Noted surgeon, alumnus to speak at CSU

Jack_Cochran_200Dr. Jack Cochran, whose undergraduate experience at Colorado State University inspired him to become a noted surgeon and, eventually, a leader at one of the nation’s top healthcare conglomerates, will discuss healthcare issues during a lecture and book signing at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Lory Student Center.

The lecture, titled “The Changing Face of Medicine: From Welby to Watson,” is sponsored by the College of Natural Sciences and is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Cherokee Park Room at the student center.

Cochran, who grew up in the Denver suburbs before coming to CSU in 1964 to study biology, did not envision a career in medicine until after he graduated. He even spent a year in dental school before choosing medicine as his career path.

“I had a wonderful liberal arts-type education at CSU, and I also had a great experience in the sciences,” he said. “When I got to medical school I was working with students who had taken more traditional routes at schools like Stanford, Harvard and other Ivy League schools, and I more than held my own with all of them. CSU provided me with the full capability to compete with graduates from the finest schools in the country.”

Leader in medical field

Cochran entered into private surgical practice for 10 years before starting the plastic surgery group at Kaiser Permanente. His colleagues encouraged him to take on a leadership role and he rose through the ranks to become executive director of The Permanente Federation, which represents the national interests of the regional Permanente Medical Groups and their more than 17,000 physicians.

His experiences led him to co-author “The Doctor Crisis: How Physicians Can, and Must, Lead the Way to Better Health Care.” He will sign copies of the book following the lecture.

“Many of my peers in medicine feel like the system has changed and left them behind, but the fact is that we’ve been too passive when we had the chance to lead when the rules changed,” he said. “What I bristle at is when a doctor my age says to kids, ‘Don’t be a doctor.’ It’s still an essential healing art. Just because the rules have changed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get in the game.”

Jan Nerger, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, is delighted that Cochran is sharing his experiences with the campus and community.

“We are very excited that Dr. Cochran is returning to campus,” she said. “His career as an M.D. and advocate for integrated care and physician leadership is impressive. I’m so pleased he is willing to share his expertise and vision of the future of healthcare with our students, faculty and community.”