Richard Cooper is a physician epidemiologist with an interest in cardiovascular disease. Dr. Cooper has experience with patient registries, community surveys, and genetic epidemiology. He is available for consultation on issues related to study design and grant preparation.
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Dr. Cooper attended medical at the University of Arkansas College of Medicine and completed a residency and fellowship in cardiology at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. He subsequently completed a second NIH-funded fellowship in epidemiology, biostatistics, nutrition and prevention cardiology at Northwestern University. During this period he was engaged in research on secular trends in cardiovascular disease and randomized trials based on nutritional interventions. He published the first manuscript describing the downturn in coronary heart disease in the US and was a member of the research team in national cardiovascular trials. He was appointed to the faculty at Northwestern and remained there until 1982.
After leaving Northwestern he took a position at Cook County Hospital with an appointment at the University of Illinois. In the position as Director of Clinical Epidemiology and Associate Chair of the Division of Cardiology at Cook County Hospital he directed a research program on clinical aspects of coronary heart disease and hypertension. His investigative group published the first observation on lower rates of tertiary and surgical care for coronary heart disease among African Americans in the US and described the markedly reduced survival of African American patients at Cook County Hospital after myocardial infarction.
Dr. Cooper joined Loyola University Medical School in 1989 as Chair of The Department of Public Health Sciences. A major research focus of the department has been a description of the evolution of cardiovascular disease across the course of the African diaspora. Over 20,000 participants have been recruited in community-based studies in West Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana), the Caribbean (Barbados, St. Lucia and Jamaica) and metropolitan Chicago. This work has demonstrated the determining role of changing environmental conditions on the evolution of cardiovascular risk status among populations of African descent.
An additional dimension to this work has been the use of the tools of genetic epidemiology to explore the pathogenesis of hypertension and obesity. Currently funded research has identified genomic regions associated with both of these conditions and attempts are being made to clone the responsible genes. In addition, a wide range of research on population genetics has been based on the access to the DNA resources from these important projects. One of these collaborative projects helped provide the rationale for the large scale NIH mapping project – the HapMap – which has been used to extend the human genome project. This research led as well to the first large-scale study based on admixture mapping. Dr. Cooper has also been an outspoken advocate of the need to incorporate a broad social understanding of race into the interpretation of genetic research on ethnic differences.
Dr. Cooper received a MERIT award from the NIH in 1998 and has served on numerous advisory and review panels. He chaired the Epidemiology and Disease Control Study Section for the NIH from 2000 to 2002 and is currently on the National Advisory Council for the NHGRI. He is a consultant to the WHO and the CDC on issues related to control of cardiovascular disease in developing countries and is Course Director for an annual training program in sub-Saharan Africa. In the last several years he has written widely on the topic of genetics and race and has been a frequent speaker at professional meetings. He was a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH) from 2008-20011.