Mardge Cohen, MD


WE-ACTx & Boston Health Care for the Homeless


August 25, 2017


HIV and the Care of Women: 30 Years of Experience


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About Dr. Cohen

Dr. Mardge H. Cohen is an internist who worked at Cook County Hospital in Chicago for over 30 years, and has a long history of activism related to women’s health, health disparities, and fighting for high quality single payer health care. In 1988, she responded to the requests of women with HIV and started the Women and Children HIV Program to provide comprehensive medical and psychosocial services to women, their partners, and children at a single site at Cook County Hospital. She led the CDC funded research in Chicago on HIV testing among women in labor and then directed the public health implementation of rapid HIV testing in labor and delivery areas for all Illinois birthing hospitals. Since 1994, she has led the Chicago consortium of the National Institute of Health’s Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), the longest running cohort study investigating HIV disease progression in women.

In 2004, she co-founded Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx) to facilitate HIV primary care for women who were infected after being raped during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. WE-ACTx, with the Rwandan local organization WE-ACTx For Hope, provides comprehensive HIV care to over 2500 persons in Kigali, integrating mental health care, nutrition and income generation within HIV primary care for women, children, youth and their families. Since 2012, Dr. Cohen has co-led an NICHD research study to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy of 14-21 year olds with HIV in Kigali.

Since 2008, Dr. Cohen practices part time at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, including precepting first and second year medical students from Boston University in their weekly Healthcare for the Homeless Immersion Elective.

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