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CHHRN National Advisory Committee - Dr. Karen Cohen

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Dr. Karen Cohen

Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Psychological Association

Dr. Karen Cohen is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), a position she has held since 2008.  Dr. Cohen completed her undergraduate work at McGill University earned her masters and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology at the University of Windsor. She went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology at the Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre.

As CEO of CPA, Dr. Cohen’s responsibilities revolve around the association’s mandates to promote the science, practice and education of psychology across Canada and internationally.  She holds and has held leadership roles on health and science-related alliances.  She has prepared and presented briefs to many standing committees of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada on matters pertaining to health and mental health as well held a ministerial appointment to a national advisory committee on disability.  She has written and presented widely across Canada and internationally on the science, practice and education of psychology and related topics. 

“Mental health in the workplace is an advocacy priority for the CPA and the organization has convened many meetings with government, third party insurers and well as Canada’s large employers on this topic over the past several years.  Mental illness is a workplace issue.  The fastest growing category of disability costs is depressioni and the impact of mental illness on productivity in the workplace is estimated at 20 billion dollars annually – approximately one-third of these costs could be recovered if employers made needed psychological care available to their employeesii. Psychological services are largely provided in the private sector where they are not covered by the country`s public health insurance plans.  While it is important for employers to make investments at the front end – creating psychologically healthy workplaces – it is also important to make investments at the back end – providing meaningful amounts of care for employees who develop a psychological condition and will need treatment.  

We know that psychological treatments work for a wide range of mental disorders as well as the management of chronic health conditionsiii.  Stakeholders in the health and well-being of Canada’s citizens need to do a better job at mental health promotion, illness prevention and at providing effective care to the one in five Canadians who will need it.” - Dr. Karen Cohen

                         i   http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/documents/Quick%20Facts%203rd%20Edition%20Eng%20Nov%2012%2009.pdf

                         ii  Peachey, D., Hicks, V., & Adams, O. (2013). An Imperative for Change.  Access to Psychological Services for Canada.  Ottawa:  Canadian Psychological Association: http://www.cpa.ca/docs/File/Position/An_Imperative_for_Change.pdf

                         iii Peachey, D., Hicks, V., & Adams, O. (2013). An Imperative for Change.  Access to Psychological Services for Canada.  Ottawa:  Canadian Psychological Association: http://www.cpa.ca/docs/File/Position/An_Imperative_for_Change.pdf 

Health Canadacihr logo1This initiative has been generously funded by grants from Health Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the funders.