Henry Cohen, 1st Baron Cohen of Birkenhead

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Henry Cohen, 1st Baron Cohen of Birkenhead CH, FRCP (21 February 1900 – 7 August 1977) was a British physician, doctor and lecturer. He was famous for his Harveian Oration at the Royal College of Physicians in 1970, on the motion of blood in the veins.

Cohen was elected to the chair of medicine at the University of Liverpool in 1934. When the Central Health Services Council was formed in 1949, he became its vice-chairman, and chairman in 1957. Knighted in 1949, he was President of the British Medical Association from 1951. After a coronary thrombosis in the following year, Cohen decided to devote his life to the greater work of teaching. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Cohen of Birkenhead, of Birkenhead in the County Palatine of Chester,[1] on 16 June 1956 and was elected President of the General Medical Council in 1961. In 1964, he became President of the Royal Society of Medicine, receiving the society's gold medal in 1971. He also opened the assembly hall of the King David School, Liverpool.

Lord Cohen Medal

With the Lord Cohen Medal, named after him, individuals who "have made a considerable contribution to ageing research, either through original discoveries or in the promotion of the subject of gerontology in its broadest aspect" were honoured. It is the highest award for services to gerontology in the United Kingdom and is awarded on a sporadic basis by the British Society for Research on Ageing. Lord Cohen of Birkenhead died in August 1977, aged 77, when the peerage became extinct.

Lord Cohen has a lecture theatre named after him in the Duncan Building belonging to the University of Liverpool.

Cohen was known for his quote "The feasibility of an operation is not the best indication for its performance".


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Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
(new creation)
Baron Cohen of Birkenhead
Succeeded by