MacArthur ‘genius’ Gary Cohen: Health industry’s epiphany creates science opportunity

Lena H. Sun
September 29, 2015
Washington Post
Health environmentalist Gary Cohen was at a reception for social entrepreneurs in the spring when someone from the MacArthur "genius" fellowships program sat down next to him. He remembered telling her how important it was to raise awareness about the impact of environment on health. He described his decades of work. She nodded politely.
Cohen kept her card in his office. "I prayed deeply that something might transpire from this," he said in an interview Tuesday from his home in Boston.
As it turned out, Cecilia Conrad was a plant. The MacArthur Foundation had already picked him as one of its 2015 grant recipients, and Conrad, managing director of the fellows program, was doing reconnaissance. She confessed as much when she contacted him recently with the good news: "She said, 'I was purposely sitting next to you to check you out.'"