborhood Transformation, a set of 11 program profiles focused on low-income communities that highlight neighborhood-level changes to the built environment that can have a positive influence on the health of community residents. Under his leadership, Prevention Institute facilitates Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments, a California statewide coalition working to promote healthy eating and activity. In addition, Prevention Institute has developed tools to help community members work locally to make healthy eating and regular activity a realistic option for everyone, including the Environmental Nutrition and Activity Community Tool (ENACT) and the ENACT Local Policy Database, which catalogues promising local policies that can used as catalysts for advancing policy in other locales, and at the state and federal levels.
Mr. Cohen is the co-editor of Prevention is Primary: Strategies for Community Wellbeing, an academic text with a unique focus on prevention, published in March 2007 by Jossey-Bass/Wiley and co-publisher, The American Public Health Association. Mr. Cohen is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Secretary's Award for Health Promotion from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.