In This Section      
Print This Page

Dr. Lisa Cooper Addresses Ethnic Health Disparities

Dr. Lisa CooperDr. Lisa Cooper

Dr. Lisa Cooper, a 2007 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award, delivered a recent TEDx Talk about her life's work as a disparities researcher at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Cooper has dedicated her 20-year career to eliminating disparities in healthcare and empowering patients to take a more active role in their care.

Born into an upper middle class Liberian family, Dr. Cooper has always been aware of inequality. As a child, she dreamed of becoming a doctor to help those who were less fortunate. “Why did some have so much and some so little? This sensitivity that I had and the sadness I felt about what I saw around me made me determined that I would do something to improve the lives of others,” said Dr. Cooper. 

The outbreak of a violent coup in Liberia on Dr. Cooper's 17th birthday interrupted her dream of helping others. “For the first time in my life, I realized what it felt like to be part of a minority group and without power to protect myself," recalled Dr. Cooper.

Dr. Cooper's experiences during the coup strengthened her desire to practice medicine, where she could help others who felt powerless and afraid. She and her family fled Liberia for America, but the lessons learned on that horrific day are a constant reminder to Dr. Cooper about the power of advocacy for those who are underserved and neglected.


Tackling ethnic health disparities: Lisa Cooper at TEDxBaltimore 2014

Dr. Cooper is an internationally recognized health services researcher and medical educator at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has developed interventions that enhance patient-physician communication, improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare disparities. She is a 2007 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Award.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)