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Renowned heart surgeon Jack Copeland hired by UC-San Diego

Arizona Daily Star
June 10, 2010
World-renowned heart surgeon Dr. Jack Copeland has resigned from the University of Arizona to take a job in San Diego.

Administrators called it a big loss and wished him well.

"If there's such a thing as a rock star in (transplant) surgery, he's a rock star," said Gordon A. Ewy, director of the UA's Sarver Heart Center, where Copeland is a co-director.

"He literally put the University of Arizona on the map," Ewy said. "I can't thank him enough for his contributions."

When Copeland came to the UA from Stanford University in 1977 to develop a transplant program, "it was just a miraculous shot in the arm," Ewy said. "The thing that sticks in my mind: Back in those days, he did 100 coronary bypass surgeries without a fatality."

Copeland performed the first heart transplant in Arizona in 1979.
In 1985 he pioneered the use of an artificial heart to keep a patient alive until a donor heart became available for transplant - and that led to the UA's becoming a world leader in artificial-heart technology.

Rainer Gruessner, chairman of the UA surgery department, said he accepted Copeland's resignation as distinguished professor and cardiothoracic surgery chief a few weeks ago after talking with him about it earlier. The resignation is effective June 30.

Copeland will be a cardiac surgery professor at the University of California-San Diego's new Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center in La Jolla. The $227 million facilities are scheduled to open in April.
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