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Jerome Cohen

Professor of Social Welfare, Emeritus

 Los Angeles



Jerome Cohen, Ph.D., known by friends and colleagues as “Jay,” died after a long illness on March 16, 2003. He was an important leader, advocate, teacher, clinician, scientist, mentor, collaborator and friend to many in the local, national, and international communities of social work and other health, mental health, and social science disciplines.

A graduate of the Denver University School of Social Work, he received his Ph.D. in the social sciences from Syracuse University, where he then joined the faculty. He went on to become an associate professor at the Smith College of Social Work less than a decade later. At Smith College, he continued to emphasize what for him were inseparable interests, clinical practice and research on clinically relevant topics looked at in meaningful ways. Jay's work focused upon making contributions to both the advancement of the profession, and most importantly, to the useful understanding of how the clinician might support the patient or client toward a richer and fuller life of their own choosing.

In 1964 he joined the faculty of the School of Social Welfare at UCLA. Over the next three decades, Jay made significant contributions as the chair of the Doctoral Program, chair of the Clinical Program, associate dean of the School, and as a highly esteemed clinical teacher, questioning and supporting research collaborators, faculty, students, colleagues and friends. A focus of his early research interests at UCLA was employer provided mental health services, the precursors of the current Employee Assistance Programs. His work included services in then West Germany as well as in the United States. During the period of social transition of the late 1960s and early 1970s he was engaged in a large study of alternative family forms and life styles. He was a Fellow for one year at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy.

He served on many committees and held offices in both the Council on Social Work Education and the National Association of Social Workers and was a graduate of the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Institute. He made significant international contributions in Sweden, England, Germany, and Italy. As a visiting professor and life-long colleague, he supported the establishment of Social Work at the University of Stockholm and collaborated on important research in mental health and health related issues. These collaborations involved national and international colleagues in mental health and health related fields of practice.

He is survived by his wife Roxanne, their two daughters, and four grandchildren.


Jeanne Giovannoni

Mary Kay Oliveri