Lisa Angeline Catherine Cooper, MD, MPH
Photo: Lisa Cooper



(410) 614-3659



Elected 2005
Dr. Cooper’s research program is focused on patient-oriented research to improve and overcome racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. Over the last two decades, disparities in health status and healthcare along racial and ethnic lines have been documented in the U.S., but they are not entirely explained by differences in education or access to health care. Dr. Cooper’s work, using novel, quantitative methods to measure patient-physician interactions, has identified patient-physician communication as important contributors to disparities in health care quality. She is one of the first to demonstrate scientifically that ethnic minority patients perceive their interactions with physicians as less participatory and satisfactory, and that communication differences exist between white and African-American patients. Specifically, medical encounters of minority patients are more verbally dominated by physicians and characterized by less positive overall emotional tone. Dr. Cooper’s important work has shown that race concordant visits (relationships in which the physician and patient share racial backgrounds) are longer with slower pace of speech and more positive emotional tone. Ethnic minority patients also rate visits with ethnic-concordant physicians as more participatory and satisfactory. Based on this path-breaking work she has designed and is conducting NIH-funded, randomized clinical trials to improve patient-centered communication targeted at both physicians and patients and is measuring the impact on the reduction in disparities and improvement in the quality of care for ethnic minority patients. Dr. Cooper’s work has had important implications for clinical practice and the training of physicians to deliver care to an increasingly diverse patient population.

Honors / awards

National Academy of Medicine (2008)