Max Cohen, M.D., vice president of clinical quality and effectiveness and chief medical officer at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis, has been named chief medical officer at NYU Hospitals Center in New York.
Cohen, a surgeon and a native of Glasgow, Scotland, has a master's degree in health administration from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and extensive experience in quality improvement.
Cohen will fill the position vacated by Eric Rackow, M.D., who was elevated to president of NYU Hospitals in January.
"He's great," Rackow said. "Dr. Cohen is an outstanding medical leader who has proven capabilities in developing and implementing programs for quality, effectiveness and safety in patient care."
Cohen will report for duty in August at a hospital with many of the health information technology tools for a top-notch quality improvement program already in place, but also will arrive in time for a massive overhaul.
NYU Hospitals has been a leader in the field of healthcare IT, rolling out its computerized physician order entry system in 1979, Rackow said. It also has a clinical data repository that is accessible to physicians both inside the hospital and out, but is looking to "replace the whole system" with upgraded technology, Rackow said.
Cohen received his medical degree from the University of Glasgow, trained in surgery there as well, and received his first fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. He was board-certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada while working at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
In 2003, Cohen received the Physician Executive Award of Excellence from Modern Physician magazine and the American College of Physician Executives for his work at Baptist Health. He was cited in part for leading a collaborative effort that reduced the number of adverse drug events from 2.5 to 0.5 per 1,000 doses, saving $13.4 million a year with a modest $200,000 outlay for the program.
The 65-year-old physician executive has a long history of research work and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on basic and clinical research, clinical surgery and cost-effectiveness analysis.
Moving from St. Louis to the Big Apple will be a big change of pace; it will be a step up in size of facility for Cohen and a homecoming for sorts to clinical research. All three were attractions, Cohen said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
"In the last five years, I've been in a largely private-practice environment, and I'm really looking forward to returning to the academic milieu," said Cohen, who describes himself as "kind of a restless guy" who has never spent more than seven years in one spot.
His surgical and administrative career has taken him to three countries and now, with the addition of NYU, seven medical schools.
Missouri Baptist Medical Center, where Cohen has been since 1998, has 489 beds. NYU Hospitals Center is comprised of 726-bed Tisch Hospital and the 174-bed Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine and shares a Manhattan campus with NYU School of Medicine.
"It's a major academic medical center that has a major reputation in research," Cohen said. "That's going to be great fun for me. What's going to be really fun for me is to exercise my background in academia as well as my background in private-practice medicine and bring them both closer together. I see a key part of my job as building bridges between the academic and the community physicians."
Cohen said, "I'm always looking for new, tough challenges. I recognize that New Yorkers are difficult, they're tough, they're in your face, but that's OK. I'm a tough, resilient Scotsman and I can handle New Yorkers.
"I seem to be leaving nothing but friends behind in St. Louis," Cohen said. "At least that's what they tell me."