Dr. Nancy Cohen, professor of nutrition and senior planning officer in the University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor’s Office, has been appointed interim dean of the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS), effective January 6.
The announcement was made by Dr. John McCarthy, provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. Provost McCarthy has appointed a search committee and engaged Isaacson Miller to assist in the selection of the next permanent dean of SPHHS.
Dr. Cohen will replace Dean Marjorie Aelion, who has accepted a position as the university’s associate vice chancellor for Research and Engagement. Dean Aelion has served as dean since January 2009.
An experienced administrator, Dr. Cohen served as head of the department of nutrition from 1998-2007 and 2009-15, and as interim dean of SPHHS from September 2007 to December 2008.
“I am delighted that Nancy Cohen has again agreed to share her formidable skills and experience with us,” Provost McCarthy said. “Nancy’s service to this university and to the public good cannot be overstated. We are fortunate to have her guiding hand and good judgment in this time of transition.”
Dr. Cohen’s research focuses on nutrition and food safety education, online learning and effectiveness, and community supports for healthy eating. She is the author of approximately 60 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters and was principal investigator or co-investigator on 45 grants totaling approximately $6 million. Dr. Cohen received the UMass President’s Award for Public Service in 2005 and the campus Distinguished Academic Outreach Award in 2003. She was named a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2014.
Dr. Cohen’s extensive university service includes co-chairing the Joint Task Force on Strategic Oversight. As a former Chancellor’s leadership fellow and current senior planning officer since 2016, she provided leadership in developing the campus strategic plan and steered the reaccreditation efforts of the university. Dr. Cohen also served as assistant vice president for Academic Affairs at the UMass System office from 2016-17, where she represented the university in three-sector system initiatives, such as the Commonwealth Commitment.
In national service, Dr. Cohen chaired the Association of Nutrition Departments and Programs and is a past member of the board of directors of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Massachusetts Dietetic Association, and Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Dr. Cohen is also a founding member of the statewide Massachusetts Partnership for Food Safety Education and an advisory board member of the Massachusetts Food Policy Council.
Dr. Cohen received a B.S. from Cornell University and her doctorate from the University of California, Davis.