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Obituaries

Peter Kopelman: medical academic, educator, and obesity medicine expert

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1924 (Published 03 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1924
  1. Penny Warren
  1. London, UK
  1. warrenpenny788{at}gmail.com
Credit: University of London

Peter Kopelman, who has died aged 70, rose from being a medical student at St George’s Hospital in London to become its principal, and made a prodigious contribution to obesity medicine and medical education. He was interim vice chancellor of the University of London in 2018-19. The role encompassed managing 17 member institutions and a huge overseas distance learning programme, as well as engaging with all kinds of situations—from a strike by cleaning staff to visits from royalty and billionaire donors. He took it all in his stride. Bill Abraham, the university’s director of development said: “Peter could master a brief and know what questions to ask; he put people at their ease and had great credibility and respect. He was magnificent.”

Early life and medical training

Born on 23 June 1951, Kopelman grew up in Epping, Essex, with his elder brother Michael (later a professor of neuropsychiatry). Their father, Harry, was a consultant physician, and their mother, Joan (“Hazel”), a nursing sister who later …

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