Deborah A. Cohen, MD, MPH, is a research scientist with the Division of Behavioral Health at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research & Evaluation in Southern California. Dr. Cohen’s work focuses on improving the food environment, so that it promotes moderation and the consumption of healthy foods. One of her projects aims to design standard portion sizes and help restaurants adopt those standards to protect customers concerned about overeating. She is currently testing the concept of food prescriptions to help households structure their home food environments and achieve the recommended dietary allowances to promote health and mitigate chronic diseases. She is also investigating how the design of playgrounds can encourage more people to be physically active and whether park prescriptions promote more physical activity.
Dr. Cohen previously served as a senior physician policy researcher at the Rand Corp. She has served on panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She is author of “A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Forces Behind the Obesity Epidemic — and How We Can End It” and co-author of “Prescription for a Healthy Nation: A New Approach to Improving Our Lives by Fixing Our Everyday World.”