Dr. Henry Cohen was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1954; he attended primary and secondary school at the French School, in Montevideo, a school that endowed him with a sound humanistic and cosmopolitan view of life and a number of long-lasting friends. He studied Medicine at the National School of Medicine during hard times for the academia, as it was the only time in history when his country had to endure a military dictatorship. Henry graduated in 1981 and started his postgraduate studies at the Department of Gastroenterology, a field he would devote all his life to. As a young fellow, he was awarded two scholarships to Japan, where he specialized in abdominal ultrasound. He entered the academic career at the age of 28, and quickly made his way obtaining all his tenures through competition and merits, to be finally appointed Chair and Director of the Department of Gastroenterology in 2004, a position he still holds. At the time he was also appointed President of the Uruguayan Society of Gastroenterology.
His interest in a range of topics concerning both patients and healthcare professionals led him to conduct and publish research on hydatic disease, GERD, Hp infection and radioprotection, to name but a few. Especially worried for the progress of gastroenterology globally, he was entrusted a number of responsibilities at an international level, including the position of Secretary General of the Interamerican Association of Gastroenterology (AIGE) and a seat at ACG’s International Affairs Committee. His most active work, however, has been at the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO), where he was appointed as General Secretary, Vice President and President. He remains currently active as Past President of WGO. Within that organization, he has played a pivotal role in the training of gastroenterologists worldwide, especially by supporting the Training Centers and the Train the Trainers activities. Also as part of his work in the dissemination of GE, he was responsible for the organization of several courses and congresses, including the 2003 Pan-American Congress of Gastroenterology in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Along his career he was awarded several recognitions both in his country and abroad. He received the most recent in October 2014, the International Leadership Award by the ACG. He is also FACG and AGAF. Henry is a member of honor of multiple GE societies across the Americas, and was declared Master of America’s GE by AIGE. In his country he is currently Vice President of the National Academy of Medicine.
He is frequently invited to lecture across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. He has been a member of the editorial committees of multiple journals, including a position as associate editor of the AJG.
Henry has been married to Debora, an opera singer, for 37 years. They are proud of their two children, Pablo and Lucia, both journalists. Maria and Pabli, their respective couples, have further expanded the Cohen family, which Henry cherishes as his most precious achievement and source of love. Moreover, Henry’s deceased father has been permanently a source of inspiration, as have been his mother, brother and sister. In keeping with the spirit that characterized his entire career, Henry’s plans for the future are far from over. His current endeavor lies in the implementation of the ECHO Project in Uruguay and Latin America, with his friend Sanjeev Arora, seeking to demonopolize medical knowledge and democratize access to care in his country, regardless of the place where people live.