Alicia Cohen, MD, MSc, FAAFP, and Ruchi M. Fitzgerald, MD, FAAFP, Selected as 2022 NAM Puffer/ABFM Fellows

Submitted on Wed, 08/10/2022 - 11:18

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has selected Alicia Cohen and Ruchi M. Fitzgerald as the 2022 James C. Puffer, MD/American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Fellows.

Alicia Cohen, MD, MSc, FAAFP
Dr. Cohen is a family physician and health services researcher. She is an Investigator at the VA Providence Healthcare System’s Center of Innovation in Long Term Services and Supports, and an assistant professor of Family Medicine and Health Services, Policy, and Practice at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School and School of Public Health. Dr. Cohen practices primary care at the VA Providence’s Homeless clinic and Women’s Health clinic. She received her MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completed her residency training at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency Program, followed by an integrative medicine fellowship at the University of Michigan. Dr. Cohen was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan, where she earned a master’s degree in Health and Health Care Research. She subsequently completed an Advanced Health Services Research & Development Fellowship at the VA Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research and the VA Providence Center of Innovation in Long Term Services and Supports.

Dr. Cohen’s research focuses on identifying and addressing social needs in clinical settings, with a particular emphasis on food insecurity. As a current VA Career Development Awardee, Dr. Cohen is using mixed methods and implementation science to develop and evaluate novel strategies to optimize screening and referral processes for connecting Veterans experiencing food insecurity with VA and community resources. Early findings from this work have been cited in Congressional testimony on Veteran and military hunger. Dr. Cohen also co-leads a national VA social risk screening and referral initiative, “Assessing Circumstances and Offering Resources for Needs” (ACORN).

Ruchi M. Fitzgerald, MD, FAAFP
Dr. Fitzgerald is a family physician and a fellowship trained addiction medicine physician. She is an assistant professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Psychiatry/Behavioral Sciences at Rush University, as well as the Associate Program Director of the Rush Addiction Medicine Fellowship. Dr. Fitzgerald is the Service Chief of Inpatient Addiction Medicine at PCC Community Wellness Center, a federally qualified health center system that serves the West Side of Chicago. She graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, completed her medical training with the Montana Family Medicine Residency, and her addiction medicine fellowship at Rush University.

Dr. Fitzgerald's work has focused on promoting cross-sector collaboration to improve care for persons affected by substance use disorders, with an emphasis in the perinatal/child health arena. Her scholarly work has focused on addressing stigma, building capacity in primary care for treating opioid use disorder in special populations, and implementing evidence-based substance use disorder curricula in the next generation of clinicians.

As NAM Fellows, Drs. Cohen and Fitzgerald will each receive a research grant to further their careers.  Named in honor of James C. Puffer, M.D., president and chief executive officer emeritus of the ABFM, the fellowship program enables talented, early-career health policy and science scholars in family medicine to participate in the work of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and further their careers as future leaders in the field.  The NAM Fellows continue their main responsibilities while engaging part-time over a two-year period in the National Academies’ health and science policy work.

The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond.  It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community.  Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors.  The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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