Advisory Board Member

Lewis Cohen, MD

Lew Cohen is an adviser to the Completed Life Initiative, who brings expertise in the psychiatric aspects of end-of-life care and cessation of life-support. Lew’s research investigations helped found the subspecialty of renal palliative care by integrating nephrology and palliative medicine. Along with his collaborators, he conducted the first multicenter, prospective study of people who discontinued dialysis.


Recipient of the Eleanor and Thomas Hackett Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as numerous honors for his writing, he is completing his third nonfiction book for the public, Winter’s End, about a young man with Alzheimer’s who hastened his death. Lew is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at both Tufts University School of Medicine and the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.


“In the service for the dead, the Catholic Church asks God to grant us all eternal rest. There is little fuss about Heaven or its glories. No fuss at all about Hell. Just eternal rest. And, after all the words squandered on right and wrong, failure and desire, love and the tragic failure to love, I am ready for eternal rest.
Eternal rest. Even the sound is soothing.”


– John L’Heureux, The New Yorker

“I am a firm believer that there are fates worse than death, and this was reinforced when I watched the long, drawn-out deterioration of a beloved family member from a neurodegenerative disorder. Which is why I celebrate the respect accorded by the Completed Life Initiative to the many different end-of-life options that should be available in our society.