Josh Cohen ’02, ’07 MD and Seth Cohen ’02, ’07 MD
For Josh and Seth Cohen, noticing gaps in the health care system was part of life from an early age. Growing up in Southern California, Josh recalls watching their grandfather face health problems on a regular basis: “I felt there had to be a better way to do this—to deliver health care, to care for people.”
Once the identical twin brothers began to explore college options, Northwestern’s Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) rose to the top of their list. It remains one of the oldest and most respected integrated medical programs in the country, admitting incoming freshmen to one of Northwestern’s undergraduate colleges and Feinberg School of Medicine simultaneously and allowing them to pursue a broader course of undergraduate study before matriculating into medical school. Seth recalls that when they toured the Evanston campus and interviewed with faculty and staff, “it just felt right.” Upon admission, the pair packed up and left Southern California for seven years in the Midwest.
Attending Northwestern together fortified the brothers’ already strong relationship. They lived together freshman year, introducing one another to more friends than either of them would have met alone. “It was like having a partner in crime,” Seth says.
HPME gave Josh and Seth the flexibility to spend part of their undergraduate years exploring their interests in the social sciences—including their shared major, political science. “I loved interacting with people who focused on things other than basic science,” Josh recalls. “I was lucky enough to make friends from all walks of life and with all different interests.”
Now both successful physicians who returned to their West Coast roots, the brothers have maintained these meaningful friendships while meeting other Northwestern graduates along the way. Josh is a gynecologic oncologist and assistant professor at UCLA Medical Center and Seth is a urologist and assistant clinical professor at City of Hope. “On any given day,” Josh says, “I interact with a Northwestern alumnus. The strength of the network and program continues to impress me.” Seth agrees, saying, “When you say you went to Northwestern, it’s a calling card. People can be confident that you’re knowledgeable, dependable, and good at what you do.”
The twins keep up with Northwestern in a number of ways, including meeting up to watch football games. Seth believes their shared alma mater “has made the alumni experience better for both of us,” adding with a laugh, “We can be our own mini alumni association.”
Because they engaged in similar activities at Northwestern, Josh and Seth now support similar areas of the University. Josh especially likes supporting Feinberg’s White Coat Ceremony, which celebrates the induction of new students into the medical community by robing each of them in a white physician’s coat. Both brothers also support Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in appreciation of the liberal arts education they received there, and Fiedler Hillel, which Seth praises as “a second home.”
Both Josh and Seth are members of NU Loyal, the giving society for donors who support Northwestern in three or more consecutive years. They say that their annual gifts are a way to support future generations. “I feel I was given a gift with the opportunity to attend Northwestern,” says Seth. “I want for the opportunities Josh and I had to expand, not contract.” Josh notes that he and his wife, Medill alumna Jaclyn Cohen ’06, give for similar reasons: “Every year we try to pay it forward,” he explains. “Northwestern gave me long-lasting relationships that define who I am as a person—as a human. And on top of that, it gave me my livelihood.”