Zara Cooper, MD, MSc

Kessler Director

Zara Cooper, MD, MSc, FACS, is an acute care surgeon, trauma surgeon and surgical intensivist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) where she serves as the Director for the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH) and the Michele and Howard J. Kessler Distinguished Chair in Surgery and Public Health. Dr. Cooper is a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, associate faculty at Ariadne Labs, and adjunct faculty at the Marcus Institute for Aging research, all in in Boston, MA. She additionally serves as the Director of the Center for Geriatric Surgery at the Brigham. A graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Cooper completed her General Surgery Residency and Critical Care Fellowship at BWH; a Trauma Fellowship at Harborview Medical Center and the University of Washington in Seattle; and training in hospice and palliative medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and BWH.  

Her research aims to improve palliative and geriatric care for older seriously ill surgical patients. A national leader in surgical palliative care and geriatric trauma, she has authored over 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts, chapters, and abstracts and lectures nationally about surgical care in complex older patients.  She has mentored over 25 trainees and junior faculty in health services research.  

Dr. Cooper is currently funded through the National Institutes of Aging Paul B. Beeson Leadership in Aging Award, The American Federation for Aging Research, and the National Palliative Care Research Center, the Department of Defense and the Defense Health Agency. She serves on numerous editorial boards, and committees for professional societies, MassGeneralBrigham Healthcare System, and the Board of Trustees of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  

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