Trevor Cohen, MBChB, PhD

Associate Professor

A native of South Africa, Dr. Cohen practiced medicine in a rural hospital setting in his home country. When dealing with patients with mental illness or behavioral issues, Cohen often found that essential patient information was not available when needed. This issue, along with a longstanding interest in computer technology, led Cohen to leave medicine and pursue a new career in informatics. Cohen’s research interests focus on distributional semantics, which involves using computers learn how things are related from electronic text. He is also interested in the thought processes of clinicians that relate to the commission of, and recovery from, medical errors. Cohen works in the SBMI facility for the National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in Health Care. He joined the SBMI in 2009, after teaching at Arizona State University.

Phone: 713.486.3675
Fax: 713.486.0117

Staff Support

Blanca Torres
Phone: 713.486.0114


  • Ph.D., 2007, Columbia University
  • MBChB, 1999, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Areas of Expertise

  • Distributional semantics
  • Information retrieval
  • Knowledge discovery
  • Clinical comprehension
  • Mechanisms of error recovery


1. Vasuki, V. Cohen, T. Reflective Random Indexing for Semi-automatic Indexing of the Biomedical Literature. J Biomed Inform. 2010 Oct;43(5):694-700. [invited journal paper following AMIA submission]

2. Patel, VL. Cohen, T. Murarka, T. Olsen, J. Kagita, S. Myneni, S. Buchman, T. Ghaemmagham V. Recovery at the Edge of Error: Debunking the Myth of the Infallible Expert. J Biomed Inform. 2010 Sep 22. [Epub ahead of print]  

3. Cohen, T. Whitfield, K. Schvaneveldt, RW. Mukund, K. Rindflesch T.  Epihanet: An Interactive Tool to Support Biomedical Discoveries. J Biomed Discov Collab. 2010 Sep 21;5:21-49. [invited journal paper following AMIA submission]

4. Vankipuram, M. Kahol, K. Cohen, T. Patel, VL. Toward Automated Workflow Analysis and Visualization in Clinical Environments. J Biomed Inform. 2010 May 29.  

5. Cohen T, Schvaneveldt, R. Widdows D. Reflective Random Indexing and Indirect Inference: A Scalable Method for Discovery of Implicit Connections. J Biomed Inform. 2010 Apr;43(2):240-56.

6. Cohen, T., & Widdows, D. . Empirical Distributional Semantics: Methods and Biomedical Applications.  Journal of Biomedical Informatics. 2009; 42 (2), p. 390-405. [Featured in: ScienceDirect TOP25 Hottest Articles April - June 2009: most downloaded in JBI, and 22nd most downloaded across all Elsevier journals]

7. Cohen, T. Blatter, B. Patel, V. Simulating Expert Clinical Comprehension: Adapting Latent Semantic Analysis to Accurately Extract Clinical Concepts from Psychiatric Narrative. Journal of Biomedical Informatics. 2008 Dec;41(6):1070-87.

    8. Patel, V. L., Cohen, T. New perspectives on error in critical care. Current Opinion in Critical Care, 2008: 14(4), 456-9.

      9. Cohen, T. Blatter, B. Almeida, C. Patel, V. Reevaluating recovery: perceived violations and preemptive interventions on emergency psychiatry rounds. 2007 May-Jun;14(3):312-9.

      10. Cohen, T. Blatter, B. Almeida, C. Shortliffe, E. & Patel, VL. Distributed cognition in the Psychiatric Emergency Department: A cognitive blueprint of a collaboration in context. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. 2006:Jun:37(2):73-83.

      11. Sharda, P. Das, A. Cohen, T. Patel, V. Customizing clinical narratives for the EMR interface using cognitive methods. International Journal of Medical Informatics. 2006 May;75(5):346-68.

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