Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH
Nakela L. Cook, M.D., MPH, is the executive director at PCORI. She is a cardiologist and health services researcher with a distinguished career leading key scientific initiatives engaging patients, clinicians and other health care stakeholders at some of the nation’s largest health research funders.
Cook leads PCORI’s research, engagement, dissemination and implementation, and research infrastructure development work. She also provides oversight to a growing number of programs and initiatives designed to create a more efficient, effective, equitable and patient-centered system of health. Under her leadership, and with extensive engagement of stakeholders, PCORI established a bold strategic vision to address the challenges, including social determinants of health, facing patients and communities in our nation’s complex, fast-changing health system.
Prior to her current role, Cook served as senior scientific officer and chief of staff at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the third largest institute of the National Institutes of Health. At NHLBI, she spearheaded the development and implementation of its strategic plan as well as initiatives in cardiovascular outcomes, precision medicine, data science, sickle cell disease and women’s health.
Cook earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Public Health in health care policy and management from Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and is an alumna of the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.
Throughout her career, Cook has worked to enhance diversity and equity in research and care delivery and has been a leader in efforts to reduce disparities in health access and outcomes. She has received numerous awards for her excellence in clinical teaching and mentorship as well as her leadership of complex scientific initiatives and programs.
March 2023: Innovations and Initiatives: A Look Ahead at 2023
November 2022: Annual Meeting Highlights Essential PCORI Values
August 2022: PCORI’s Strategic Plan: What Is Next?
June 2022: Learning Drives Innovation in New PCORI Initiatives
February 2022: What Does 2022 Hold for PCORI and Our Stakeholders?
December 2021: Innovations in PCORI Application and Funding Processes Will Increase Clarity, Opportunities for Applicants
October 2021: Why Are PCORI's Stakeholders So Critical to Our Work?
June 2021: Pursuing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Transformation of Health Research Funding
January 2021: A Year of Challenge Brings a Wealth of Opportunity
PCORI's Mission to Help People Make Informed Healthcare Decisions
PCORI's Commitment to Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Cook Named 2020 Wenger Award Honoree
Conflicts of Interest
As of July 18, 2022
Financial or Business Associations:
- None reported.
- American Medical Association, Member, Self
- Association of Black Cardiologists, Member, Self
- American College of Cardiology, Fellow, Self
- American Heart Association, Fellow, Self
- National Clinical Scholars Program, Board Member, Self
- PCORI Staff