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Dr. Robin Cohen
Senior Investigator, Lady Davis Institute
Research Director and Professor, Division of Palliative Care, Departments of Oncology and Medicine, McGill University

Dr. Robin Cohen has a Ph.D. in Psychology. She is the Research Director and an Professor in the Division of Palliative Care of the McGill University Departments of Oncology and Medicine. She is also a member of the Division of Experimental Medicine and an Associate Member of the School of Nursing, where her graduate students are studying. She has helped develop palliative care research in Canada by leading the CIHR/NCIC Strategic Training Initiative in Palliative Care, the CIHR New Emerging Team in Family Caregiving in Palliative and End of Life Care, and the NCIC Sociobehavioural Cancer Research Network Palliative Care Team.

Her research focuses on many aspects of palliative care, all with a whole-person care perspective. The ultimate goal of her research is to optimize the quality of life of palliative care patients and that of their family caregivers. She began by developing measures of their quality of life (MQOL: McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire; QOLLTI-F: Quality of Life in Life-Threatening Illness – Family Caregiver version). With those outcome measures, she has conducted some descriptive studies and is now focused on developing and testing interventions.

Major Research Activities
Dr. Cohen is well-known for developing the MQOL: McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire – the most widely used quality of life questionnaire in palliative care. More recently, she developed a measure of the quality of life of family caregivers of people with advanced life-limiting illness (QOLLTI-F: Quality of Life in Life-Threatening Illness – Family Caregiver version). She is also helping to develop measures of satisfaction with end-of-life care and the quality of death. Her research has highlighted the importance of existential well-being. Among other things, with her trainees, she is now developing and testing interventions to help people re-establish a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, while taking into account a diagnosis of advanced cancer or the fact that they are recently bereaved.

Recent Publications
Mehta A, Cohen SR, Ezer H, Carnevale F, Ducharme F. Striving to respond to palliative care patients’ pain at home: a puzzle for family caregivers. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2011 Jan 1; 38(1): E37-45. doi:10.1188/11.ONF.E37-E45.

Allen D, Badro V, Denyer Willis L, Macdonald ME, Paré A, Hutchinson T, Barré P, Beauchemin R, Bocti H, Broadbent A, Cohen SR. Fragmented care and whole-person illness: Decision-making for people with chronic, end-stage kidney disease. Chronic Illness 2015; 11(1):44-55. doi: 10.1177/1742395314562974

MacKinnon CJ, Smith NG, Henry M, Milman E, Chochinov HM, Körner A, Berish M, Farrace A, Liarikos N, Cohen SR. Reconstructing meaning with others in loss: A feasibility pilot randomized controlled trial of a bereavement group. Death Studies 2015; doi: 10.1080/07481187.2014.958628

Cohen SR and Sawatzky R. Quality of life assessment in palliative care. In: Textbook of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care, 2nd Edition, E. Bruera, I. Higginson, C.F. von Gunten, and T. Morita eds. CRC Press, London, England. Distributed by Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y. (2015), pp 361-369.
Dr. Robin Cohen is recognized as an international expert on the quality of life of people with advanced life-limiting disease and that of their family caregivers.

She helped develop the field of palliative care research in Canada.

She demonstrated the importance of existential well-being at the end of life.

She enjoys supervising graduate students.
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