Alan R. Cohen, MD, FACS, FAAP

2017, Boston, MA

Alan R. Cohen was born in New York City and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York. He graduated Summa cum Laude from Harvard University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He obtained his MD degree at Cornell Medical College and went to the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to begin a career in internal medicine. The following year, he moved to New York City to do general surgery at the New York University Medical Center. While there, he was influenced by Joseph Ransohoff, Eugene Flamm, and Fred Epstein, and went on to complete a neurosurgical residency at NYU, which included a fellowship in neurology at the National Hospital, Queen Square, London, England.

Dr. Cohen joined the faculty of the Tufts University School of Medicine where he served as director of pediatric neurosurgery for seven years. He spent the next 17 years in Cleveland at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where he was chief of pediatric neurosurgery and surgeon-in-chief at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, the Reinberger Professor of Neurological Surgery, and pediatrics and residency program director.

Dr. Cohen spent the next five years in Boston as neurosurgeon-in-chief and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Franc D. Ingraham Professor of Neurological Surgery at Harvard Medical School. In 2016, he moved to Johns Hopkins where he is chief of pediatric neurosurgery and the Carson Spiro Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery. 

He has served as president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, president of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons, president of the Boston Society of Neurology and Psychiatry, president of the Ohio State Neurosurgical Society, chairman of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery, and vice president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery. He is a director of the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery and a director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

His primary clinical interests are pediatric brain tumors and minimally invasive neurosurgery. His research interests have focused on novel surgical approaches and minimally invasive neurosurgery. He has directed the annual AANS Practical Course on Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery since 1993. His awards include Alpha Omega Alpha, the National Achievement Award from the Children’s Miracle Network, Best Doctors in America, the Scholarship in Teaching Award from the CWRU School of Medicine, and the Golden Stethoscope Award from Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

He has given more than 300 domestic and international presentations, and served as visiting professor at 50 academic centers in the United States and abroad. He was the inaugural United States editor of the international journal Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, and serves on the editorial board of Child’s Nervous System. His bibliography includes more than 175 journal, chapter, and book publications, a semi-autobiographical movie titled Extreme Neurosurgery, a popular song titled “Extreme Neuroanatomy,” and a rap video titled Extreme Medulloblastoma.

Dr. Cohen’s non-medical interests include music and sleight of hand. In 1974, he enjoyed an apprenticeship with The Great Slydini in New York City. His wife, Shenandoah Robinson, MD, is a pediatric neurosurgeon and neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins. His sons Nathan and Jeremy have each followed in their father’s footsteps—one as a doctor of medicine and the other as a filmmaker.