Hi and welcome. My name is Dr. Andrew Cook and I would like to take this opportunity to give you an overview of who I am and what Vital Health Endometriosis Center is about. Vital Health is my baby – I created it and it is my vision that has guided its development. But it is a lot more than what I do as a doctor and surgeon. The group of people at Vital Health are amazing. I am fortunate to come to work each day and treat patients with such a great team. Along with my services, patients have a whole group of superstars looking after them to help them get better. It is pretty cool!
I am 53 years old. It is hard to believe that time has passed so quickly and I have been in practice 19 years since finishing my 16 years of training (college, medical school, OB/GYN residency and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Fellowship). Most of the time that I have been practicing medicine, it has involved treating women with endometriosis and pelvic pain. This is a unique and challenging area of medicine. It is interesting how we all end up with our life story.
Quite frankly I did not always plan on treating women with endometriosis. I actually was going to teach Junior High School Science and did not change my major to pre-med until my fourth year of college. I had taken a Health and Disease class the fall of my senior year, found it fascinating and had stopped by the University of Colorado on my way home for Christmas break. I picked up a catalog for the CU School of Medicine. I remember reading through it thinking how much I wanted to do this. It just meant changing my major and spending what turned out to be two additional years of undergraduate, getting enough credits in the area of my major to graduate with honors (which I did in 1981 Magna Cum Laude).
My Dad and both brothers are mechanical engineers and my great uncle was a renowned physicist whose PhD project was developing the cyclotron (the atom smasher). I joke that I am the black sheep of the family since I was the only one to go into medicine. I was brought up in an environment where we were taught to look at a situation, understand the problem and come up with a solution, one that often required thinking outside of the box. It taught all of us, who were boys, innovative thinking (I have two brothers, I know – my poor Mom). This would serve me well later in life working with complex medical cases of pelvic pain and endometriosis.
Two other aspects from my childhood have been important in how I have developed as an adult and a physician. The first, which really has nothing to do with me as a person, is that I have always been very coordinated. My Mom said that this was the case ever since I was a little kid. I have noticed good eye-hand coordination and I think this is a very important talent for a good surgeon. I have worked very hard over the years to develop my surgical skills. I was known in residency training as the resident with some of the best surgical skills and was given the hardest, most technically challenging surgeries.
The second important thing from childhood was the non-conformity of my mother. As boys, we all had our rough and tough toys like any other boys, but my Mom also bought us dolls and had us play with them. I think she was a woman ahead of her time. She taught us care and compassion for people. Call me an idealist, but I believe in the good of people and the concept that if we all try to leave this earth a better place, we have done the right thing.
I believe that these factors have all come together to give me the necessary talents and skills to put together a unique medical practice that serves as a model for health care in general and specifically as an international treatment center for endometriosis and pelvic pain.
Come back for my next post to find out how the kid from small-town Evergreen, Colorado came to work with some of the leading doctors and surgeons in medicine and develop an international based medical practice.