Q & A With Red Hot Gala Honorary Chair Jeffrey P. Carpenter, MD

Dr. Jeffrey P. Carpenter is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Vice President of Perioperative Services. Find out why he wants you to come to the 2017 Cooper Red Hot Gala, learn about the tough choice he had to make while a student at Yale and discover what he enjoys doing when he’s not working. Hint: The sky’s the limit.

Drs. Jeffrey & Judith Carpenter

Q. What made you decide to become a doctor?

A. I come from a family of lawyers and doctors so service to other people was engrained in me by watching them. My grandfather was a surgeon so I suppose it is in my genes somewhere. He died when I was 3, but I still keep a picture of him in my office.

Q. Why do you like about being a surgeon?

A. Academic surgery is an absolutely marvelous career because it is so versatile. You can fix a problem immediately, which is a wonderful thing to do. I count the relationship with patients and the trust they place in me a great privilege. I’m also a scientist and a researcher. I love my lab and the discovery process. Research can influence outcomes for an infinite number of patients around the world.

Q. Why should people come to Gala this year and support the Surgical Services Institute at Cooper?

A. There are a lot of exciting things happening at Cooper right now. The Surgery Department is a huge part of MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, and our services are also rapidly growing independent of the Cancer Center. The support that comes from the Gala is important to help garner the resources to keep up with that growth. Additionally, the proceeds from the Gala support our research team, allowing young, promising investigators to advance their research in identifying new surgical therapies and devices that will benefit our patients.

For more information about this year’s gala click here.

Q. What inspires you?

A. My faith is very important to me. While I studied medicine at Yale, I was also enrolled in the Divinity School. I had a hard decision to make – whether to become a priest or a surgeon.

Q. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

A. Flying my airplane! That’s been my passion since I was young. I had my pilot’s license before I could drive.

Q. We also hear you have some musical talent. Is that true?

A. I love music. Before my voice changed I got paid to sing in a boy’s choir. Now I sing in the back of the church choir. My son, John, is a professional opera singer with the Deutsche Opera Company in Berlin, and my daughter, Katie, double majored in vocal performance and music education at Penn State.

Q. What about your wife, Judy?

A. Judy is much smarter than I am. She is a trained internist. She doesn’t practice now, but she and I are very active in inventing medical devices. We have 10 patents. We are also very active in Covenant House, a non-profit organization that provides food, shelter and other services to homeless youth. Judy and I founded the Covenant House in Camden, where she is on the board. I serve on the board of Covenant House New Jersey. If you work at Cooper, you can’t help but develop a heart for the people of Camden and want to do something to give back to the community.

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