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Gifts : Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives

The Gifts Outreach program provides complimentary copies of Gifts to organizations which serve parents facing a new diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child, either prenatally or postnatally. We believe that the stories in the book provide a vital companionship and support for such parents.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Dr. William Cohen's Obituary and guest book

His obituary is now online, along with a guest book where you can leave a note as to Bill's impact in your and your child's lives.

Dr. William I. Cohen

Dr. William I. Cohen (Bill), 62, of Pittsburgh, died of a heart attack on February 6, 2009 while in-line skating with friends in Miami, FL. Dr. Cohen was a Developmental -Behavioral Pediatrician at the Child Development Unit and Director of the Down Syndrome Center, both located at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. He also was a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he directed two courses for undergraduate medical students. Dr. Cohen was a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the Scientific Advisory Board for the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation. Dr. Cohen was a co-founder and co-chair of the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group (DSMIG), which produced the seminal healthcare guidelines for all persons with Down Syndrome, ages 0-18. He also co-authored the book, Down Syndrome: Visions for the 21st Century, published in 2002 of behalf of the NDSS. For all of these visionary efforts, he was given a Clinical Service Award by the NDSS in 2004.

In addition to his work on preventive health care for individuals with Down Syndrome, Dr. Cohen was a leader in teaching and studying doctor-patient communication, family adaptation to chronic medical conditions, clinical hypnosis, and family therapy. His most recent area of interest was in the use of groups to enhance the physician-patient relationship and began running such groups at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2000. He was a certified Balint Group Lleader and he co-led groups for residents in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, and for Pediatric residents and Pediatric Hematology- Oncology fellows at Children's Hospital. Dr. Cohen won numerous awards including Award for Outstanding Clinical Care, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Medical Staff and Pittsburgh Magazine named him one of Pittsburgh's "Top Doctors" several times, most recently in 2008, for his work in Pediatrics.

In January 2006, he was inducted as a member of the first group of UPSOM faculty members to join the Academy of Master Educators. He was a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Development and Behavioral Pediatrics, Ambulatory Pediatric Association, and the American Balint Society. Dr. Cohen spoke internationally and published extensively and over the years, Dr. Cohen became internationally recognized for his expertise in the care of children and adults with Down Syndrome. Dr. Cohen received a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Linguistics at the University of Rochester and a Master of Arts in Russian Literature at the University of Chicago. He attended medical school at the State University of New York at Buffalo, graduating in 1975. He performed his pediatric internship, residency and fellowship training at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC beginning in 1978. He is survived by his mother Ethel Cohen of Yorktown Heights, NY, brother Alan Cohen of Hoboken, NJ, daughter Sarah Cohen of Los Angeles, CA, son and daughter- in-law Benjamin and Raquel Cohen of Washington D.C. and his partner Donald Arnheim of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Cohen's funeral will be at 3pm Tuesday, February 10, 2009 in the Sanctuary of Rodef Shalom Temple, 4905 Fifth Ave., Oakland, followed by a graveside service for family and friends at West View Cemetery of Rodef Shalom Congregation. The family will be receiving in the Aaron Courtyard of Rodef Shalom Temple beginning at 1:30pm. An additional memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at Temple Israel, Northern Westchester, New York at noon. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the National Down Syndrome Society, New York (, the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation ( or Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh (

Countless people around the world will miss his generosity of spirit, unwavering support, unconditional love and endless lust for life. Arrangements by BURTON L. HIRSCH FUNERAL HOME, INC., (412-521-2600)


Lisa said...

thanks for posting this for Bill.
I skated with him a few years for a Euroroll, he was a great guy. I didn't realize now how much he had touched others.
I'll sign his guestbook.