Robert E. Cooke, MD Passes Away Feb 11, 2014

Robert E. Cooke, M.D., of Oak Bluffs, MA, died Sunday, February 2, 2014, at the age of 93. As medical advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, he was an architect of the Great Society program, Head Start, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the NIH, and the Kennedy-Krieger Institute, the world-renowned institution for children with developmental problems at Johns Hopkins University. He was also a medical advisor to the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, served on the Board of the International Special Olympics, and was a member of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research.

According to the New York Times, "Dr. Cooke was a professor of pediatrics and the pediatrician in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in the late 1950s when he began an association with Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of John F. Kennedy, then a senator from Massachusetts, and her husband, R. Sargent Shriver, whose interest in children with intellectual disabilities dovetailed with his own.

The father of two daughters with cri du chat syndrome, a chromosomal defect that results in profound developmental problems, Dr. Cooke became a close adviser to the Shrivers, who ran the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. Created as a memorial to Mrs. Shriver's oldest brother, who was killed in World War II, the foundation focused on improving the lives of those born with mental defects."