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Steven Paul Cohen, MD

Director of Medical Education - Pain Medicine Division
Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
Appointment Phone


Main Location

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

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Call 410-464-6641 (8a.m. to 6p.m., EST, Mon-Fri)

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International Patients

Call +1-410-502-0773 (7a.m. to 6p.m., EST, Mon-Fri)

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  • Director of Medical Education - Pain Medicine Division
  • Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
  • Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Centers & Institutes

  • Blaustein Pain Treatment Center


Interventional Pain Management

Research Interests

Neuropathic pain; Fibromyalgia


Dr. Steven Paul Cohen is a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His areas of clinical expertise include interventional pain management.

Dr. Cohen obtained his medical degree at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completed an anesthesiology residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and performed a pain management fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Currently, he is a professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He is also the director of medical education and quality assurance for the Pain Management Division at Johns Hopkins and director of pain research at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Dr. Cohen has been very active in teaching and pain research in recent years, having published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles, reviews and book chapters in the past 15 years. Among his major contributions are the development of a new FDA-approved technique for treating sacroiliac joint pain (lateral branch radiofrequency denervation); inventing the intravenous ketamine test to help guide treatment in patients with chronic pain; and performing the first studies evaluating the local administration of cytokine inhibitors for pain.

His research has been the subject of articles in the science section of The New York Times four times. He is first author of the “Pain” chapter in the last two editions of Cecil Textbook of Medicine, and was listed as one of the top 10 experts in the world on back pain based on quantitative analysis of publications.

In addition to his academic work, Dr. Cohen is a colonel in the Army Reserve and chief of Anesthesia & Operative Services at the 48th Combat Support Hospital in Fort Meade, Maryland. He also serves as the reserve liaison to the pain management consultants to the U.S. Army and Navy Surgeons General. Over the past three years, Dr. Cohen has presented data on pain management in service members to the U.S. Congress, FDA and general officers. His research was instrumental in the passage of the 2008 Military Pain Care Act, and he served as an inaugural member of the U.S. Army Medical Advisory Board.


  • English


Association of University Anesthesiologists, 2007 - present

International Spinal Intervention Society, 2007 - present

Maryland State Society of Anesthesiologist, 2005 - present

American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, 2006 - present

American Society of Regional Anesthesia, 2004 - present

American Pain Society, 2001 - present

American Society of Anesthesiologists, 1998 - present

New York Academy of Sciences, 1999 - 2002

New York State Society of Anesthesiologists, 1998 - 2003

38th Parallel Medical Society, 1993 - 1999

Additional Resources

Additional Resources +
  • Education +


    • Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York NY) (1991)


    • The Presbyterian Hospital in the City of New York / Anesthesiology (New York NY) (1993)


    • Massachusetts General Hospital / Pain Medicine (Boston MA) (2000)


    • American Board of Anesthesiology / Pain Management (2012)
    • American Board of Anesthesiology / Anesthesiology (1994)
  • Research & Publications +

    Research Summary

    Dr. Cohen’s research focuses on pain, including neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia. Many of his studies examine the causes and treatment of injuries among U.S. soldiers.

    Selected Publications

    1. Cohen SP, Atanelov L, Rammasubu C, Amasha R, Kurihara C, Verdun A, Duarte SS, Stambaugh T. “Can changes in vital signs be used to predict the response to lumbar facet blocks and radiofrequency denervation? A prospective, correlational study.” Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;39(4):333-40. doi: 10.1097/AAP.0000000000000105.
    2. Hsu E, Atanelov L, Plunkett AR, Chai N, Chen Y, Cohen SP. “Epidural lysis of adhesions for failed back surgery and spinal stenosis: factors associated with treatment outcome.” Anesth Analg. 2014 Jan;118(1):215-24. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000042.
    3. Rauck RL, Cohen SP, Gilmore CA, North JM, Kapural L, Zang RH, Grill JH, Boggs JW. “Treatment of post-amputation pain with peripheral nerve stimulation.” Neuromodulation. 2014 Feb;17(2):188-97. doi: 10.1111/ner.12102. Epub 2013 Aug 15.
    4. Cohen SP, Hameed H, Kurihara C, Pasquina PF, Patel AM, Babade M, Griffith SR, Erdek ME, Jamison DE, Hurley RW. “The effect of sedation on the accuracy and treatment outcomes for diagnostic injections: a randomized, controlled, crossover study.” Pain Med. 2014 Apr;15(4):588-602. doi: 10.1111/pme.12389. Epub 2014 Feb 13.
    5. Kroll CE, Schartz B, Gonzalez-Fernandez M, Gordon AH, Babade M, Erdek MA, Mekhail N, Cohen SP. “Factors associated with outcome after superior hypogastric plexus neurolysis in cancer patients.” Clin J Pain. 2014 Jan;30(1):55-62. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e3182869d68.
  • Academic Affiliations & Courses +
  • Activities & Honors +


    John J. Bonica Award, American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA), 2014

    Founder’s Award, American Academy of Pain Medicine, 2014

    Faculty-Mentor Award, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2014

    “Best Doctors,” Baltimore Magazine, 2011, 2012

    Teacher of the Year, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2010

    Letter of Recognition, U.S. Army Surgeon General, 2010

    Order of Military Medical Merit, 2010

    Lifetime Public Service Award, American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, 2009

    Army Achievement Medal, 2008

    Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, 2003

    Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, 2003, 2005, 2007

    Meritorious Service Medal, 1999

    Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, 1995, 1996

    Overseas Service Ribbon with Oak Leaf Cluster, 1994, 1999

    Army Service Ribbon, 1993

    National Defense Service Medal, 1991

    Professional Activities

    Associate Editor, Pain, 2014 - present

    Associate Editor, Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research, 2010 - present

    Editor, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, 2009 - present

    Editor, Pain Physician, 2009 - present

    Board of Directors, Defense & Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management, 2009 - present

    Associate Editor, Local and Regional Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2008 - present

    Inaugural Member, U.S. Army Medical Advisory Board, 2008 - present

    Associate Editor, Open Spine Journal, 2008 - present

    Associate Editor, Open Pain Journal, 2008 - present

    Associate Editor, Journal of Cancer Pain and Symptom Palliation, 2005 - present

    Associate Editor, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, 2007 - 2009

    Associate Editor, Pain Physician, 2007 - 2009

    Chairman, Committee on Conscious Sedation, 121st General Hospital in Seoul, Korea, 1997 - 1999

    Vice Chairman, Committee on Conscious Sedation, Wuerzburg Army Hospital, 1995 - 1996

  • Videos & Media +

    Recent News Articles & Media Coverage

    Questioning Steroid Shots for Back Pain,” The New York Times, September 19, 2013

    Reuters, “Spinal injections may not aid lower back pain,” April 16, 2012

    Psychiatric Problems Send More Troops Home Than Combat Injuries,” NPR, January 27, 2010

  • Events +
  • Contact & Locations +


    The Johns Hopkins Hospital
    600 N. Wolfe Street
    Hospital Main Entrance - Sheikh Zayed Tower
    Baltimore, MD 21287
    Phone: 410-955-7246
    Appointment Phone: 410-955-7246
    Location Map
    Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
    601 N. Caroline Street
    Baltimore, MD 21287
    Phone: 410-955-7246
    Appointment Phone: 410-955-7246
    Location Map
    Johns Hopkins Pediatric Specialty Clinic
    200 N. Wolfe Street
    Rubenstein Child Health
    Baltimore, MD 21287
    Phone: 410-955-5710
    Appointment Phone: 410-955-5710
    Fax: 410-614-9246
    Location Map


    • Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine - Pain Medicine

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