Extraordinary Woman: Dr. Erin Cockrell


Dr. Cockrell is a pediatric hematologist and oncologist and director of the Hemophilia Treatment Center at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. A seemingly quiet, soft spoken doctor, when it comes to chatting with her patients she is incredibly outgoing. As she walks through the hospital’s halls, she high-fives patients in for treatment and remembers their names without needing a clipboard. She can recall fondly the patients that she formed a strong connection with, and the nurses all wave friendly hellos as she approaches.

Cockrell grew up in Northeast Ohio and graduated from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2000. Cockrell’s experience includes serving the children at Akron Children’s Hospital as a physician in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; as co-director of the Young Women’s Bleeding Disorder Clinic, and most recently as site director of Mahoning Hematology/Oncology Services. She has also served as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, and as Clinical Assistant Professors of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Cockrell has been married to her husband, Colin for 15 years and has three daughters, 10-year-old Josie, 8-year-old Sydney and 5-year-old Tessa.

She moved from Ohio to Tampa two years ago to start her career at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, which provides more acute medical and surgical pediatric care than all other hospitals in Tampa Bay and is Tampa’s only dedicated children’s hospital.

“Exchaning cold winters for Florida beaches was an easy choice for me,” Cockrell says. “And of course, my kids were beyond happy when they discovered we would be living so close to Disney World.”

Dr. Cockrell’s clinical interests include bleeding and clotting disorders and adolescent and young adult oncology. She is a member of the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Society, American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network, Children’s Oncology Group, and American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

What is your biggest fear?
Not setting a good example for others, especially my girls. I want to inspire my children by what I do, the way my parents inspired me, and I would be really disappointed in myself if my children grow up and say that I cared more about my work than them.

What advice would you give to other women?
Do what makes you happy. Don’t settle. I can’t comprehend spending my life doing something that doesn’t fulfill me. Perhaps it’s a career, but it might also be something like volunteering your time, being involved in your church, or a happy. Just be sure whatever you spend your time doing makes you happy.

What is your proudest moment or biggest achievement?
I would definitely say what I’m most proud of is my family. My daughters give me so much joy. It’s a great feeling when i hear compliments about my girls being respectful, kind-heartened and compassionate people. Professionally, it’s knowing that I’ve made a difference in the lives of my patients and their families. It’s never easy to tell a parent their child has cancer, but I do my very best to help families deal with this difficult diagnosis. One of my former patience recently graduated from nursing school and he sent me an ot that said “I owe this big accomplishment to you and the otehr doctors and nurses who cared for me when I had cancer. You are the reason I am here today.” I’m so proud of him.

How do you relax and take time for yourself?
Going for a run or ding yoga always helps me relax. When I can find, time reading a good novel helps me unwind as well. And even though it’s not necessarily relaxing, spending time with my kids always helps me unwind.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa Bay?
We love spending time at the beach. There are so many beautiful beaches in the Tampa Bay area. Pass-a-Grille Beach is definitely one of our favorite places to visit. My girls also love going to Busch Gardens and the zoo.

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?
My mom was and still is my biggest role model. She was a nurse in an intensive care unit and then a hospice nurse. She instilled in me the notion taht as long as you know you did your best, then you can’t be disappointed in yourself. She has a strong faith in God, and helped me learn that as well. She made sure I knew the importance of treating otehrs the way I wish to be treated. And I’m grateful to both of my parents for showing me the value of having a hard work ethic. I’m also inspired on a daily basis by the strength and faith I see in my patients and their families. They are a shining example of the resilience of the human spirit, and the way they tackle a life-threatening illness with such courage and grace is inspiring.