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James E. Cottrell

Member at Large
County of Residence: 
New York
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue - Box 6, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11203-2098
(718) 270-2331


James E. Cottrell, M.D. was first elected by a joint session of the Legislature to a three-year term as an At-Large Member of the New York State Board of Regents in 2011. He was re-elected to five-year terms in 2014, 2019, and 2024.

Dr. Cottrell is a Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman of Anesthesiology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. As a clinician, Dr. Cottrell has served on the medical staff of Kings County Hospital Center, Long Island College Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center, New York University Hospital, and Bellevue Hospital Center. He also served as an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at New York University. Regent Cottrell is a Past President of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and was awarded that national organization’s highest honor, The Distinguished Service Award, in 2010. In addition to being Senior Vice President and Dean for Clinical Practice at Downstate, he currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Academic Health Professionals, a medical liability company that insures SUNY Faculty.

Dr. Cottrell was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology for almost 25 years. As a clinician and researcher, he was a founding father of the subspecialty of neuroanesthesiology, a field that has significantly refined clinical practice and enhanced patient safety. Dr. Cottrell has dedicated his career to preventing behavioral and cognitive abnormalities induced during surgery and anesthesia. He authored "The Informed Consumer's Guide to Safe Surgery and Chronic Pain Relief" to inform and alleviate the fears of patients scheduled for surgery. Additionally, he co-authored "Neuroanesthesia," now in its 7th edition, which provides a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the latest developments in this challenging field. Dr. Cottrell has mentored over 700 anesthesiology residents, delivered more than 200 guest lectures, and served as a visiting professor at over 120 medical schools worldwide.

Regent Cottrell served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Doctors of the World and worked during the developing phase of the AIDS Crises with God’s Love We Deliver to prepare and deliver meals to homebound AIDS patients. He also helped found, and served as the Chairman of the Board, of the AIDS Action Foundation. While on sabbatical in 1987, he served as a Health Policy Advisor to Senator Edward M. Kennedy when Senator Kennedy was Chair of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Dr. Cottrell and his partner Joseph Lovett, a documentary filmmaker, have a great interest in the visual and performing arts. Dr. Cottrell serves on the Director’s Council of the Whitney Museum of American Art and has served on the Prix Marcel Duchamp and Guerlain Drawing Prize Selection Committees in association with the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Regent Cottrell received his Medical Degree from West Virginia University and did his postgraduate training and fellowship in Pittsburgh. He served as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy prior to joining the faculty of NYU.

On the Board of Regents, Dr. Cottrell serves as a Co-Chair of the Professional Practice Committee and the Co-Chair of the Health Care Work Group.