Office of Institutional Advancement

Sidney Cohen, MD, Named First Holder of J. Edward Berk, MD, Professorship in Medicine


Anthony J. DiMarino, Jr., MD, the William Rorer Professor of Medicine; Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System; Richard Berk; Sidney Cohen, MD; Mark L. Tykocinski, MD, Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean, Sidney Kimmel Medical College; and Elizabeth A. Dale, EdD, SVP, Office of Institutional Advancement.

At an investiture ceremony in May 2014, Sidney Cohen, MD, professor of medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, was named as the first holder of the J. Edward Berk, MD, Professorship in Medicine.

J. Edward “Jack” Berk, MD, graduated from Jefferson in 1936 and went on to earn international recognition for his contributions to medicine and particularly the field of gastroenterology as a prolific author, a skilled editor, a gifted teacher and a physician known for his caring bedside manner. 

Berk passed away in 2008, and his family has funded many initiatives in his memory, including the professorship as well as the J. Edward Berk, MD ’36, Scholarship Fund. Jointly with Bockus International, Jefferson also hosts a lectureship in his name.

Berk’s legacy extends beyond the Jefferson campus. Alumni at University of California-Irvine, where Berk was founding chairman of the department of medicine and the division of gastroenterology, honored his contributions to the university with Berk Hall, a building for medical education and nursing science. The UCI Association of Volunteer Clinical Faculty hosts an annual Berk Lecture, and UCI Medical Hospital in Orange, Calif., has a lecture room and grand rounds program named in his honor.

Like Berk, Cohen is world-renowned gastroenterologist. The director of research at the Jefferson Digestive Disease Institute and director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Cohen has become one of the leading authorities on motility disorders of the esophagus — conditions generally resulting in difficulty swallowing — and on the involvement of the gastrointestinal tract in scleroderma, a connective tissue disease.

Before joining Jefferson, Cohen served as the Richard Laylord Evans Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Temple University from 1986 until 2001. Prior to that, he was chief of gastroenterology and the T. Grier Miller Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Read more about him, by clicking here.