USF Faculty Alison Cohen

Alison Cohen

Assistant Professor

Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-6447 Malloy Hall, Room 211


Assistant Professor Alison K. Cohen teaches in the Public and Nonprofit Administration Department in the School of Management and does research related to issues of health, educational, and environmental equity.  A San Francisco native, Cohen has a PhD in epidemiology and a Master of Public Health in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of California Berkeley and a BA in education policy and community health from Brown University. 

Cohen is a quantitative social scientist with experience conducting community-based participatory research studies and program and policy evaluations, using both quantitative and qualitative data, as well as traditional quantitative analyses. Some of this work has occurred abroad and/or in other languages (Cohen speaks Spanish and French in addition to English).

This research includes documenting and addressing health inequalities, assessing the impacts of programs and policies that affect young people, and more. For example, as a Fulbright grantee, Cohen evaluated the early implementation of the European Union’s chemicals policy REACH. Cohen routinely collaborates with practitioners in the public sector on this research. Since 2008, Cohen has partnered with Generation Citizen, a youth civic education and engagement non-profit operating in public schools across the US, to evaluate their programming and understand patterns of youth civic engagement in diverse communities around the country.

Cohen teaches classes related to quantitative methods, program evaluation, and health policy. She also welcomes student involvement in her research. 

Ph.D. in Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley.
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), in community health (with honors) and education studies, magna cum laude, Brown University

Cohen AK, Richards T, Allen BL, Ferrier Y, Lees J, Smith LH. “Health issues in the industrial port zone of Marseille, France: The Fos EPSEAL community-based cross-sectional survey.” Journal of Public Health: From Theory to Practice. 2018; 26: 235-243.

Cohen AK. “An instrumental variables approach to assess the effect of class size reduction on student screen time.” Social Science & Medicine. 2018; 201: 63-70.

Ballard PJ, Cohen AK, Littenberg-Tobias J. “Action civics for promoting civic development: Main effects of program participation and differences by project characteristics.” American Journal of Community Psychology. 2016; 58(3-4): 377-390. doi:10.1002/ajcp.12103

Cohen AK, Syme SL. “Education: A missed opportunity for public health intervention.” American Journal of Public Health. 2013; 103(6): 997-1001. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300993

Full Publications List

Awards & Distinctions

National Institutes of Health, 2017-2021.  Co-investigator for federal research grant on educational trajectories and health: when people finish school and how it matters.

Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l’Alimentation, de l’Environnement, et du Travail, 2015-2017 and 2018-2020. Co-investigator on two research projects funded by French federal government conducting community-driven environmental health research.  

Roselyn Lindheim award, 2011-2012. UC Berkeley research award for graduate students doing interdisciplinary research related to health and environment.

Fulbright student grantee, 2009-2010. Conducted independent research of European Union policy.

Morris K. Udall Scholarship, 2008. Federal public service scholarship for undergraduates.