Meet Interventional Cardiologist John Cox, DO, Heart Program Founder

 John Cox, DO, ’74 ΒΘΠ

How did Westminster help you find your purpose? I am grateful to Westminster for giving me my scholarship and start in life. My dad was a mechanic, and I would have had a hard time going to college had it not been for that scholarship. I truly believe that had it not been for that scholarship and the wonderful education I received at Westminster, my life as a cardiologist would not have happened.

What was your major at Westminster? Biology. I graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Where did you go to medical school? I graduated from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (now A.T. Still University) in 1978.

Residency/Fellowship? I went on to an internal medicine residency and a cardiology fellowship, finishing in 1983 at Riverside Hospital in Trenton, MI.  

Where do you live? Joplin, MO.

What are some highlights from your career as an interventional cardiologist? I came to Freeman Health System in 1988. Initially I practiced in Columbia, MO, and Sedalia, MO. I started the heart program at Freeman and have been Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and Chief of Staff. I was director of the cardiac catheterization lab until 2005. It is now the fifth-largest heart program in Missouri. I have published in multiple medical journals and am on the board of Freeman Health System. I am a professor of internal medicine and cardiology at the Kansas City University School of Medicine and Biosciences. As an interventional cardiologist, I was the first in the area to perform multiple different cardiac procedures.

Favorite Westminster professors? Drs. Doug Fickess and Howard Hind.

What organizations outside of work do you belong to? I am a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

Family? My greatest joy has been my 42-year marriage to my wife, Vickie, and being the father to four great children.

Cox and his wife, Vickie, developed the concept for the Windows of Inspiration that are located in the walkway between the Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute and Freeman Intensive Care Unit, where Cox practices in Joplin, MO. The couple donated two of the window panels in memory of loved ones. Cox founded the heart program at Freeman Health System.

What do you do in your free time? I like to do adventure travel. I have summited Mount Kilimanjaro, and with my wife, the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and the Salkantay Pass in Peru. I also have participated in medical missions to Africa, Brazil, and Nicaragua.


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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.

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