Allan Cohen is a researcher-evaluator, psychologist, and author. He earned his AB, MA, and PhD, at Harvard University, with a specialty in Clinical Psychology and took teaching positions at Harvard and the University of California (Berkeley and San Francisco). After co-founding PIRE in 1975, Dr. Cohen has applied innovative principles and techniques to the field of substance abuse prevention. He pioneered the “alternative to drugs” concept, illustrating it for parents in the groundbreaking book (written with Peter Marin), Understanding Drug Use: An Adult’s Guide to Drugs and the Young (1971). He and colleague Dr. Barry Kibel introduced “Results Mapping” as an innovative technology for program evaluation. During and after his 20-year term as PIRE’s Executive Director, in his dual role as Senior Scientist for PIRE, he managed over 50 local and national research and evaluation projects, including the largest-ever evaluation project mounted by the HHS Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. He was the first supervisor of the NIAAA-funded Prevention Research Center in Berkeley.
Dr. Cohen’s consultancies for PIRE have been extremely broad, with national clients including the White House, federal agencies, state governments, major nonprofit organizations, and branches of the military. Internationally, he has consulted for governmental and non-governmental clients in Europe, Africa, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and India. Helping to bring research into public awareness, he worked extensively with media, including as consultant to ABC Television for the “Dangerous Minds” and “Sopranos” programs. He has also been a guest lecturer at several universities, including Harvard, Oxford, New York University, the University of Eindhoven (Netherlands), and Londrina University (Brazil).
His professional work has been recognized with a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of State Drug and Alcohol Directors, and also a special award for service to families from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
He currently specializes in client-centered evaluation research, helping assure that both quantitative and qualitative measures are consistent with a program’s mission, goals, and objectives. Along with other research interests at PIRE, he also serves as an editorial reviewer for the Journal of Primary Prevention, as Vice-Chair of the Center for Autism Support and Training, and Director of the Insight Consulting Group. He currently resides in Washington, DC, working at PIRE’s Calverton Center.