As a heart surgeon and researcher, Dr. Theodore Cooper made many major scientific contributions through his work at NIH, especially on cardiac transplantation and artificial hearts, ventricular innervation and function, and myocardial infarction.
His accomplishments included establishment of new funding mechanisms such as Specialized Centers of Research. He led the National Heart Institute through significant growth and expanded authority, including redesignation as the National Heart and Lung Institute, coordination of the National Sickle Cell Disease Program, and establishment of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program, a model educational program and the first at NIH to bring the research community into collaboration with industry and academia.
During the Nixon and Ford administrations, Dr. Cooper served as Deputy Assistant then Assistant Secretary for Health (1974-77), where he helped shape policy on heart disease, nutrition and AIDS. From 1977 to 1980, he was Cornell University's provost for medical affairs and dean of Cornell University Medical College. In 1980, Dr. Cooper joined Upjohn Company, where he served as chairman and chief executive from 1987 until his death in 1993.