2022 Honorees


Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH – PCORI
Executive Director, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)

Dr. Cook is the Executive Director at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She is a cardiologist and health services researcher with a distinguished career leading key scientific initiatives engaging patients, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders at one of the nation’s largest public health research funders.

Cook leads PCORI’s research, dissemination and implementation, and engagement work as the organization enters its second decade of service to the nation. She also provides strategic and day-to-day oversight of ongoing programs as well as new initiatives designed to create a healthcare system that is more efficient, effective, and patient centered.

Prior to her current role, Cook served as Senior Scientific Officer and Chief of Staff at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the third largest institute of the National Institutes of Health, with a staff of 1,000 and an annual budget of over $3 billion.

There she spearheaded the development and implementation of NHLBI’s strategic plan and initiatives in precision medicine, data science, sickle cell disease, and women’s health with meaningful engagement of stakeholder groups.

Preceding her position as Chief of Staff, Cook was a Clinical Medical Officer in NHLBI’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences and an attending cardiologist at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. She has a bachelor of science degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham; earned her medical degree and master of public health in health care policy and management from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, respectively; and completed her clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Cook is also an alumna of the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.

Throughout her career, Cook has worked to enhance diversity and equity in research and care delivery and been a leader in efforts to reduce disparities in health access and outcomes. She has received numerous awards for her excellence in clinical teaching and mentorship as well as her leadership of complex scientific initiatives and programs.


Lisa Iezzoni, MD, MSc
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Iezzoni has spent more than three decades conducting health services research focusing on two primary areas:  risk adjustment methods for predicting cost and clinical outcomes of care; and health care experiences and outcomes of persons with disabilities.   After spending 16 years as Co-Director of Research in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Iezzoni joined the then Institute for Health Policy as Associate Director in 2006 and served as director of the newly-named Health Policy Research Center from 2009-2018.

Dr. Iezzoni has led numerous research grants with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Institutes of Health, the Health Care Financing Administration (now Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and other private foundations.  An internationally recognized expert in risk adjustment, she has edited Risk Adjustment for Measuring Health Care Outcomes, now in its fourth edition. Dr. Iezzoni began her disability research with a 1996 Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from RWJF, and the book summarizing this work, When Walking Fails: Mobility Impairments of Adults with Chronic Conditions, appeared in 2003.  Another book considering disability experiences more broadly, More Than Ramps: A Guide to Improving Health Care Quality and Access for People with Disabilities (coauthored with Bonnie L. O’Day), was published in 2006.  Dr. Iezzoni has also published numerous original articles, editorials, and commentaries in major medical and health services research journals.

Dr. Iezzoni speaks widely, and she has served on numerous committees and advisory boards of professional and governmental organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine, the National Quality Forum, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.  For the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, she served on the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (1994-2001) and Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020 (2008-2009).  She has served on the editorial boards of the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Journal of General Internal MedicineHealth AffairsMedical Care, Health Services Research, and the Disability and Health Journal, among others.  In 2000, Dr. Iezzoni was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Iezzoni also has a forthcoming book, entitled Making Their Days Happen: Personal Assistance Services Supporting People with Disability Living in Their Homes and Communities, to be published in Fall of 2021.