- IU Southeast Distinguished Alumni Award (2021)
Born and raised in Jeffersonville, Dr. William Cooke is proud to have graduated from IU Southeast in 1994 before going on to graduate with honors from the IU School of Medicine in 2001 and the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital family medicine residency program in 2004. Specializing in family medicine, addiction medicine, and HIV medicine, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
In 2015, the area that Cooke serves in, Scott County, Indiana, became ground zero of the worst drug-related HIV outbreak in U.S. history. He spearheaded efforts to respond to the unprecedented health care disaster with rapid and effective action that dramatically reduced further transmissions of HIV. In fact, Scott County has become a model for the rest of the country by boasting the best HIV suppression rate in the state, with declining cases of hepatitis C and a surge of people in recovery.
Cooke has received multiple awards for his innovative approaches to addressing the needs of people in resource-poor communities. In 2016, he was named the Family Physician of the Year by the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians, he received the Doc Hollywood Award by the Indiana Rural Health Association for his service to rural Indiana, and he received the Indiana State Health Commission’s Award for Exceptional Public Health Service. Last year, he was named the Physician of the Year by the American Academy of Family Physicians. He also became the first physician to be given the Pillar of Excellence award by the Addiction Policy Forum, and he then joined the ranks of two former surgeon generals and former Olympic diver Greg Louganis when he was awarded the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award by the Center for AIDS and STD Prevention.
Cooke has written the forthcoming book, Canary in a Coal Mine, which details his experiences as the lone doctor working with the residents of a rural Southern Indiana town during a health care crisis of unparalleled proportions. He currently practices comprehensive family medicine in Austin, Indiana, where he lives with his wife and six children.