Dr. Nakela Cook is the chief of staff in the Immediate Office of the Director (IOD) of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Dr. Cook provides institutional leadership to support the NHLBI Director, serves as his liaison to senior officials within and outside of the Institute, and provides oversight to the support operations of the IOD. Additionally, she provides institutional leadership to catalyze multi-disciplinary activities initiated by the NHLBI director. As such, she provides direct leadership for the strategic direction of the women’s health research agenda at NHLBI and serves as a spokesperson related to the health of women for the Institute.

Prior to her appointment as chief of staff, Dr. Cook served as a medical officer in the Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the NHLBI. Her work in the Division involved outcomes research, epidemiology, and clinical trials. Dr. Cook’s research portfolio includes comparative effectiveness research, cardiovascular imaging, racial/ethnic and sex/gender disparities in cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular health services research.

Dr. Cook is board certified in cardiology. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School, and clinical training in primary care/internal medicine and cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Cook completed a fellowship in Health Services Research at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is also an alumnus of the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy and completed her Masters of Public Health with a concentration in health care policy as part of this fellowship.