With more than 20 years of experience in orthopedics, Dr. David Cook brings a high level of experience and expertise to his practice at Tanner Clinic.
A graduate of the University of Utah, Dr. Cook continued his education at the prestigious Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, where he ranked First in Class. He followed up with a residency at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, earning the position of Administrative Chief Resident. He is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.
In addition to his time with patients, he serves as Tanner Clinic’s Medical Director of Quality and Efficiency, supporting the clinic as it adapts to health-care reform. He’s also been appointed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to serve as a member of the Utah Physicians’ Licensing Board.
After years as a surgeon, Dr. Cook has focused his practice on non-operative orthopedic care and management in such areas as sports medicine, arthritis, tendonitis, rotator cuff problems, trigger finger, sprains and fractures not requiring surgery.
He counts reading, writing, camping and fishing among his favorite activities, with a good helping of Dutch-oven cooking.
When Dr. Cook isn’t seeing patients, you may find him swimming and training for the Utah Summer Games with his daughter. So far, he has set personal and age-group records at the events each year.
This year, Dr. Cook won 11 events and set a new summer games record for his age group in the 50 Meter Freestyle. His daughter didn’t get to go with him this year because of “just being married, having a new job, and going to summer semester at Weber. She’s still exercising every day though, running and biking,” he says.
On Sept. 12 Dr. Cook, his daughter Heidi, her husband Carson competed in the Bear Lake Brawl Sprint Triathlon. He and Heidi took first place in their age groups and Carson took second in his.
In 2014, Dr. Cook and his daughter competed in the Utah Summer Games together. “It was a great daddy-daughter activity,” he said. She won 7 medals and he won 10.
Dr. David Cook, a specialist in non-operative orthopedics at Tanner Clinic, recently took his own advice — he changed his lifestyle and lost a bunch of weight.
That’s the one preventive measure he’d recommend to his patients: Exercise regularly and watch the scale.
“They’d just feel a lot better,” he says. Helping patients feel better is Dr. Cook’s specialty, though he goes about it in a new fashion: He specializes in treating orthopedic ailments without resorting to surgery.
Dr. Cook’s own lifestyle changes began in 2011 with a visit to his doctor. His symptoms included dangerously high triglycerides, as well as high levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. “I was getting what’s called metabolic syndrome, which is common in overweight, middle-aged men,” he says. When his doctor recommended he start on medications, Dr. Cook’s answer was “Give me three months to see what I can do with diet and exercise.”
Lifestyle change for better health
After a lifestyle change that now includes exercising 30 to 60 minutes five days a week and a scaled-down diet, Dr. Cook’s blood pressure and cholesterol are at normal levels.
Now, he says, echoing what he’s heard from plenty of patients, “The challenge is maintenance, which in its own way is just as hard.”
Dr. Cook has carved a niche for himself in an emerging specialty — that of non-operative, or non-surgical orthopedics. Nearly 90 percent of patients with an orthopedic ailment can recover without surgery, he says. And if patients can recover without being wheeled into an operating room, they avoid the risks of surgery and shorten their recovery time.
Shoulder separations and fractures are among the most common orthopedic ailments that mend without surgery. However, he says, “I see a lot of patients who strain their knees and think they need an operation.”
Alternatives to surgery
Dr. Cook’s focus on non-operative care of orthopedic issues increases the effectiveness of Tanner Clinic’s five orthopedic surgeons. When surgery is recommended for a patient, he says, “I can get them quickly to the appropriate surgeon, probably more quickly and efficiently than they could on their own.”
More and more clinics nationwide are seeking out non-operative orthopedists because the specialty makes their surgeons more efficient
That’s also a role Dr. Cook serves as Tanner Clinic’s Medical Director of Quality and Efficiency, a new assignment focusing on aligning the clinic with upcoming requirements of health-care reform. In this capacity, he says, “We’re better able to keep track of what patients need and get them in to get it done.”
He adds, “I see my job as increasing the value of health care — defining value as the ratio of quality to cost, by increasing quality and decreasing cost.”
With his shift to a healthier lifestyle, Dr. Cook has scaled back one of his passions: Dutch-oven cooking. Among his specialties (or as least what his children request) are barbecue ribs, chicken wings and gooey-delicious apple cinnamon rolls. Unfortunately, he adds, “You’ve got to be rational.” Dutch-oven meals these days are “fewer and farther in between.”
Good thing he can turn to his other off-duty pastimes of reading, camping and fishing.
What do you do if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle, but your children beg you to make those yummy Dutch oven cinnamon rolls? According to Dr. David Cook, make the treats, but do it rarely.
So here’s Dr. Cook’s recipe for Apple Cinnamon Rolls (to be used sparingly):
“Chop up the apples. Make a cinnamon-sugar mixture, then spread it on the bottom of the Dutch oven on tinfoil. Place premade frozen cinnamon rolls on top. After they bake, you turn the Dutch oven over like this and drizzle a glaze over it, so the apples and glaze are on top, and the glaze sort of melts all over the apples …”
Among the official taste tasters for Dr. Cook’s cinnamon rolls are his grandkids: