Extraordinary Woman: Dr. Jennifer Cook
Dr. Jennifer Cook has been an achiever from the beginning. A valedictorian in high school in her 400-person class in Great Falls, Virginia, Cook went on to graduate summa cum laude with a degree in engineering from the University of Michigan. She then earned a Medical Doctorate degree from both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through the two institutions’ joint Health Sciences and Technology Program. She was Chief Resident at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Program before completing the Insall Scott Kelly Fellowship in adult reconstruction and sports medicine in New York City.
Now 41, Cook has been practicing for the Florida Joint Care Institute in Trinity for nine years. Two years ago, she and her husband added their daughter Calleigh to the family.
Her calm demeanor comforts patients who are facing surgery, and her smile is bright enough to light up even the darkest room. Although she is quiet, she is not timid and when it comes to helping the 120 patients a week that she sees on average, she is confident and calm. When she is not in clinic, she can see up to 40 patients a day, sometimes operating on five or six cases a day. Her work load does not stop her from building a strong rapport with her patients and the rest of her office staff as well.
Cook also has been busy with two important initiatives. In November, 2009, Cook co-founded a nonprofit called Women Orthopaedic Global Outreach with a handful of other female orthopaedic surgeons, an organization that provides free orthopaedic surgery to women in underserved global communities to restore disabled joints. WOGO also trains in-country surgeons and other healthcare professionals in orthopedic skills and technologies.
She is also active with Florida Joint Care’s involvement with the Perry Institute, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and woman in engineering and orthopaedics. Cook is part of the team that does hands-on, day-long programs to introduce high school girls to the world of science, medicine and engineering.
Cook is also a two-time recipient of the prestigious Frist Humanitarian Award, which recognizes physicians who show outstanding volunteering and humanitarian involvement.
One of the things that Cook is excited about is the new patient care portal at the Florida Joint Care Institute in Trinity. Her patients now have the ability to manage their care online while also checking appointments, paying their bill, and communicating with the office staff. This is just one of the many exciting things happening for Dr. Cook and the Joint Care Institute in Trinity.
What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?
The secret to my family’s success is communication and doing activities together as a family.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear? That I will only live until age 100.
What is your proudest moment?
The day I delivered a beautiful healthy baby girl, Calleigh, was my proudest moment.
What is your biggest achievement?
Organizing a surgical mission trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, to do free knee replacement surgeries for needy patients was my biggest achievement.
What makes you happy?
Knowing I had a positive impact on a patient gives me great joy.
How do you relax and take time for yourself?
I love to exercise, travel, and read.
What kind of message would you like to give women in the area or in this community?
I would say my biggest piece of advice is this: Take care of yourself so that you in turn can take care of others.
What else would you like to share with our readers?
You can never have too much help!
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa Bay?
We love to visit Lowry Park Zoo!
Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?
Larry Dorr is the founder of Operation Walk. For over 25 years, he has spear headed numerous international trips around the world to provide free joint replacement surgeries to those in need. He also founded Operation Walk, USA which provides free surgeries to qualified patients in the United States. The impact of his work is immeasurable.