Jen Cohen, LCSW
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the oncology social work cluster at Smilow Cancer Hospital, Jennifer “Jen” Cohen spends two days a week supporting patients at the Care Center in Orange, and two days working in Radiation Oncology at Smilow. Working across both locations can be rewarding, as Jen frequently sees the same patients and is a friendly face they recognize in transition from diagnosis to treatment. Encouraging positive thinking and providing reassurance are two of the many clinical interventions Jen uses when working with patients and their families, as it helps them better cope and manage their emotions connected with their cancer treatments. Jen says, “I help patients and their families believe in the power of staying positive when faced with difficult situations, and it puts everyone at ease.”
When in Orange, Jen meets and engages with patients who are starting chemotherapy and often just starting their cancer journey. In Radiation Oncology, she assists patients before, during, and after treatment, providing emotional support and helping to secure resources.
Jen also co-facilitates a monthly Cancer Support Group with Karin Brinkman, RN, Nurse Coordinator, who is also based in Orange. During COVID-19, their group experienced an increase in participants thanks to the ease of participating in meetings at home via computers or smart phones. Jen also helped with inpatient consults twice a week at Smilow and the Saint Raphael’s Campus during height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jen’s ties to Yale extend over many years. 24 years ago, she completed an internship in pediatric oncology at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and became the first social worker in the pediatric bone marrow transplant service. For the last 11 years, she has worked at Yale New Haven Hospital and in 2017, she transitioned to supporting adult patients, and continues to bring positive energy to each day.
Jen’s former coworker and now Manager of Oncology Social Work, Constance “Conni” Smith, says of Jen, “She is an expert clinician who is dedicated and brings humor to her work. She brings warmth and compassion to her patients; always providing emotional support and seeking out ways to ease the psychosocial stressors that are associated with a cancer diagnosis. She is a true testament of the value oncology social work can bring to patients, families, and staff.”