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State health official guest speaker at Austin Peay

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper will visit Austin Peay State University later this week.

Cooper, a registered nurse, will be a guest speaker in a community health class from 1:25 p.m.-2:15 p.m., Friday, March 23 in the McCord Building. She also will be meeting with APSU President Sherry Hoppe and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bruce Speck later in the day.
Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper will visit Austin Peay State University later this week.

Cooper, a registered nurse, will be a guest speaker in a community health class from 1:25 p.m.-2:15 p.m., Friday, March 23 in the McCord Building. She also will be meeting with APSU President Sherry Hoppe and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bruce Speck later in the day.

Earlier this year, Cooper made state history when she became the first nurse to serve as commissioner of the state health department. In September 2005, at the request of Gov. Phil Bredesen, Cooper began serving as special policy and health adviser and was instrumental in developing Tennessee's Health Care Safety Net.

Cooper later assumed leadership of Project Diabetes, a program Bredesen created to curb the type II diabetes threat facing the younger population. She also helped to facilitate GetFitTN, part of Bredesen's campaign to promote healthier lifestyles and habits among Tennesseans.

Before joining state government, Cooper was a faculty member and assistant dean at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, where she received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing. She is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Kentucky.

Cooper's career background includes vulnerable populations, program planning and evaluation, health policy, health care regulation and evidence-based practice. Her career experience also includes work as a nurse specializing in emergency and intensive care.

For more information, contact Dr. Francisa Farrar, director of the APSU School of Nursing, by telephone at (931) 221-6317 or by e-mail at farrarf@apsu.edu. -- Melony Leazer