Founder of UPenn's cancer center dies

Richard "Buz" Cooper, MD, a hematologist/oncologist who founded Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania's Cancer Center, has died from cancer-related complications.

"Buz will be remembered as a great example of a health policy expert who was fearless in standing up for his beliefs and relentless in developing research support for his ideas. He will be missed," Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics Executive Director Dan Polsky said in an announcement of Dr. Cooper's death.

Dr. Cooper's career included a 1963 fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, two years as a faculty member at Harvard University, dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, senior fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and director of the Center for the Future of the Healthcare Workforce at New York Institute of Technology.

Dr. Cooper became known as a health policy expert and championed the idea that widespread poverty was a driver of high health costs, according to LDI.

David Asch, MD, professor at Penn Medicine and The Wharton School, said "his was a remarkable transformation from someone who was a leader in hematology/oncology to someone who became a forceful leader in the area of health policy. He was really a larger-than-life kind of character."

According to the LDI announcement, Dr. Cooper finished a book called Poverty and the Myths of Health Care Reform just before his death. The book will be published in August.


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