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NHLBI’s Dr. Nakela Cook Named PCORI’s New Executive Director


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has announced that Nakela Cook, MD, MPH, has been named its new Executive Director. Dr. Cook comes to PCORI from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), where she served as Chief of Staff to the NHLBI Director.

“On behalf of PCORI’s Board and staff, and the health care community we serve, I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Cook as our new Executive Director,”” said PCORI Board of Governors Chairperson Christine Goertz, DC, PhD in a press release. “Her deep experience in research, in managing a large and complex research enterprise, and her strong commitment to patient-centered research and clinical practice make her exactly the right person to lead PCORI at this time. She will be an excellent steward of the vital work we will do in the years ahead, as we partner with patients, clinicians, payers, employers and other stakeholders to improve the health and health care of the people of this country.”

Dr. Cook will oversee PCORI’s research, dissemination and implementation, and engagement work. She will also “provide strategic and day-to-day oversight of ongoing programs as well as new initiatives designed to create a health care system that is more efficient, effective and patient centered.”

Lenora E. Johnson, DrPH, MPH, Director of NHLBI’s Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education, and Communications, had high praise for Dr. Cook when announcing her departure from NHLBI. “She is highly respected for her distinctive talents and invaluable contributions to the NHLBI. Her transition is a great loss to our family but we are excited for her as she embarks on this new opportunity…Dr. Cook’s warmth, talent, dedication, and steadfast service to the NHLBI has had significant ripple effects throughout the Institute, and she will be missed by many.”


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continually seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.