Upstate News

July 21, 2003
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Endowed fellowship will honor Ellen Cook Jacobsen, M.D.

The Syracuse Medical Alumni Association of SUNY Upstate Medical University has launched a campaign honoring Ellen Cook “Cookie” Jacobsen, M.D., a pioneering woman in the field of medicine and a leader in clinical and administrative medicine and global medical education.

The campaign to raise $250,000 will allow the creation of The Ellen Cook Jacobsen, M.D., Endowed Fellowship in Psychiatry. It will provide financial assistance to medical students seeking greater knowledge of and experience in the field of consultation liaison psychiatry, one of Jacobsen’s areas of expertise. Consultation liaison psychiatrists evaluate abnormal reactions to medical illness and provide appropriate psychological care of patients with such reactions. They also serve as a liaison with the patient’s primary care provider.

Jacobsen, of Cazenovia, is professor emeritus of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate and a 1950 alumna of SUNY Upstate’s College of Medicine. Her distinguished medical career began in 1951 at a time when women physicians were a rarity, serving as a resident in internal medicine at SUNY Upstate. It is believed that she was one of the first female resident physicians at SUNY Upstate. She became an instructor in medicine in 1953, later attaining the rank of full professor. After a second residency in psychiatry, she served in a unique role as clinical liaison between SUNY Upstate’s Department of Psychiatry and all other SUNY Upstate departments.

“Dr. Jacobsen has presented the best face that psychiatry has to offer for many decades,” said Mantosh Dewan, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate. “She has influenced many people from all walks of life.”

Jacobsen also had her hand in global medical education. In the early 1960s and again in the mid-1970s she participated in United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Rockefeller Institute sponsored programs, traveling to Lebanon, Iran and India to evaluate medical education programs in those countries.

Throughout her career, Jacobsen has practiced medicine in the disciplines of infectious diseases, cardiopulmonary medicine (where she participated on the first cardiac catheterizing team in Syracuse) and psychiatry. She married former SUNY Upstate President Carlyle Jacobsen, Ph.D., in 1957 and continued to serve SUNY Upstate in many capacities, including educator, clinician and advisor to students and administration. She was the coordinator and innovator of many services at SUNY Upstate, including Student Health Services, for which she served as its first director.

A recipient of numerous awards, including the SUNY Upstate President’s Award for Distinguished Service and the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Syracuse Medical Alumni Association, Jacobsen retired from the SUNY Upstate faculty in 1990 but continues to work on health care issues at SUNY Upstate and in the community.

Contributions to the campaign may be made to the Medical Alumni Foundation Jacobsen Fellowship. For more information, call 315-464-4361 or email www.novickc@upstate.edu

Gifts may also be made on-line at the Foundation’s secure site: http://www.upstate.edu/medalumni

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