Gary Cohen

CEO and Co-Founder, Maternal Newborn Health Innovations, PBC
Gary Cohen is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Maternal Newborn Health Innovations

Gary is a social entrepreneur and intrapreneur who has founded and led global impact initiatives and enterprises in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Thanks to his leadership influence and collaborative engagement, he has helped make global immunization programs safer for children, improve health workers' protection against life-threatening occupational injuries, and strengthen the capacity of health systems in low-resource countries. Gary has also been instrumental in national governments' initiatives to stop sexual violence against children, diverse stakeholders' mobilization to combat antimicrobial resistance, and the advancement of innovations to reduce maternal and newborn mortality.

Gary presently serves as CEO and co-founder of Maternal Newborn Health Innovations (MNHI), a public benefit corporation focused on innovating to improve maternal and newborn health worldwide. MNHI is developing the OdonAssist™ inflatable device for assisted vaginal birth, designed to help mothers safely deliver their babies during prolonged, difficult second-stage labor. Approximately 2.4 million newborns and 287,000 women and girls died from childbirth-related causes in 2020. Every year, 10 million women and girls experience serious pregnancy-related complications, and there are 2 million stillbirths. Approximately 25 percent of newborn deaths and 45 percent of stillbirths occur during childbirth.

In addition to his position on UNICEF USA’s National Advisory Council, Gary serves as board chair and founder of Together for Girls and chair of the Corporate Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Roundtable on Global Health Threats. He also founded the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation and the Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition.

Gary retired as executive vice president, global health, at Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and president of the BD Foundation. Before this, he served as executive vice president of international operations and executive vice president and president of the medical device segment of BD, responsible for approximately half of the company’s global operations. He has served as United Nations Lifesaving Commodities for Women and Children commissioner and as a member of the United Nations Secretary General’s Network of Engaged Men Leaders. For the CDC Foundation, he has been a board chair and director, and at UNICEF USA, he previously served as a member of the National Board of Directors. Gary has also served on the Accordia Global Health Foundation Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board of Grand Challenges Canada.

Gary is a recognized expert in applying business sector skills in collaboration with the public and nonprofit sectors to advance progress on challenging global health and social problems. He has served as an expert speaker and advocate for the United Nations, Vatican, World Bank, World Health Assembly, U.S. Department of State, European Bank for Development and Reconstruction, World Economic Forum-Davos, Chatham House and Westminster Health Forum.  

Gary holds B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from Rutgers University and previously served on the university’s board of trustees. In 2016, he was named a Rutgers 250 Fellow in association with the university’s 250th anniversary, and in 2023, he received a lifetime achievement award from Rutgers Business School. Gary and the organizations he has founded have received awards and honors from numerous other organizations.