The American Board of Surgery (ABS), the national certifying body for
general surgeons and related specialists, welcomes Dr. Joseph B. Cofer
('78) as chair for 2013-2014. Dr. Cofer was elected to the ABS in 2007
as a representative of the Southeastern Surgical Congress. He currently
serves as professor of surgery and surgery residency program director at
the University of Tennessee College of Medicine (UTCOM) in Chattanooga.Dr. Cofer was born in Beckley, West Virginia, but grew up in Chattanooga. After obtaining his undergraduate degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Cofer completed his medical degree at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and then served in the U.S. Navy as a naval flight surgeon with Carrier Air Wing 15 in the Pacific Ocean. He completed his residency in general surgery at UTCOM Chattanooga and also completed a fellowship in liver and kidney transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. His clinical interests focus on general and hepatobiliary surgery. Earlier in his career, Dr. Cofer founded the liver transplant program at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Through the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, Dr. Cofer worked to create a community medical assistance program called "Project Access," which provides free medical care to low-income, uninsured residents. He remains involved in the program as a volunteer. Dr. Cofer is also extremely active in the surgical education community and has served as president of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery. He also serves as surgeon champion for the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program at Baroness Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.
About the ABS
The American Board of Surgery is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. Surgeons certified by the ABS have completed at least five years of surgical training following medical school and successfully completed a written and oral examination process administered by the ABS. They must then maintain their board certification through ongoing learning and practice improvement activities.
The ABS offers board certification in general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, surgery of the hand, hospice and palliative medicine, and complex general surgical oncology. It is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.