Department of Psychology

University of Mississippi

Liberal Arts Dean Named Fellow in Society of Behavioral Medicine

Psychology professor Lee Cohen joins prestigious group of scholars

May 31, 2018 by Edwin B. Smith

Dean Lee M. Cohen
OXFORD, Miss. – Lee M. Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi, has been named a fellow in the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Fellow status is a distinction conferred by SBM on full members in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of the science and practice of behavioral medicine. Among the considerations for this distinction are academic, professional, clinical, legislative or other meritorious accomplishments.

“It is an honor to be recognized by prominent individuals in the field of behavioral medicine,” said Cohen, who is also a fellow in three divisions of the American Psychological Association. “SBM is one of the primary professional societies that I have most identified with as an academic, so this acknowledgement from this organization means a great deal to me.”

Cohen’s research program has focused on the behavioral, cognitive and physiological mechanisms that contribute to nicotine use, withdrawal and dependence. He is identifying healthy alternative behaviors that may complement smoking cessation efforts and has examined relevant individual differences that may help maintain tobacco use, including personality traits, emotional regulation and affective states, such as depression and anxiety.

In considering Cohen’s nomination, the society’s board of directors considered his entire body of work.

“Throughout my career, I have tried to combine the areas of research, teaching, mentoring and service,” Cohen said. “I have never thought of these domains as independent components.

“So, while I have been fortunate in my own research, I am most proud of the successes of the faculty and doctoral students I have had the pleasure to work with over the years who have gone on to be productive in their own right and contribute significantly to the field.”

UM administrators congratulated Cohen on the recognition.

“Being acknowledged as a fellow by one’s national association clearly communicates the quality of a faculty member’s work in and influence on his field,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“All who are affiliated with our institution benefit from this national validation. I am most happy for Dean Cohen, as this is clearly the result of a career filled with hard work and valuable contributions.”
Rebekah Smith, chair and professor of psychology, said Cohen’s honor is good for the entire department.

“Fellow status is initiated by the awards committee, not through application, making this an especially prestigious recognition of the important contributions Dean Cohen has made in the areas of smoking cessation and the mechanisms underlying nicotine use,” she said.

“SBM is the premier organization devoted to behavioral medicine and health psychology. Having a fellow of SBM on our faculty also brings valuable visibility to our department.”

Cohen holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California at San Diego. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in psychology from Oklahoma State University.

For 15 years, Cohen was a faculty member at Texas Tech University, where he also served in administrative roles, including director of the doctoral program in clinical psychology and chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences.

Cohen’s achievement further advances the university’s strategic plan, which seeks to value and emphasize excellence in scientific discoveries and scholarly research, foster collaborative and innovative approaches, drive discovery and creativity, and enhance undergraduate and graduate education.