Page 2 of 2   <      

Gene D. Cohen, 65: Psychiatrist broke ground in geriatrics

Gene D. Cohen promoted the idea that senior citizens have untapped stores of creativity.
Gene D. Cohen promoted the idea that senior citizens have untapped stores of creativity. (Joshua Soros)
  Enlarge Photo    

He also patented his adaptation of the centuries-old game of cribbage, an exercise that his attorney called fruitless until, after an in-person appeal, Dr. Cohen came away with the rights to a game that was reconfigured for those with visual or other physical disabilities.

Born Sept. 18, 1944, in Brockton, Mass., Dr. Cohen early on showed an interest in research, winning first place at the state high school science fair with a project examining aging in a particular fish species. He graduated from Harvard College in 1966 and Georgetown University's School of Medicine in 1970. He received a doctorate in gerontology at the Union Institute and University in 1981.

He joined the Public Health Service and set up the first federally supported national center on mental health and aging in the world. After more than two decades at the National Institutes of Health, he moved to GWU in the mid-1990s.

He wrote three books by himself, "The Brain in Human Aging" (1988), "The Creative Age" (2000) and "The Mature Mind" (2005) and co-wrote or edited more than 150 others. He was the founding editor of both journals of geriatric psychiatry and served as past president of the Gerontological Society of America, which will name a research award in creative aging for him.

He also appeared on TV network news shows and in an award-winning series of public service messages with the comedian George Burns.

His marriage to Joyce Tenneson ended in divorce.

In addition to his second wife, survivors include a son from his first marriage, Alex Cohen of Lincolnville, Maine; a daughter from his second marriage, Eliana Miller-Cohen of Kensington; a brother; and four grandchildren.

<       2

© 2009 The Washington Post Company