It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Dennis W. Cope MD, FACP, on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 at the age of 76. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 52 years, Mary Jean Cope, his daughters Kari and Kristi, daughter in-law Dr. Jacquie Cope, and his 5 grandchildren. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.
Dr. Cope spent the majority of his training and career at UCLA and at UCLA affiliated hospitals including the Sepulveda VA/West LA VA and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center serving in many different leadership roles. He has made significant contributions to Medicine and to Medical Education, specifically to General Internal Medicine and Primary Care. He was a leading member of the group that founded the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM).
Dr. Cope completed his residency and chief residency at UCLA from 1970-1974, followed by 2 years of fellowship in Endocrinology at UCLA/VA in Los Angeles. He stayed on at UCLA as faculty and served in many leadership roles including Director of Medical Ambulatory Care Center, Chair of Education and Curriculum, Kennamer Fellowship Director, and Director of the Primary Care Track of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at UCLA from 1982-1992.
From 1992-1995 Dr. Cope served as the Chief of General Medicine at Sepulveda VA Medical Center where he made significant contributions before moving to Charleston South Carolina to take a position as the Director of Primary Care Services at Charleston, South Carolina VA and Director of Division of General Internal Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina from 1995-2002. He also served at the VHA Atlanta Network (VISN7) from 2000-2002 as the Executive Medical Director, Primary Care for South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
In 2002, he returned to Los Angeles to be close to family and joined Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. At Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, he served from 2002-2012 as the Chair for the Department of Medicine where he continued to do what he loved the most, which was teaching and training students, residents and serving as a mentor to faculty.
He was a national leader and served in numerous leadership roles in the Society of General Medicine (SGIM), as well as the American College of Physicians (ACP) where he served as Governor and as a member of the Board of Regents. He also served as the President of Association of Chairs and Chiefs of Internal Medicine (ACCM) and as Vice-President of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH).
Dr. Cope was an outstanding teacher and a role model for students, residents and faculty. As a testament to his commitment to teaching, he was the recipient of numerous regional and national prestigious teaching awards including Teacher of the Year (76), Award of Excellence in Education (1986) and Sherman Mellinkoff Award of Excellence in Teaching at UCLA (1994), Faculty Role Model Award (2003), VA First Place Hammer Team Award, National VA Award for Primary Care in 1998, and the Department of VA VISN 7 Network Special Achievement Award in 2001. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine.
Dr. Cope has influenced many physicians who will continue his mission and keep his memories alive. He has left a great legacy behind. His memories will be cherished by his students, residents and mentees. He will be missed by all who knew him.
--Soma Wali, MD, FACP
Chair of Medicine, Olive View-UCLA
Executive Vice Chair of Medicine for Affiliated Hospitals at UCLA
Professor of Clinical Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA