By Amy Guckeen Tolson, USAG Redstone April 23, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (April 23, 2014) -- Nurse practitioner Dr. Cindy Cooke is taking her passion for patient care to the next level -- as future president.
Cooke, family nurse practitioner at Fox Army Health Center, has been elected president elect of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, or AANP. Her term of office begins June 21.
The national association represents the approximately 189,000 nurse practitioners in the United States, of which about 50,000 are members, and advocates for them to be "providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care." In her new role as president, Cooke will head the organization's board of directors, work on behalf of nurse practitioners across the country and serve as their spokesperson.
"I believe very much in the model of health care that we are providing in the patient centered medical home. I just see it as an avenue that I'm very passionate about," Cooke said. "I enjoy patient care and I see this as a way that I can impact change because our health care system is kind of broken. We need to follow a better wellness model. It's not just about health care; it's working with communities to have better, healthy options, with food and exercise."
A nurse practitioner for 15 of her nearly 39 years as a registered nurse, Cooke received her master of science in nursing degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, with her doctorate of nursing practice from The University of Alabama Birmingham, in which she has a focus on health literacy. Employed at Fox for the past 11 years, Cooke enjoys working for the military, which allows her to practice to the full scope of her education. Only 17 states and the District of Columbia give nurse practitioners full practice authority.
"I really enjoy the partnership and working with patients to help them live their lives to the fullest in the healthiest way that they can," Cooke said. "We diagnose, we treat, we evaluate, we order lab testing and radiology results, but we also collaborate with other primary care providers, as well as specialists every day. No one is a silo. No one person can take care of everything. It's a big family taking care of each other.
"Here at Fox we are very blessed, because we not only have primary care providers, but a dietitian, behavioral health and Pharm D, these are all people we collaborate with who can help us take care of every aspect of the patient, from the physical to their emotional well-being and diet, which all plays a part in keeping people healthy."
Prior to her election as president, Cooke served AANP as the state representative for Alabama, Region 11 director and recording secretary. She is also the past president of the North Alabama Nurse Practitioners Association and founding president of the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama.
Fox Army Health Center staff members are proud to call her one of their own.
"Dr. Cooke's selection as AANP president demonstrates her commitment to the nurse practitioner profession, medical excellence and to ensuring that Fox beneficiaries receive safe and quality care every day," Fox commander Col. William Darby said.