Zara Cooper, MD, Msc, has been awarded a $3.3M National Institutes of Health grant for the study, “A layered examination of the patient experience to elucidate the role of palliative care in surgical care for seriously ill older adults.”
Over 1 million older adults with serious illness have major surgery or severe trauma each year, and palliative care delivered alongside surgical care can help relieve patient suffering, improve postoperative outcomes and reduce health care utilization. Although seriously ill surgical patients benefit from palliative care, they are less likely than other patients to receive it. The proposed study will provide an innovative and layered examination of the role of palliative care in surgery in order to directly inform bedside clinical decisions and the implementation of targeted palliative care interventions to improve care for older seriously ill surgical patients.
Zara Cooper, MD, MSc
Michele and Howard J. Kessler Distinguished Chair in Surgery and Public Health
Kessler Director, Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Chair, Executive Advisory Committee, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Health
Director, Center for Geriatric Surgery
Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Cooper is an acute care surgeon, trauma surgeon and surgical intensivist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she also serves as Kessler director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH), chair of the Executive Advisory Committee for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Health and director of the Center for Geriatric Surgery. Dr. Cooper is an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and adjunct faculty at the Marcus Institute for Aging Research. A graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Cooper completed her general surgery residency and critical care fellowship at the Brigham; a trauma fellowship at Harborview Medical Center and the University of Washington; and training in hospice and palliative medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Brigham.
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.
Dr. Cooper is currently funded through the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC), the Department of Defense and is a co-investigator on multiple federally funded grants. She also serves on numerous editorial boards and committees for professional societies, Mass General Brigham and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is a member of the Brigham Health Board of Trustees.