January 1993

Edward Sawyer Cooper, MD

Cardiologist & Professor

Edward Sawyer Cooper, MD

Heart disease and stroke are primary killers in the United States. Leading the effort to eradicate their deadly toll is Dr. Edward S. Cooper, a native of Columbia. He has been an active participant in the American Heart Association for three decades and in 1992 he became the first African-American elected president of the national organization. Dr. Cooper is a nationally recognized specialist in the campaign against strokes and heart disease. Having acquired his education through traditionally African-American schools, his career is ample proof that these outstanding institutions produce quality students and professionals. Son of the late Dr. and Mrs. Henry Howard Cooper, Edward S. Cooper was born in 1926. He attended Columbia’s Booker T. Washington High School, where excellence and achievement were stressed. From there he traveled to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he earned his BA in 1946. Meharry Medical College in Nashville awarded Cooper his MD with highest Honors in 1949, and he received an honorary MA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973. Dr. Cooper served his internship and residency at the former Philadelphia General Hospital, and later went on to fill the posts of Fellow in Cardiology, President of the Medical Staff, and Chief of Medical Services. He also cofounded and codirected the Stroke Research Center of Philadelphia General Hospital. As a Captain in the Air Force from 1954 to 1956, Dr. Cooper was Chief of Medical Services for the United States Air Force Hospital in the Philippines. Since 1958 he has been on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, serving as Professor of Medicine since 1973. He has published and edited numerous articles, reports, and reviews for professional journals and committees. Dr. Cooper has been an active member in many organizations, including Diplomat and Examiner of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Stroke Council of the American Heart Association, National Medical Association, Blue Cross of Greater Philadelphia, and the Association of Black Cardiologists. He was founding member and chaired the executive committee of the American Health Education for African Development and the American Foundation of Negro Affairs. Among his many honors are the American Heart Association Award of Merit, the Heart of Philadelphia Award, Distinguished Alumnus Awards form Lincoln and Meharry, and the Charles Drew Award for Distinguished Contributions to Medical Education. Following in the footsteps of medical pathbreakers Dr. Martin R. Delany, Dr. James McCune Smith and Dr. Daniel hale Williams, Dr. Cooper has dedicated his life to improving the lives of all Americans by protecting them from the ravages of heart disease. Dr. Coooper’s prescription: “Stay in school, study hard, and strive for excellence.”