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Release: Immediate

Cook named director of UI Center for International Rural and Environmental Health

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Thomas Cook, UI professor of preventive medicine and environmental health and physical therapy, has been appointed as the new director of the Center for International Rural and Environmental Health (CIREH).

As the director of CIREH, Cook will take over as the principal investigator for the remaining three years of a five-year, $850,000 Fogarty grant that focuses on training for rural and environmental health in Central and Eastern Europe, in addition to other administrative responsibilities of CIREH.

"I am looking forward to expanding the activities of the program with Dr. Cook," said Robin Ungar, CIREH associate director. "He has new ideas, and we have the potential for creating new programs, being more involved internationally and creating opportunities for students to participate in international research and internships."

Cook holds advanced degrees in physical therapy, biomedical engineering and industrial engineering. He also directs the biomechanics and ergonomics facility on the Oakdale Research Campus.

Cook has written or collaborated on more than 70 scientific papers as well as several chapters and books. He has also served as a consultant to more than 50 companies, labor organizations and government agencies in various countries.

His current field research activities are in the areas of musculoskeletal disorders within the newspaper, construction, and meat-packing industries. He is also involved in projects on work-related musculoskeletal disorders in several former Soviet countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

CIREH was established in 1989 as a focal point for international health issues. Its mission is to "foster interdisciplinary, rural and environmental research into the causes, consequences, and prevention of communication, chronic, environmental and occupational diseases in countries with substantial agrarian economies."

Cook succeeds Burton Kross, the director of CIREH since 1992 who resigned in fall 1998.

CIREH is part of International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.