Robert E. Cooke, M.D.
November 13, 1920 — February 2, 2014
Dr. Robert E. Cooke, the Johns Hopkins pediatrician who chaired a panel of experts charged with designing and implementing Head Start, passed away Feb. 2 at his home on Martha’s Vineyard.
Cooke, who became a close friend to Eunice and Sargent Shriver through his work to improve the lives of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, worked closely with presidents Kennedy and Johnson to form many policies and programs related to early childhood development. Many of those programs still exist today, Head Start and the National Institute for Child Health at NIH among them, enriching the lives of millions of children and their families.
Driven by a commitment to his own children, two of whom had cru di chat (cry of the cat) syndrome, Dr. Cooke’s profound legacy includes groundbreaking medical research and visionary academic leadership as well as innovative public policy.