David M. Stern, MD, Robert Kaplan Executive Dean for the College of Medicine and Vice Chancellor of Clinical Affairs for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has named R. Lebron Cooper, MD, chair for the UTHSC Department of Anesthesiology. An alumnus of the UTHSC College of Medicine in Memphis, he will begin his new role on September 28.
Dr. Cooper is assuming responsibilities previously held by John Zanella, Jr., MD, PhD, who retired from UTHSC in October. Dr. Zanella joined the department in 1979 and had served as its chair for more than 23 years.
“Dr. Cooper has a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience in this field,” Dean Stern said. “We are gratified that he has agreed to bring his talent and skills back to Memphis. UT anesthesiologists provide high-quality services to both pediatric and adult patients in hospitals throughout our community. In addition, our faculty-clinicians provide rigorous training for medical students and residents who go on to serve patients across the Mid-South region.”
Reporting directly to Dean Stern, as department chair Dr. Cooper will oversee research, education, and focus on clinical care in Anesthesiology at Regional One Health, one of UTHSC’s core teaching hospital partners. Dean Stern has also charged him to re-establish the Anesthesiology Residency Program.
Dr. Cooper joins UTHSC after most recently holding academic faculty and clinical appointments with two organizations over the past several years. For seven years, he was an Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, and an Associate Professor of Clinical Nurse Anesthesia at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies in Miami, Florida. While in Miami, Dr. Cooper served as Chief of Anesthesiology Clinical Operations, Medical Director for Perioperative Services, and Site Director for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Anesthesiology at the University of Miami Hospital. In 2013, he accepted the appointment as Director for Clinical Operations, Cardiac Catheterization and Electrophysiology Laboratories in the Center for Structural Heart Disease, Departments of Anesthesiology and Cardiology at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan. In 2014, he was appointed to the clinical faculty, at the academic rank of Professor of Anesthesiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.
With some 25 years of hands-on health care expertise, Dr. Cooper has been included multiple times on the list of America’s Best Doctors. He has solid academic credentials at several colleges and universities, especially in teaching residents, fellows and students in the operating room. His work includes more than 80 lectures and mock oral exams, and more than 40 regional, national and international presentations to his credit, along with more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and abstracts. His research interests are in reducing risks and errors in anesthesia practice, and improving quality and safe anesthesia patient care. He has served on several quality control boards and committees, and currently leads the Anesthesiology Quality Assurance and Process Improvement initiatives at Henry Ford Hospital.
He has been honored with multiple news reports, awards and invited speaking engagements. Dr. Cooper has been an invited lecturer at several national and international medical society conferences, including American Society of Anesthesiologists, Florida Society of Anesthesiologists, Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, Thoracic Anesthesia Symposium, Midwest Valve Symposium for Cardiologists and Surgeons, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Dr. Cooper has served numerous times as a board or panel expert for both medical society and industry events with regional, national and international recognition. His involvement with peer-reviewed journals includes service as an editorial board member for both the ISMP Newsletter and the Journal of Cardiology and Therapy, and he has been a peer reviewer for several anesthesiology journals for many years.
An alumnus of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Dr. Cooper earned his MD at the UTHSC College of Medicine in Memphis, afterward completing an internship at Methodist Hospital and a residency in anesthesiology at Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. His training also included completion of a fellowship in cardiovascular anesthesiology at Texas Heart Institute/Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.