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    Physician work force advocate Dr. Cooper remembered

    Richard “Buz” Cooper, MD, an outspoken figure on health care work force shortages, passed away Jan. 15, 2016, from complications related to cancer. He was 79.

    Dr. Cooper, a hematologist/oncologist, founded the Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1971, according to a tribute from the university’s Leonard Davis Institute (LDI) of Health Economics. Later, he served as dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where he established and led an academic center devoted to health work force research.

    Read: Increased use of telehealth prompts heightened legislative activity

    Dr. Cooper later returned to the University of Pennsylvania as an LDI Senior Fellow, focusing on the future of the physician work force.

    "His was a remarkable transformation from someone who was a leader in hematology/oncology to someone who became a forceful leader in the area of health policy. He was really a larger-than-life kind of character,” said David A. Aasch, MD, MBA, of the University of Pennsylvania.

    In 2009, Dr. Cooper spoke with Urology Times Editorial Consultant Philip M. Hanno, MD, MPH, about the urologist shortage, a concern that persists today. In this interview, which follows below, Dr. Cooper discusses the urologist shortage, the increasing role of physician extenders, and what the future holds for an aging specialty.

     

    Do we have enough physicians in the United States?

    No, we certainly don’t. It’s being felt everywhere.

     

    Do we have enough urologists in the United States?

    No, we don’t. The situation is even worse for urologists than it is for physicians overall. During the 1980s and 1990s, when the overall number of physicians per capita was increasing, the number of urologists didn’t increase and the number of urologists per capita has actually fallen by about 10% over the past decade. It’s really astounding to look at what’s happened to the number of urologists, particularly when considering all the procedures and therapies that urologists now perform or prescribe. If you match urologists against the older population, which is increasing rapidly, the shortage is just devastating.

    Next: "There’s just no question that urology in America can’t function in the future with only urologists."

    Benjamin P. Saylor
    Saylor is content managing editor for Urology Times.
    Philip M. Hanno, MD, MPH
    Philip M. Hanno, a Urology Times editorial consultant, is professor of urology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

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