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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
June 24, 2003

Renowned Health Psychologist Receives Robert E. Doherty Professorship

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University Psychology Professor Sheldon Cohen, a trailblazer in health psychology research, has been named the first Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology.

Cohen is one of the architects of Carnegie Mellon's highly respected health psychology program, and has helped turn Pittsburgh into the world's leading center of health psychology research. He is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking scientific contributions toward understanding the effects of social and environmental stress on human behavior and health. He has been at Carnegie Mellon since 1982.

"I can think of no one in the field of health psychology whose work is more highly valued than that of Sheldon Cohen," said Michael F. Scheier, head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Psychology.

Cohen has spent much of the past 15 years studying the impact that stress and social characteristics have on the immune system and individual susceptibility to illness. His pioneering study demonstrating that stress increases susceptibility to the common cold was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In subsequent studies, he pinpointed the types of stresses that influence disease susceptibility and the specific immune pathway responsible for the effects of stress on disease.

"I am extremely honored to be named the Robert Doherty Professor of Psychology. I have been lucky to be surrounded by a group of truly exceptional colleagues at Carnegie Mellon, and view this chair as recognition of what we all have accomplished in making Carnegie Mellon a center of excellence in health psychology," Cohen said.

Cohen has received numerous awards, including the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association and the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award for outstanding career contributions to applied psychological research from the American Psychological Society.

"Sheldon Cohen is one of the most highly regarded researchers in social and health psychology. His outstanding research has been a major contributor to the Department of Psychology's international reputation in this field," said John Lehoczky, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon.

Robert E. Doherty was the third president of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the predecessor to Carnegie Mellon University. He led the institution from 1936 to 1950 and is best known for creating the Carnegie Plan of Professional Education, a curriculum reform that continues to influence Carnegie Mellon. Doherty believed the university should prepare students to be able to solve real-world problems and teach them to fulfill their role as citizens.


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