The American Heart Association (AHA) recently honored Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH, FACP, principal investigator and director of the Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities, with the 2013 Watkins-Saunders Award. The annual award, which honors the groundbreaking clinical, medical, and community work of Dr. Levi Watkins and Dr. Elijah Saunders, recognizes individuals whose work exemplifies excellence in their endeavors to diminish healthcare disparities in Maryland.

Cooper received the honor on Feb. 23 at the AHA’s 29th Annual Baltimore Heart Ball. The event, chaired by Brown Advisory investment management firm, was held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

Cooper is an internationally recognized expert on the effectiveness of patient-centered interventions for improving health outcomes and overcoming racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. Additionally, she has demonstrated her selfless commitment to community through service to numerous community organizations, institutions and foundations.

Having worked under the tutelage of Drs. Watkins and Saunders, Cooper is ecstatic to have been chosen for an award honoring their work.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the Watkins-Saunders Award,” she said in a statement. “Both Dr. Watkins and Saunders have been mentors and role models for me, from my early years as a medical resident at University of Maryland to my years as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins. While training with Dr. Saunders, I saw firsthand how he engendered trust from his patients and the community by his superb clinical care and commitment to patients and their families. In my interactions with Dr. Watkins, I experienced his ability to courageously speak up when he saw injustice based on race, social standing, or any other reason, in the academic environment and in care delivery.”