Dr. Joseph Cofer, of Chattanooga, has been elected lead of the American Board of Surgery, the national certifying board for general surgeons and related specialists.
Cofer is a general surgeon with University Surgical Associates who practices at Erlanger hospital. He is the first Chattanooga surgeon to head the 76-year-old doctors' group, the 28,000-member association that oversees the testing and certification of surgeons nationwide.
A native of Beckley, W. Va., Cofer grew up in Chattanooga, graduated from Georgia Tech and the University of Tennessee at Memphis and served as a naval flight surgeon. He completed his residency in Chattanooga and completed a fellowship in liver and kidney transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
In Chattanooga, he worked to create the community medical assistance program, "Project Access," which provides free medical care to low-income individuals. Cofer previously served as president of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery and as surgeon champion for the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program at Erlanger.