Charles L. Roper, MD
Charles L. Roper, MD, HS ’59 is an emeritus professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine recognized as an outstanding teacher and busy cardiothoracic surgeon for more than 40 years.
Colleagues describe Roper as a dedicated physician, teacher, and role model whose impact on medical students, house staff, fellows, and patients during his long and distinguished career has been monumental. An active member of the Department of Surgery, Roper participated in the curriculum of medical students, house officer and fellows, and also contributed to continuing education presentations. Those who benefited from his mentorship say he taught not only surgical skills, but grace, compassion and dignity.
He was on staff at Barnes Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, John Cochran Veteran’s Administration Hospital, St. Louis Regional Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital. Among his many achievements was reinstituting thoracic surgery at Ellis Fischel State Cancer Center in Columbia, Mo. in 1962. He became an emeritus professor in 1994 and continues to be a valued mentor and sounding board on difficult surgical cases.
Roper is a past president of the Barnes Hospital Society and the St. Louis Thoracic Surgical Society and is a member of the Alumni Counsel. His distinguished academic career yielded 58 peer-reviewed publications, and he has served on the editorial boards of several prestigious journals.
After serving three years in the U.S. Army with service in Europe as an infantryman, Roper returned to Colorado College to finish his bachelor’s degree, and graduated in 1949. He received his medical degree from the University of Colorado in 1953. He interned at St. Louis County Hospital and then came to Barnes Hospital to complete his general surgery residency and cardiothoracic fellowship. He became a Washington University faculty member in 1959.
Early in his surgical career, Roper teamed with Dr. Joseph Ogura to become the first to perform total reconstruction procedures in patients who had developed irreversible stenosis of the esophagus, combined with stricture of the pharynx, epiglottis and cricopharyngeal pinch cock. With this procedure, these patients faced with lifelong gastrostomy tube feedings were now able to resume oral nutrition.
The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Resident/Fellow Alumni Achievement Award to Dr. Roper.