Philadelphia, PA, January 26, 2030 – The American Heart Association, the largest voluntary health organization fighting cardiovascular diseases, announces Paul J. Mather, MD, as the 2023 recipient of the Edward. S. Cooper, MD Award. 

The award is named for Dr. Edward S. Cooper, a world-renowned physician and a pioneer in hypertension and stroke, and the first African American to serve as national president of the American Heart Association. Edward S. Cooper, MD, is an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Cooper served the American Heart Association for 30 years. Dr. Cooper helped to address the special health care needs of people of color. He emphasized preventive health care and health education for minorities, who are six times more likely to die from heart disease than white Americans. As a member of an under-represented group of Americans in the healthcare profession, he actively recruited other minorities to the medical field. 

The Edward S. Cooper, M.D. Award is presented by the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania to a researcher, medical professional, or organization whose many outstanding contributions to the Philadelphia community exemplify the best of humankind. 

“I am very grateful and honored to receive an award named after one of my heroes Dr. Edward Cooper. Dr. Cooper has taught us that a good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge,” said Dr. Mather. 

Dr. Paul J. Mather is a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a director of faculty development for the division, and a Physician Leader of Heart Failure Disease Management at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his medical degree from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. 

Dr. Mather has been an instrumental volunteer for the American Heart Association and a champion for heart health and has served in leadership roles as local board president in Greater Philadelphia and regional board president for the former Great Rivers Affiliate.  

He first volunteered with the Association because he was grateful the organization had funded his research as a young investigator in 1993. He also believed in the Association’s public health mission.   

In 2018, Dr. Mather spearheaded an effort at a West Philadelphia church to address social determinants of health – conditions where people live, learn, work, and play that affect their health risks and outcomes. Prior to that, he also led efforts to bring blood pressure screenings sees patients, many of whom have heart failure or have received a heart transplant.  

Dr. Mather joins a group of changemakers who have received this honor in the past: 

  • Dr. Kenneth Margulies, 2022
  • Dr. Deborah Crabbe, 2021
  • W.W. Smith Charitable Trust, 2020 
  • Dr. Steven Houser, 2019 
  • Dr. Robert H. Rosenwasser, 2018 
  • Dr. Thomas L. Spray, 2017 
  • Dr. Mariell Jessup, 2016 
  • Dr. Peter R. Kowey, 2015 
  • Dr. Morris Kotler, 2014 
  • Dr. Victoria L. Vetter, 2013 
  • Dr. Howard H. Weitz, 2012 
  • Dr. Andrew Wechsler, 2011 
  • Dr. William S. Frankl, 2010 
  • Dr. John W. Hirshfeld, 2009 

Each year the award is presented at the American Heart Association’s Annual Heart Ball, and the recipient is honored during the event. The 66th Philadelphia Heart Ball will be held at the Philadelphia Marriot Downtown on April 21, 2023. 


About the Heart of Philadelphia/Heart Ball Campaign
Together, we are relentlessly focused on the heart of our community. Through the Heart of Philadelphia Heart Ball campaign, we celebrate our collective success in driving change, funding science, and improving behaviors – no matter where or how we gather. That means taking our efforts beyond the ballroom, working every day to help every heart.

In more than 150 communities across the country, Heart Ball supporters unite with a shared purpose to raise the critical funds we need to ensure our work continues. Throughout our campaign, we celebrate our milestones, we thank our sponsors, and we honor our heroes. We come together to achieve something bigger than ourselves. We live fierce and fight for all. To learn more about the Heart Ball, please contact: Sadie Macklem at   

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries:  
American Heart Association, Philadelphia
Kerry Johnston, Senior Marketing & Communications Director  | American Heart Association Blog:
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