Matthew L. Cohen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders


Assessing concepts related to health and well-being more effectively for research and clinical activities to better serve persons with disorders of language and cognition and their families

Matthew L. Cohen, Ph.D.

Research Description

A number of important concepts related to health and well-being are internal and subjective, like quality of life. Cohen's research aims to assess these internal concepts more effectively, so that research and clinical activities can better serve persons with disorders of language and cognition and their families.

Research Impact

In recent years, the National Institutes of Health have funded the creation and dissemination of high quality health questionnaires (also called patient-reported outcome measures). These measures are becoming increasingly important for evidence-based practice and value-based reimbursement for clinical services. However, the scores that these new measures produce are not optimally interpretable or actionable for adults with disorders of language and cognition (i.e. stroke, brain injury, or Alzheimer’s disease). For example, it is not clear what score ranges represent “mild” “moderate” or “severe” symptom levels, or when new clinical action is required. Dr. Cohen's project uses focus groups with patients, family members and expert clinicians, as well as advanced psychometric approaches, to help assign clinical meaning to new health questionnaires that are relevant to adults with cognitive and language disorders. In line with the Moore Foundation’s commitment to “bringing patient and family voices to decisions about care,” the ultimate goal of this project is to allow clinicians and researchers to better quantify and act on the patient’s report of his or her health, in a way that is line with perspective of the patient and their family.


related links

Patient Care Special Projects in Patient Care University of Delaware, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Back


Postdoc, Rehabilitation Outcomes Assessment, University of Delaware

Postdoc, Clinical Neuropsychology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology/Neuropsychology, University of Florida



Craig H. Neilsen Foundation (Cohen), #364962. Role: PI
Mentored Fellowship Grant: Improving the Assessment of Psychological Complications After Spinal Cord Injury
Project goals: To improve neuropsychological assessment techniques and the use of patient reported outcome measures for individuals with spinal cord injury, particularly those with concomitant traumatic brain injury.


Department of Education (Heinemann), H133B090024. Role: Co-investigator
RRTC on Improving Measurement of Medical Rehabilitation Outcomes
Project goals: To develop and evaluate rehabilitation outcome measures and measures of health-related quality of life for persons with stroke, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.



  • Cohen, M.L. (Under Review). Patient-Reported Outcomes Assessment with Individuals with Cognitive and Communicative Disorders: Opportunities and Challenges.
  • Kisala, P.A., Tulsky, D.S., Cohen, M.L., Slavin, M.D., Jette, A.M., Mulcahey, M.J., Charlifue, S., Hanks, R., Holdnack, J.A., Cella, D. (Under Review). Examining Interview vs. Self-Report Administration of PROMIS Pediatric and Adult Measures.
  • Cohen, M.L., Holdnack, J.A., Kisaka, P.A., & Tulsky, D.S. (In Press). A Comparison of PHQ-9 and TBI-QOL Depression Measures among Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury. Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Cohen, M.L., Kisala, P., Dyson-Hudson, T., & Tulsky, D.S. (2017). Measuring Pain Phenomena After Spinal Cord Injury: Development and Psychometric Properties of the SCI-QOL Pain Interference and Pain Behavior Assessment Tools. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. doi. 10.1080/10790268.2017.1279805.