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Elizabeth  Cohen

Elizabeth Cohen

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent & Author, The Empowered Patient


Elizabeth Cohen is senior medical correspondent for CNN's Health, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking medical news and health consumer reporting on CNN and CNN.com. Cohen's recent investigative pieces include "Escape from the Mayo Clinic," a three-part series on a family forced to extract their teenage daughter from the renowned clinic after doctors refused to discharge or transfer her. In 2017, Cohen exposed the Florida Department of Health had removed 13,000 very sick children off of the State's Children's Medical Services and moved them to other Medicaid plans that did not offer their specialized care. The report led lawmakers to ask for an investigation. Read More >

Cohen was the first to report on Bayer paying doctors millions to push Essure, a questionable and possibly unsafe birth control device and the shut-down of a Florida nursing home after surveillance footage showed an 86-year-old resident being beaten.

In addition to her investigative pieces, Cohen has covered several health crises throughout the US including coverage of the acute flaccid myelitis outbreak affecting children in 2018, the record-breaking flu outbreak from 2017-2018, the current measles outbreak, the anti-vaccination movement, and the deaths of children at the border. Cohen won a Gracie award from the Alliance of Women in Media for her coverage of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

In 2010, Cohen provided viewers with on-the-scene accounts of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the devastating Haitian earthquake in January. Cohen's reporting included a whistleblower exclusive with a fisherman's wife who was among the first to speak out about the health concerns of fishermen now working for BP as clean-up workers. In Haiti, Cohen reported from a makeshift hospital, bringing insights to the injury triage, the complications of transporting critical patients to the U.S., and the lack of medical infrastructure and resources.

Cohen reported on the aftermath of the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, contributing to CNN's Peabody and EMMY® Award-winning coverage through stories about airlifts of premature babies from flooded neonatal intensive care units and reports on displaced cancer patients in desperate need of treatment. She contributed to CNN's EMMY® Award-winning coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, reporting with sensitivity and professionalism on the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero and the search for missing people in lower Manhattan.

Her book, THE EMPOWERED PATIENT: How to get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time, was published in August 2010. Passionate about teaching others how to be advocates for themselves and their families when faced with a less-than-perfect medical system, Elizabeth Cohen speaks fluidly about how patients’ need to take better control of their healthcare by learning the basic skills for achieving the best medical care.

Cohen received a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and a National Headliner Award in 2006 for "A Lesson Before Dying," a feature on the medical decisions made by a Georgia man at the end of his life. In 2007, Cohen was honored by the Newswomen's Club of New York and the New York Association of Black Journalists for the feature African-Americans and Bone Marrow Transplants. The Mental Health America Media Awards honored her in 2007 for Perfection Obsession, a feature focusing on a teen's battle against obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2008, Cohen received a Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television for Where's Molly?, a feature on a man's search for his sister nearly 50 years after she was placed in a residential mental health institution.

Before joining CNN in 1991, Elizabeth was associate producer of Green Watch, an environmental television program on WLVI in Boston, a reporter for States News Service in Washington, D.C., and a reporter for the The Times Union newspaper in Albany, N.Y., where she won a Hearst Award.

Cohen is the recipient of the outstanding alumna award from Columbia College in New York City, where she received a bachelor's degree in history, and the Distinguished Alumni Award at Boston University where she earned a master's degree in public health. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Success Stories: Leadership Lessons Every Woman Needs to Know

When Elizabeth Cohen started at CNN in the early 1990s, she was an off-air producer for the food and nutrition unit. A quarter century later, she's the network's senior medical correspondent reporting from disasters in Haiti and Liberia, anchoring documentaries and investigating corporations and government agencies. How did she triumph in a male dominated profession? Elizabeth shares her personal journey and those of the powerful women who inspired her along the way. Hear success stories of women globally who have faced much larger obstacles than most have, as they made their way in the professional world. Her key lessons in leadership for women in today's business environment will help audiences discover their true potential.

Navigating Healthcare Reform

Our complex new healthcare system presents challenges for companies, insurers, physicians, and patients. CNN senior medical correspondent and speaker Elizabeth Cohen explains the effects of the new law and how each sector will be impacted. Cohen, an expert on healthcare reform who's covered The Affordable Care Act from the legislative debate in 2009 to current implementation, has conducted hundreds of investigative interviews and can synthesize and distill the act's thousands of pages into pragmatic steps you need to take as reform is put in place.

Pleasing Patients in the New Healthcare World

What do patients want? This question becomes more important than ever under Obamacare, which financially rewards doctors and hospitals for making patients happy. Based on hundreds of interviews with Washington insiders, advocates, and patients, speaker Elizabeth Cohen, author of The Empowered Patient, shows how pleasing patients can powerfully affect your bottom line. A 20-year veteran of CNN, Cohen hones in on the patient's perception of care, highlighting which areas of quality and safety matter most.

The Empowered Patient

CNN senior medical correspondent and speaker Elizabeth Cohen is passionate about helping doctors and patients navigate our imperfect medical system. Today, doctors are more rushed than ever and nurses often have too many patients in their care, making medical errors more prevalent. Cohen, author of The Empowered Patient and host of the show 25 Shocking Medical Mistakes, explains how patients can take control of their healthcare and become advocates for themselves and their families. Using her own personal stories as examples, Cohen points out the basic skills needed for achieving the best medical care.

The Ultimate Balancing Act: Happy Working Motherhood

If you're finding it more challenging than ever to juggle life's demands, you're not alone. Many people have asked CNN senior medical correspondent and speaker Elizabeth Cohen, the mother of four young girls, how she does it all. With charm and humor, Cohen helps parents figure out this ultimate balancing act. It's easy to get lost in the chaos of today's fast-paced world—Cohen will help you sort it out and become a happy mom and successful professional.