C. Everett Koop, MD, one of the nation’s most widely recognized Surgeon Generals, died Feb. 25 at the age of 96, at his home in Hanover, N.H.
Koop was born in Brooklyn, New York, on Oct. 14, 1916. Koop obtained his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1937, and his MD from Cornell Medical College in 1941. He later became a professor of pediatric surgery and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, making pioneering contributions to the field of pediatric surgery field.
In February 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Dr. Koop to be Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health. Nine months later, he became U.S. Surgeon General, serving in that post from 1982 to 1989.
The New York Times wrote: “Dr. Koop issued empathic warnings about the dangers of smoking, and he almost single-handedly pushed the government into taking a more aggressive stand against AIDS. And despite his steadfast moral opposition to abortion, he refused to use his office as a pulpit from which to preach against it.”