A Penn Memorial Symposium To Honor The Late Buz Cooper

A Penn Memorial Symposium To Honor The Late Buz Cooper

Event to Look Back on the Unique Career of a Much-Respected Colleague

Four faculty groups at the University of Pennsylvania are joining together to host a memorial symposium celebrating the life and works of Penn's late Richard "Buz" Cooper.

The event is being hosted by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI), The Penn Division of Hematology and Oncology, The Abramson Cancer Center, and the Penn Nursing School's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. Cooper has strong connections to all four organizations.


The late Richard "Buz" Cooper will be honored in a Sept. 23 Penn symposium.

Cooper, who died of cancer in January, enjoyed a long and colorfully multifaceted career as oncologist who in the 1970s founded Penn's cancer center, later became the Dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin and in the first decade of the new century returned to Penn as a Senior Fellow at LDI where he was a nationally renowned health policy expert. 

Contrarian views
In many ways, Cooper's legacy continues to grow with the seminar that gathers academic experts to discuss health care workforce policy as well as with the imminent publication of his new book, "Poverty and the Myths of Health Care Reform." That book, due to be released by Johns Hopkins University Press in a few weeks, focuses on the notoriously contrarian views about health care costs that Cooper promoted throughout the later years of his life.

The September 23 Penn symposium entitled "Healthcare Workforce Policy: Balancing Quality, Costs and the Impact of Poverty" will be held from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the recently opened Jordan Medical Education Center on campus. See further registration details. See Google map.

Penn seminar panel
Moderated by LDI Executive Director Daniel Polsky, PhD, the symposium panel will include University of Texas at Austin Law Professor William Sage, MD, JD; Temple University Health Care Management Professor Emeritus Thomas Getzen, PhD; Penn Nursing School Professor and Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, Linda Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN; Medical College of Wisconsin Professor John Meurer, MD, MBA; and George Washington University Professorial Lecturer in Health Policy, Michael Whitcomb, MD.


Buz Cooper's new book from Johns Hopkins Press will be published in August.

After Cooper retired from LDI and Penn, he became Director of the Center for the Future of the Healthcare Workforce at the New York Institute of Technology and maintained a high profile as a health policy expert who disagreed with the field's general thinking about health care cost drivers.

Dartmouth Atlas view
He took particular umbrage with the Dartmouth Atlas view that the waste and inefficiencies of physicians and health care systems were responsible for a large amount of the country's runaway health care costs. 

Instead, as he does in his forthcoming book, Cooper championed the concept that widespread poverty is the primary driver of excessive health costs -- the idea being that the condition of poverty keeps a large population from getting routine health care over a lifetime, resulting in massive numbers of advanced morbidities later in life that are hugely expensive to treat.