About Rob Cohen, MD MPH

“I don’t want to live through a societal meltdown.” —Rob Cohen.

Cohen is a 34-year-old Army veteran, physician, scientist, world traveler, poverty reduction expert and creator and host of the Democrises podcast. He is also a man on a mission.

In his words, “We are making all the mistakes of previous civilizations—from allowing economic inequality to get out of control to destroying our environment to choosing very poor leadership.”

The good news is that both the US and the world are fortunate to know what to do to avoid a calamity, but will we do it? Cohen estimates we have only a couple of decades to avoid this societal iceberg.

Where does Dr. Cohen come into this picture? Here’s his diagnosis and prescription: One thing that has helped past societies correct mistakes in time is a functional media that explains the great challenges of the time as well as solutions. Sadly, so far we are underperforming in this area. He hopes that the Democrises can help fill that niche.

Trying to make a difference is what Cohen has been training for most of his life. He believes sustainable economic development is the most existential issue of our time, and has worked in that capacity for the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and USAID.

For example, he has traveled to places like Madagascar and the Congo to help confront outbreaks of plague and Ebola.

While many others in medical school chose more lucrative specialties, he decided on preventive medicine and public health.

“I decided to go into a field that very few people choose,” says Cohen, who lives outside Washington, DC. “I felt it was better to prevent illness when and where possible than try to clean up big messes later.”

During medical school, Cohen hooked onto a campaign as a volunteer of a man he admired who was running for president in 2008, the late Sen. John McCain. He was soon hired as a full-time campaign staffer.

In the army, Cohen was deployed in both Iraq and Kuwait with a preventative medicine detachment, and helped confront the chemical weapons threat posed in the Middle East. He also worked on exotic tropical diseases in Africa.

What motivated Cohen to launch his Democrises podcast to look back to the future and tackle society’s problems of both today and the tomorrows to come?

His words: “I would like for the podcast to stake out a space in the middle of our political discourse… a place where people turn for valid evidence and helpful assessment of the great challenges of our time. 

“I think the truth is losing the battle for public opinion. We need the truth if we want to create a good world instead of just standing by as the more selfish among us turn it into a truly awful place. It’s happened before. But so have Golden Ages.” 

Let’s choose wisely.