Sanford Health welcomes Rachel Cooper, MD, to the pediatric hospital medicine team


Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota welcomes Rachel Cooper, MD, to the pediatric hospital medicine team at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. 

Dr. Cooper, a native Minnesotan, completed her undergraduate degree in French, Spanish and literary translation at New York University in New York City. She studied abroad in Paris and Buenos Aires and worked at various arts and media organizations prior to deciding she wanted to be a physician. 

While completing her pre-medical studies, she earned a Master of Science degree in Bioethics at Columbia University (CU) and volunteered as an EMT for CU’s ambulance service. During graduate school, she marshalled her language and translation skills to work as a medical interpreter for Spanish and French speaking patients at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Medical Centers (now part of the Mt. Sinai Hospital System).

Coming home to attend medical school at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Dr. Cooper got to study medicine in the very same classrooms and labs her mother had studied in decades earlier! She volunteered at the U of MN’s student-run, free clinic and served as the leader of the interpreter program there. She also served as the president of Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) at the U of MN. 

Having a longstanding interest in rural health and global medicine, she did internships in rural Wisconsin and rural France and was selected to participate in a surgical mission to an orphanage in Honduras and a fourth year rotation in Bocas del Toro, Panama, serving communities accessible only by canoe. With her background in bioethics, she also served on the hospital ethics committee.

Dr. Cooper completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin’s (UW) American Family Children’s Hospital as a member of the Global Health Track. She also earned recognition as a certified bilingual physician in French and Spanish. In Madison, Dr. Cooper also continued her scholarship in bioethics and served on UW’s robust Hospital Ethics Committee, participating in both policy advising and ethics consultations.

As a pediatric hospitalist, Dr. Cooper will be taking care of children of any age who require hospitalization as well as newborns in our Newborn Nursery and Special Care Nursery. She will also serve as a consultant for ER doctors and other providers who have particular concerns about pediatric patients and will collaborate with our OB/GYN colleagues on deliveries where there is risk to the newborn. Dr. Cooper is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP).

“Children are resilient and rarely need hospital care, however, when they do, it can be tremendously stressful for both the child and the family,” shared Dr. Cooper. “I consider it such a privilege to walk with families through these emotional times—whether they are bringing home a healthy newborn, entrusting us with the care of a sick baby, or staying in the hospital with an older child.”

When Dr. Cooper isn’t caring for little ones, she’s corralling her Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, Ripley, who makes friends wherever he goes, or trying to get him to make friends with her 20lb Maine Coon Cat, Gamma. She also loves to cook, ride horses, garden and work on crossword puzzles.