National Kidney Foundation Appoints David J. Cook to Board of Directors

Highly Respected Physician Leader with Decades of Healthcare Services Design Expertise

June 30, 2021—New York, NY — The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is pleased to announce the appointment of David J. Cook, M.D., MHA, FAHA to its national Board of Directors. 

Dr. Cook brings over 27 years of extensive health administration experience and is currently the Senior Vice President of OptumLabs at UnitedHealth Group responsible for helping lead organizational efforts in diabetes and kidney disease. He is also responsible for supporting the development of enterprise strategy on healthcare services design and innovation that can inform future care and payment models. 

“We’re excited for Dr. Cook to join the national board to share his extensive experience in health administration,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant recipient. “Kidney disease is a public health crisis affecting 37 million adults in the U.S. and continues to worsen each day due to COVID-19 contributing to an increase in kidney disease. Cook’s insight regarding the future direction of healthcare delivery will be critical as we continue addressing inequities in healthcare and seeking innovative strategies that allow us to help as many people fighting this disease as possible.”

Dr. Cook began his career at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation for Education and Research where he was both a Professor Emeritus for the Mayo Medical School and an anesthesiologist-intensivist with an appointment in the Section of Systems Engineering. He went on to become the Chief Clinical Officer at Jiahui Health in Shanghai, China overseeing the development and opening of an integrated, multisite medical system. From strategic planning and phasing, to the development of clinical operations at ambulatory and hospital locations, Dr. Cook and his team drove innovation, technology development, and investment strategy as well as explored pan-pacific partnerships on behalf of the company.

“For two decades of ICU practice, and having lost my father to kidney disease, I have seen firsthand the devastating impact kidney disease and end stage renal failure have on patients and their families,” said Dr. David J. Cook, Vice President of OptumLabs. “I’m honored to join the National Kidney Foundation Board of Directors and look forward to helping support the organization’s mission of preventing and treating kidney disease.” 

Dr. Cook’s impressive background also includes presentations at the World Economic Forum, with The New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst, the American College of Health Care Executives, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the National Health Service (NHS) Innovation Conference, and at the National Press Club. 

Cook is a Fellow of the American Heart Association and received a Master of Health Administration from the University of Minnesota. 

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are almost 4 times more likely than Whites to have kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have kidney failure.

Approximately 785,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 555,000 of these patients receive dialysis to replace kidney function and 230,000 live with a transplant.  Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now.  Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.

About the National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit