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View from the Top | Summer Reflections – Remembering Dr. Jeffrey M. Cohen

By SRAI News posted 07-08-2021 09:27 AM


View from the Top | Summer Reflections – Remembering Dr. Jeffrey M. Cohen

Last month I had the privilege of facilitating four 3-hour sessions on Research Compliance, Ethics, and Integrity with Roseann Luongo. We had a great group of about 50 people from all over the US and Canada join us in discussing every research integrity topic you can think of: human and animal subject research protections, biosafety and lab safety, conflicts of interest, authorship and publication, data management, collaboration, peer review, mentoring, science and social responsibility, risk assessment, auditing, undue foreign influence… you get the idea.

As I look back on my almost 19 years in research management, I want to acknowledge that it was my first boss at Weill Cornell Medical College, Jeffrey M. Cohen, PhD who set me on a career path that I never would have envisioned for myself. He sent me on my very first business trip! Imagine, I was 46 years old and I had never been on a plane or stayed in a hotel room by myself. That first trip was to an IACUC PRIM&R meeting in San Diego. The pre-conference workshops were an RCR 101 – Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research, led by Michael Kalichman from UCSD and Francis Macrina from VCU. Mike and Frank even then were considered two of the strongest thought leaders in the RCR world, and I was privileged to learn from these icons.

In October 2003, Jeff sent me to my very first SRAI meeting in Pittsburgh. That was the beginning of a lifelong addiction to SRAI and I have not missed an annual meeting since then. I have spoken often on how I owe my career success to SRAI, but in truth, it was Jeff Cohen who first saw the potential in a former fine arts major/conflict resolution specialist and took a chance by investing the necessary resources needed to give me the knowledge and development to grow from a research education coordinator to a senior director.

Through the years, whenever I needed a speaker for the Research Ethics/Compliance track at an SRAI annual or section meeting – especially on Human Research Protections – Jeff was always willing to pitch in and lend his expertise. As a matter of fact, the very first paper I ever presented at an SRAI Symposium – in Salt Lake City, was co-authored by Jeff.

Jeff died on May 29, 2021. He has left behind a wonderful legacy. He lives on, not only in his family, but all those he touched professionally as a mentor, colleague, advisor, and friend. He will always hold a special place in my heart.

I want to remind you about some other exciting SRAI initiatives:

  • SRAI’s Podcast series, Shop Talk continues with June’s episode featuring Carla DeMarco talking to Karen Mitchell, Assistant Vice President, Research Administration at Temple University, about her “Pathway and Perspectives.”
  • SRAI on Social Media: Do you Tweet? Post on Facebook? Check LinkedIn? Peek at Instagram? Watch YouTube? Or maybe you don’t post or interact, but you are always looking and reading… either way, we hope you are friending, sharing, and liking all things SRAI! Look for SRAI’s #SRAIUnMasked! series – we highlight different members, and you can be next! To share your story, contact for details.
  • iSRA Summer Intensives:There are several virtual programs (e.g., Clinical Trials in Healthcare, Post-Award Administration) geared for all levels of administrators being offered this Summer. See the website for topics, dates, and details. 

There’s so much happening each month – don’t miss an opportunity to share, learn, engage, and grow.

Hope to see you at one (or more) of our 2021 events – including the 2021 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA (October 23-27). Registration is now open – reserve your hotel room today!

 Always looking to continue the conversation…


Authored by Debra Schaller-Demers, Senior Director, Research Outreach and Compliance
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
SRAI President