Andrea J. Cook, PhD

“National interest in using data to improve patient care and safety is growing. Our group is developing the biostatistical methods for that work.”

Andrea J. Cook, PhD

Group Health Research Institute Associate Investigator


Dr. Andrea Cook understands that leveraging available data such as electronic health records is vital if we want to efficiently address important public health questions and improve the overall health of our population. Dr. Cook uses her biostatistics expertise to develop research methods using existing health care system and electronic health data. Her methods are used in major initiatives for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She has worked on numerous studies in areas including hypertension control, cancer screening, renal disease therapies, and alternative medicine for pain.

Dr. Cook is studying how pragmatic clinical trials, which are conducted under real-world conditions in health care organizations such as Group Health, can deliver more effective care and improve patient outcomes. She is a lead biostatistician for the Biostatistics and Design Core of the NIH Collaboratory, which facilitates the implementation of pragmatic clinical trials. Dr. Cook addresses the numerous statistical challenges of pragmatic clinical trials including how to design studies to answer research questions without impeding the delivery of care and how to use electronic health records for more cost-effective studies. The goal of Dr. Cook’s research is finding interventions that improve patient care.   

Dr. Cook also studies how to use electronic medical data to improve the way we monitor the safety of new medical products including vaccines, drugs, and medical devices. She contributes to the FDA Sentinel Initiative and the CDC Vaccine Safety Datalink with GHRI colleagues including Director of Biostatistics Jennifer Nelson, PhD, and Robert Wellman, MS, and colleagues from the University of Washington and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cook has led the development of new statistical methods for actively monitoring medical products for rare adverse events using distributed data networks.

Dr. Cook obtained her PhD in 2005 from the Biostatistics department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is a member of the American Statistical Association, the Western North American Region of the International Biometric Society, and an affiliate associate professor in biostatistics at the University of Washington.

Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Balderson BH, Cook AJ, Anderson ML, Hawkes RJ, Hansen KE, Turner JA. Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction vs cognitive behavioral therapy or usual care on back pain and functional limitations in adults with chronic low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2016 Mar 22-29;315(12):1240-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.2323. PubMed

Xu S, Shetterly S, Cook AJ, Raebel MA, Goonesekera S, Shoaibi A, Roy J, Fireman B. Evaluation of propensity scores, disease risk scores, and regression in confounder adjustment for the safety of emerging treatment with group sequential monitoring. LID - 10.1002/pds.3983 [doi] Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2016 Feb 15. doi: 10.1002/pds.3983 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Drewnowski A, Aggarwal A, Cook A, Stewart O, Moudon AV. Drewnowski et al. respond. Prev Med. 2016 Feb 5. pii: S0091-7435(16)00038-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.01.024. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Drewnowski A, Aggarwal A, Cook A, Stewart O, Moudon AV. Geographic disparities in healthy eating index scores (HEI-2005 and 2010) by residential property values: findings from Seattle Obesity Study (SOS). Prev Med. 2015 Dec 3. pii: S0091-7435(15)00357-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.11.021. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed


News release

Mindfulness meditation eases chronic low back pain

March 22, 2016—JAMA publishes randomized controlled trial by Group Health researchers, comparing mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and usual care for back pain.
Read it in News and Events.



Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain

(JAMA Network, 2:26)


GHRI In the Media

Mindfulness meditation eases chronic low back pain

Mind-based therapies may ease lower back pain

New York Times, March 22, 2016

Healthy Communities

What if a street map could show how healthily people eat?

UW and GHRI researchers have come up with innovative maps that illustrate the link between wealth accumulation and diet quality. 

Vaccine Safety

Vaccine Safety Datalink