Richard S. Cooper, M.D.

Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences
Loyola University
Email: rcooper@lumc.edu Discipline: Medicine, Epidemiology, Genetics Expertise: Health Care Inequalities, Public and Population Health, Disparities

Investigator Award
Use of Racial/Ethnic Identity in Medical Evaluations and Treatments
Award Year: 2005 Views about the importance of race in clinical medicine have come full circle in the past five years as the field of "pharmacogenomics" has ushered in the promise of medical treatments tailored to a patient's particular genetics. Jay S. Kaufman, Ph.D. and Richard S. Cooper, M.D. examine the re-emergence of race as a surrogate for genetic factors that can determine risk of disease, prognosis, and response to treatment. Their project, Use of Racial/Ethnic Identity in Medical Evaluations and Treatments, looks to published studies and surveillance data on health disparities among U.S. racial and ethnic groups for evidence that race should be a factor when considering health interventions. They want to determine whether policies that link race and ethnicity to medical care are scientifically justifiable and to quantify their costs and benefits. Drs. Kaufman and Cooper consider the implications of recruiting patients into clinical trials based on race, federal requirements for reporting trial data by racial group, approving therapies for specific racial/ethnic groups, and using race as a factor in determining therapy and drug dosage.

Background

Richard S. Cooper is a cardiovascular epidemiologist with a long-term interest in hypertension and related conditions in populations of African origin. He received training in preventive cardiology and epidemiology. His work has involved both clinical studies and population based research. Dr. Cooper joined Loyola University Medical School in 1989 as the Anthony B. Traub Professor and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology. 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. In the last several years he has developed a program in genetic epidemiology and has been involved in a series of gene mapping studies. These projects have subsequently coalesced into an interest in the significance of molecular genetics for variation in common disease among races and the clinical significance of genetics for medical decision making based on race.