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

Cook AJ, Wellman RD, Cherkin DC, Kahn JR, Sherman KJ. Randomized clinical trial assessing if additional massage treatments for chronic neck pain improve 12 and 26 week outcomes. Spine J. 2015 Jun 18. pii: S1529-9430(15)00636-1. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2015.06.049. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rosenberg DE, Cook A, Gell NM, Lozano P, Grothaus L, Arterburn D. Relationships between sitting time and health indicators, costs, and utilization in older adults. Prev Med Rep. 2015 2:247-9. [Epub ahead of print].

Stratton KG, Cook AJ, Jackson LA, Nelson JC. Simulation study comparing exposure matching with regression adjustment in an observational safety setting with group sequential monitoring. Stat Med. 2015 Mar 30;34(7):1117-33. doi: 10.1002/sim.6398. Epub 2014 Dec 15. PubMed

Huang R, Moudon AV, Cook AJ, Drewnowski A. The spatial clustering of obesity: does the built environment matter? J Hum Nutr Diet. 2014 Oct 3. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12279 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed


healthy findings blog

A ‘booster dose’ of more massage helps reduce neck pain

Group Health and University of Vermont researchers find a longer treatment period is better for reducing dysfunction.

Vaccine Safety

Vaccine Safety Datalink