November 12, 1999
UNT names Dr. Benjamin L. Cohen as interim president of the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth
FORT WORTH (UNT), Texas -- The University of North Texas System Regents today named Benjamin L. Cohen, D.O., 64, to the post of interim president of the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth.
Cohen will serve in the presidency from December 10, 1999 ó following the retirement of current president David M. Richards, D.O. ó to mid August ó when the new president Army Lt. Gen. Ronald R. Blanck reports for duty.
UNT System Chancellor Alfred F. Hurley nominated Cohen after consulting with Blanck and Richards and reviewing records of potential candidates for the interim post.
"Dr. Cohen has the training and experience to administer the UNT Health Science Center until Gen. Blanck can assume full-time responsibility," said Hurley.
Cohen has served as vice president for health affairs for the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth and executive dean of the centerís Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) since 1993. Prior to that he was vice president for academic affairs and dean of TCOM.
Cohenís past positions include serving as chairman and chief executive officer of both 21st Century Health Corporation and Ameriwell International; and serving as dean at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's School of Osteopathic Medicine.
He is former president of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and currently he is chair of the Deanís Council of the association. He also is a former president of the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians. He currently serves as chair of the North Texas Medical Education Consortium. He earned his doctor of osteopathy degree from the University of Health Sciences in Kansas City.
Concluding a nationwide search in October, the UNT System Regents selected Blanck, who currently is the Surgeon General of the United States Army and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, for the UNT Health Science Center presidency. However, Blanck will not begin his new duties at the UNT Health Science Center until Aug. 15 ó shortly after he retires from the Army on July 31.
UNT launched the search early this year after Richards announced plans in December 1998 to serve one final year and then retire.
The office of president of the UNT Health Science Center is one of two presidencies in the UNT system. The system was formally established last July by the unanimous vote of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board after it reviewed the designation at the request of the Texas Legislature.
The new designation made UNT one of only six public university systems in Texas ó and the only public university system centered in North Texas.
Although formerly not formally recognized as a system, UNT and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) ó the forerunner of the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth ó have operated like a system since 1975. That was the year that TCOM became a state institution under the direction of the UNT Board of Regents and the oversight of the UNT president, and subsequently the UNT chancellor.
As UNTís partner institution, the college was named a health science center in 1993. Today, it is a vital part of the UNT system that includes TCOM (the only osteopathic medical school in Texas), the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the School of Public Health (the only one in the North Texas region), a physician assistant studies program, six research institutes and the Physicians and Surgeons Medical Group ó one of Tarrant Countyís largest multi-specialty group practices. The rate of growth in the centerís research funding is the fastest among all Texas health science centers.
Cohen and his wife, Lori, live in Fort Worth.