- IU Southeast Distinguished Alumni Award (2020)
Born and raised in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Dr. William Cooke graduated from IU Southeast in 1994 before going on to graduate with honors from IU School of Medicine in 2001 and the Ball Memorial Family Medicine residency in 2004. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine specializing in Family Medicine, Addiction Medicine, and HIV Medicine.
In 2015, the area in which Cooke serves in Scott County, Indiana, became ground zero to the worst drug-related HIV outbreak in U.S. history. He spearheaded efforts to respond to the unprecedented healthcare 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, declining cases of Hepatitis C, and an explosion of people in recovery. His book "Canary in the Coal Mine" details these experiences.
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 also 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, being awarded the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award by the Center for AIDS and STD Prevention. He serves on the Community Advisory Board at IU focused on one of IU's Grand Challenges: Responding to the Addiction Crisis.
Dr. Cooke currently practices comprehensive family medicine in rural Austin, Indiana, where he lives with his wife and six children.
In 2020, he was awarded the IU Southeast Distinguished Alumni Award.