Distinguished Scholar named vice chair for Academic Affairs for Ophthalmology at NYU Langone Health

Elisabeth J. Cohen, MD, has been appointed vice chair for academic affairs, enhancing the department’s commitment to research and advancing its reputation for excellence in studying and treating diseases of the eye.

Elisabeth J. Cohen, MD, a researcher and longtime faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, has been appointed vice chair for academic affairs, enhancing the department’s commitment to research and advancing its reputation for excellence in studying and treating diseases of the eye.

Dr. Cohen has advanced the field not only within her own areas of study, but also through her service, training countless young physicians over her career,” Kathryn A. Colby, MD PhD, chair of the department, said in a news release. “In her new role, Dr. Cohen and I will work closely together to enhance the quality of research, clinical care, and faculty development to become one of the best ophthalmology departments in the country.”

Cohen’s primary responsibilities in this role will be mentoring new faculty and residents to further develop the department’s research portfolio and identifying opportunities to elevate patient care in both the outpatient and inpatient settings.

“As the department grows, we’re recruiting many talented young physician–scientists, and in turn, they will become mentors for future generations,” Cohen said in a statement. “We attract exceptional people and are only getting better as we continue to implement our vision for the department.”

NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology has been contributing to research, education, and patient care for more than 178 years, and is one of the only ophthalmology departments in the country fully integrated with a top-ranked academic medical center.

An undergraduate alumna of Harvard College, Dr. Cohen received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School—a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha. Following completion of a medical internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she completed a residency at Wills Eye Hospital and a cornea fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Eye Research Institute at Harvard.

The news release noted that Cohen joined NYU Langone Health in 2010 and serves as a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology. Since 2014, she is the advisor for medical students enrolled in the accelerated three-year MD pathway at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. She received the Master Educator Award in 2017 from NYU Langone.

She is the study chair and principal investigator for the Zoster Eye Disease Study (ZEDS), a large multisite clinical trial supported by a $15 million grant from the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, to evaluate new treatments for herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), a form of shingles that can seriously and permanently affect the eye, cause chronic debilitating pain, and sometimes stroke.

Cohen’s interest in this area of research is more than just a professional venture. In 2008, she experienced permanent vision impairment from HZO in her right eye. Since then, she has been a tireless advocate of vaccination to prevent HZO, as well as developing the clinical trial to help better treat those who have the disease.

Before her work at NYU Langone, Cohen was director of the Cornea Service at Wills Eye Hospital and trained more than 100 clinical and research cornea fellows over 30 years. DCohen has published more than 290 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She served on the editorial board of the Archives of Ophthalmology from 1994 to 2013. In 2009, she became a member of the American Ophthalmological Society. Among Dr. Cohen’s many personal distinctions as an ophthalmology researcher and professor, in 2015 the Cornea Society awarded her the Castroviejo Medal, its highest honor.

About the Department of Ophthalmology

In addition to providing comprehensive, high-quality patient care, the Department of Ophthalmology conducts world-class research. Many pioneering treatments for eye disease management were discovered at NYU Langone, which remains committed to a leadership role in developing new technologies and treatments. The Ophthalmic Imaging Research Laboratory team at the NYU Langone Eye Center investigates new treatments, with expertise in imaging, biomedical engineering, glaucomamacular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, corneal disease, vision neuroscience, and vision restoration. The Eye Center also collaborates closely with NYU’s vision neuroscientists at the Washington Square campus and NYU Langone’s Neuroscience Institute, and with biomedical engineers at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

The Department of Ophthalmology recently moved into a state-of-the-art facility in Midtown Manhattan, bringing together clinicians, researchers, and trainees into one collaborative space.