Cohen Clinic Celebrates 5 Years

Cohen Clinic staff and their families at a picnic on the lawn of Smith Playground1,821. It’s not a big number, when compared with the nearly 170,000 people from the tri-state area who have served in the U.S. armed forces since 2001, and more than 65,000 active-duty and reserve service members in the area. But for everyone who works at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania, that figure is huge.

It represents 1,821 veterans, caregivers, and family members who have found resources, respite, and renewed strength at the Cohen Clinic over the past five years. Housed in the Perelman School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, the Clinic offers no-cost mental health services to military veterans and their families throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Its entire staff is trained to provide military-cultural competent care, helping clients work through post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, suicidality, and other conditions.

Looking back on the Clinic’s first five years, Director Leah Blain, PhD, said, “It is an honor to be able to give back every day to those who have given so much for us. I could not be more proud of what our team has accomplished in the last five years.”

Among the Clinic’s many success stories is its work in reducing suicidal ideation among clients. More than half of new clients begin treatment with thoughts of suicide, yet 94 percent report a decrease with treatment, and 88 percent are in remission by the time they complete treatment.

That helps explain why the Clinic gets such high ratings from clients: 96 percent say they would recommend it. Since opening their doors in 2016, the Clinic — the first of its kind in the region — has sought to meet the panoply of clients’ needs, from providing transportation assistance to offering telehealth services, an especially important option during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding from The Boeing Company and the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ Veterans’ Trust Fund, as well as philanthropic support from foundations, corporations, and individual donors, allows the Cohen Clinic to serve veterans and military families when and where they are most needed. Today, the clinic continues to expand — reaching out to active-duty facilities in southern New Jersey, expanding services across central Pennsylvania, and working on permanent licensure to serve clients in Delaware after the pandemic.

To celebrate its milestone, the Clinic recently held a picnic for staff and their families at Philadelphia’s Smith Playground. It provided a well-deserved day of relaxation and amusement for everyone involved in the difficult work of guiding military veterans and their families through tough times. “I’m incredibly grateful and humbled to be able to work alongside so many who are this dedicated to serving our veterans and their loved ones,” said Blain.

Here’s to another five years of making a difference in the lives of those who have served our country in the military, and their loved ones.

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