Irvin M. Cohen, MD, died on September 7, 2019 in Savannah, Georgia, at the age of 97. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but lived most of his life in Houston, Texas, where he practiced psychiatry for almost fifty years. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, before serving as a captain in the Army Medical Corps. In 1954 he married Dorothy Lewis, who predeceased him in 2009.
Dr. Cohen had a distinguished career in psychiatry, with a particular interest in psychopharmacology. He was recognized for his role in the early use of chlorpromazine in the treatment of schizophrenia, the development of the first benzodiazepine, Librium, and the adoption of lithium to treat bipolar disorder. He won the Taylor Manor Hospital Award for Discoveries in Biological Psychiatry, and chaired the American Psychiatric Association Lithium Task Force. A Distinguished Life Fellow of the APA, and an Emeritus Fellow of the American College of Psychiatry, he was elected Speaker of the APA Assembly, and served on the APA Board of Trustees as well as the Council on Research.
Dr. Cohen held clinical professorships at Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Medical School, Houston, and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He served on the Executive Council of the Board of Houston Methodist Hospital and led several psychiatric organizations in Texas and the South.
Survivors include his brother, Elliott Cohen of San Antonio, his children Dannah Bonnell (Tom) of Manhattan, David Cohen (Lori Fassman) of Acton, Massachusetts, and his grandchildren, Trey, Rebecca, and Max.
Donations in his memory may be made to Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation, P. O. 4384, Houston, Texas 77210-4384 or to the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, 800 Maine Avenue SW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20024.