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Cohen named Hackett Memorial Award winner

Date: 6/25/2014

SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Lewis Cohen of the Psychiatric Consultation Service at Baystate Medical Center has been chosen from among a highly competitive roster of nominations to receive the prestigious 2014 Eleanor and Thomas P. Hackett Memorial Award.

The highest honor bestowed annually by the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM), the award recognizes outstanding achievement across an entire career in psychosomatic medicine in training, research, clinical practice and leadership.

“The competition was quite fierce this year, however, the committee heavily endorsed your candidacy and felt that you far outshone your competition,” wrote Dr. Elisabeth Kunkel, FAPM, chair of the APM’s Fellowship and Awards Committee, in a letter to Cohen.

Named in honor of the late Thomas and Eleanor Hackett, the Hackett Award acknowledges an individual exemplifying the following characteristics:

• An individual whose concern for others, warmth, humor, and commitment to excellence best recalls Thomas Hackett’s vibrant spirit;

• An individual whose gifts as a teacher, particularly at the bedside, are best characterized as inspiring;

• An individual whose intellectual curiosity has generated innovate research at the interface of psychiatry and medicine – a “trailblazer;”

• And n individual who has provided leadership across a range of tasks for the field of consultation psychiatry.

“This is a great honor for Dr. Cohen, as well as for Baystate. It is especially fitting since he trained and worked with Dr. Hackett,” said Dr. Benjamin Liptztin, chair, Department of Psychiatry, Baystate Health.

Cohen, who also serves as a professor of psychiatry for Tufts University School of Medicine - for which Baystate Medical Center serves as the Western Campus – is director of Baystate’s Renal Palliative Care Initiative. He has written numerous journal articles on dialysis, palliative care, and end of life issues, and is also the author of a book published in 2010 by Harper Collins entitled “No Good Deed: A Story of Medicine, Murder Accusations and the Debate Over How We Die.”

He received his medical degree from the State University of New York/Downstate Medical Center Medical School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and completed his psychiatric residency at Downstate Medical Center. Cohen also completed a consultation psychiatry fellowship at Harvard University/Mass General Hospital and a consultation and emergency psychiatry fellowship at Tufts University/New England Medical Center.

Cohen is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Scholars Bellagio Residency Award, Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, and Tufts University School of Medicine Distinguished Faculty Award.

The Eleanor and Thomas P. Hackett Memorial Award was established in 1988 to honor Thomas P. Hackett, Jr., MD, FAPM, professor and chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and president of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. . Hackett was a long-time leader in the field of C-L (consultation-liaison) psychiatry. He died of a heart attack at age 59, two months after he took office as president of APM. The first Hackett award was presented in 1989 to Dr. Edwin H. Cassem, FAPM, who also succeeded Dr. Hackett as chief of psychiatry at Mass General.

In 2009 the award was renamed to include Hackett's wife, Eleanor, who passed away of leukemia in April 2009. She had presented the award at the annual meeting almost every year since its inception.

“Ellie was the funniest woman that I have ever met, and Tom had the loudest laugh imaginable. You could hear his booming chuckles resounding along the halls of Massachusetts General long before you would ever catch sight of him. The two of them conducted a writing workshop where I overcame my fear of publishing. I adored them both and it is the honor of my life to receive this award,” Cohen said.