The Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology is dedicated to carrying on in the tradition of its founder, Norman Cousins (1915-1990) . Norman Cousins came to UCLA in 1978 at the invitation of UCLA School of Medicine’s Dean Sherman Mellinkoff to join the faculty as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities.
What brought him to UCLA was the quest for proof that a patient’s psychological approach to illness could have an effect on biological states and health. He was particularly interested in the impact of positive emotions and attitudes, such as purpose, determination, love, hope, faith, will to live and festivity.
If the brain played an active role in the healing process, might it be consciously directed for that purpose? What would the implications of such findings be on the treatment of serious illness? Cousins came to believe that a good vehicle for making such discoveries was the emerging field of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). To promote this type of research at UCLA, he appointed a task force of high-caliber scientists whose representation encompassed the breadth of the field.
Out of the task force efforts grew the UCLA Program in Psychoneuroimmunology which had been renamed the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology.