For Release: March 18, 2005
Contact: DMS Communications (603) 650-1492
Koop Honored for Courage, Legacy
Hanover, NH - Former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop was hailed today as a mentor and a visionary leader in the war on smoking. At a meeting of medical professionals aimed at increasing smoking cessation efforts in the patient population, Dr. Koop, professor of surgery, of community and family medicine, and of psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School, received a standing ovation and a lengthy tribute for his far-reaching work against smoking.
"Dartmouth has a treasure on its campus - a treasure that is unrivaled in America," Dr. Michael Fiore told the audience at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Friday morning. Said Fiore, the director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, "No one is more responsible for my career and my interest in tobacco than Dr. Koop."
Fiore had come to DHMC to challenge the institution and its physicians and health care workers to become more proactive in their efforts to diagnose smoking among patients, encourage smoking cessation, and support patients who want to quit with the tools they need to be successful.
Dartmouth Medical School Chief Operating Officer Charles Mannix announced that DMS would soon unveil details of "The C. Everett Koop Award for Courage" to be given annually to a DMS student or faculty member who demonstrates leadership on issues of public health.
"Your personal traits of candor, will, rigor and purpose are at the very bedrock of what courage is all about and are what distinguish a leader who rises to the challenge, makes the most of opportunity, and overcomes setbacks to execute change," Mannix told Koop. "Our school and our nation are better places because of your courage."
Determining whether a patient smokes and helping them in their efforts to quit is as important as anything else a health professional will do to improve that patient's health and life, Fiore said. "Smoking costs this country $75 billion a year" in direct health care costs and an equal amount in lost productivity and other indirect costs to employers, he said.
Early in his career, Fiore worked at the Centers for Disease Control under Koop and it was there, he said, that Koop's groundbreaking fight against tobacco inspired him to make this his life's work. A recipient of the "Innovators" award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Fiore has won national attention for his campaign to make a patient's smoking status a "vital sign" that needs to be noted and treated by every health care professional.