Elizabeth Cohen Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Elizabeth Cohen        

Senior Correspondent for the CNN Health, Medical, & Wellness Unit

As senior medical correspondent for CNN's Health, Medical, and Wellness Unit, Elizabeth Cohen has reported breaking medical news ranging from the BP oil disaster and the Haiti Earthquake to Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Her signature digital column, The Empowered Patient, keeps consumers informed on how to ensure the best medical care for themselves and their families and was followed by a book, The Empowered Patient: How to Get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time, published in August 2010.

Cohen’s reporting on the BP scandal included a whistleblower exclusive with a fisherman’s wife who was among the first to speak out about the health concerns of fishermen now working for BP as clean-up workers. In Haiti, she reported from a makeshift hospital, bringing insights to the injury triage, the complications of transporting critical patients to the US, and the lack of medical infrastructure and resources. She added clarity to reporting on the global response to H1N1 influenza, interviewing patients and reporting on the latest prevention updates.

Cohen’s report on the aftermath of the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 contributed to CNN's Peabody and Emmy Award-winning coverage through stories about airlifts of premature babies from flooded neonatal intensive care units and reports on displaced cancer patients in desperate need of treatment. She also contributed to CNN’s Emmy Award-winning coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, reporting with sensitivity and professionalism on the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero and the search for missing people in lower Manhattan.

Passionate about teaching others how to be advocates for themselves and their families when faced with a less than perfect medical system, Elizabeth Cohen speaks fluidly about patients’ need to take better control of their healthcare by learning the basic skills for achieving the best medical care in her engaging keynotes.

Before joining CNN in 1991, Cohen was associate producer of Green Watch, an environmental television program on WLVI in Boston, a reporter for States News Service in Washington, DC, and a reporter for the Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York, where she won a Hearst Award.

Her field reporting has also included coverage of the Virginia Tech student shootings, offering a detailed account of what happened from a student who claimed to be the last person shot that day.

Cohen received a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and a National Headliner Award in 2006 for “A Lesson Before Dying,” a feature on the medical decisions made by a Georgia man at the end of his life. In 2007, Cohen was honored by the Newswomen's Club of New York and the New York Association of Black Journalists for the feature “African Americans and Bone Marrow Transplants.” The Mental Health America Media Awards honored her in 2007 for “Perfection Obsession,” a feature focusing on a teen’s battle against obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2008, Cohen received a Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television for “Where’s Molly?”, a feature on a man’s search for his sister nearly 50 years after she was placed in a residential mental health institution. Cohen is the recipient of the outstanding alumna award from Columbia College in New York City, where she received a bachelor’s degree in history, and the Distinguished Alumni Award at Boston University where she earned a master's degree in public health.

Speech Topics

The Ultimate Balancing Act: Happy Working Motherhood

If you're finding it more challenging than ever to juggle life's demands, you're not alone. Many people have asked CNN senior medical correspondent and speaker Elizabeth Cohen, the mother of four young girls, how she does it all. With charm and humor, Cohen helps parents figure out this ultimate balancing act. It's easy to get lost in the chaos of today's fast-paced world - Cohen will help you sort it out and become a happy mom and successful professional.

Navigating Healthcare Reform

Our complex new healthcare system presents challenges for companies, insurers, physicians, and patients. CNN senior medical correspondent and speaker Elizabeth Cohen explains the effects of the new law and how each sector will be impacted. Cohen, an expert on healthcare reform who's covered The Affordable Care Act from the legislative debate in 2009 to current implementation, has conducted hundreds of investigative interviews and can synthesize and distill the act's thousands of pages into pragmatic steps you need to take as reform is put in place.

The Empowered Patient

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is passionate about helping doctors and patients navigate our imperfect medical system. Today, doctors are more rushed than ever, and nurses often have too many patients in their care, making medical errors more prevalent. Cohen, author of the The Empowered Patient and host of the show 25 Shocking Medical Mistakes, explains how patients can take control of their healthcare and become advocates for themselves and their family. Using her own personal stories as illustration, Cohen explains the basic skills needed for achieving the best medical care.

Pleasing patients in the new health care world

What do patients want? This question becomes more important than ever under Obamacare, which financially rewards doctors and hospitals for making patients happy. Based on hundreds of interviews with Washington insiders, advocates, and patients, Elizabeth Cohen, author of The Empowered Patient, shows how pleasing patients can powerfully affect your bottom line. A 20-year veteran of CNN, Cohen hones in on the patient’s perception of care, highlighting which areas of quality and safety matter most.

Future trends in healthcare

What will healthcare look like in the future? How will decision making shift between doctors, insurance companies, and patients? Elizabeth Cohen reveals that everything from a hospital stay to a check up will change in the future because of five trends: patient empowerment, technology, value-based billing, social media, and increased transparency for cost and outcomes. Cohen examines how these trends interact to affect both patients and providers - in fact, to seismically alter the way healthcare will be delivered and received.


Heart doctors outraged Florida dumps hospital standards after big gifts to GOP
The state of Florida is putting thousands of children with heart defects at risk, a group of cardiac doctors say, because of a change in policy that came after Tenet Healthcare contributed $200,000 to Florida Republicans.

Related Speakers View all

More like Elizabeth