National Lightning Safety Council

Dr Mary Ann Cooper
Mary Ann Cooper, MD

Managing Director
African Centres for Lightning and Electromagnetics Network

Medical and Lightning Safety Specialist
National Lightning Safety Council

Mary Ann Cooper, MD, an emergency physician by training, is an international expert in lightning injuries and lightning injury prevention. She received her BS and MD from Michigan State University (1971, 1975) and trained in Emergency Medicine (EM) at the University of Cincinnati. As an early pioneer in emergency medicine, she helped design training and accreditation standards in emergency medicine and served on the governing boards of several national EM organizations and as an Oral Board Examiner for more than a decade.

She has received numerous awards from both the medical and lightning communities and in 2003, was the first physician to be awarded a fellowship from the American Meteorological Society. In 2014, she was awarded the International Conference on Lightning Protection Scientific Committee’s Award for ‘outstanding contribution to lightning science by research or teaching’. She has served as a trainer for NOAA’s National Weather Service, given hundreds of media interviews worldwide on lightning and lightning injury prevention, and served as an invited expert at international lightning protection conferences. She has served as a Board Member of the Lightning and Electrical Shock Survivors, International, support group for over 30 years.

Dr. Cooper was awarded Professor Emerita on retirement from the University of Illinois but continues working internationally to mentor young lightning scientists, research and prevent lightning injuries, educate and raise awareness of lightning safety. She is the Managing Director of the African Centres for Lightning and Electromagnetics Network (, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from lightning across Africa and is active internationally with many other lightning safety programs around the world.

A short interview with Dr. Cooper