Chad Cook, PT, PhD

Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery, Division of Physical Therapy

Dr. Cook is a musculoskeletal clinical researcher with foci in diagnosis, interventions, and outcomes assessment. As a productive researcher, he has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers and has an H index of 37. His earlier work involved the validation of outcomes measures including item response theory. Dr. Cook has completed a number of studies investigating commonly used tests and measures for orthopedic diagnoses. Recent investigations have included trials designed to investigate the effectiveness of manual therapy-based interventions of the spine and shoulder. His work has led to international recognition and collaborations in numerous countries.

Dr. Cook is a past recipient of the OPTP/JMMT publication award (2003, 2005), the AAOMPT/Dick Erhard Excellence in Research Award (2011, 2012), the Helen May Bradley Career Achievement Award-Maryville University (2007), the J Warren Perry Distinguished Author Award (2005), the 2012 APTA Dorothy Briggs Memorial Scientific Inquiry Award (co-author), and was a Williams Evans Research Fellow, the University of Otago in 2012 and a University of Newcastle, Australia, Research Fellow in 2015.

Dr. Cook is the Director of the Duke Center of Excellence in Manual and Manipulative Therapy.

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Current Projects

  • The Role of Opioids in patients with Femoroacetabular Impingement (funded by DoD)

  • Differences in total claims paid and patient outcomes when a patient with spine pain sees either a physical therapist first or a medical physician (funded by MITRE)

  • Predictors of positive outcomes at two years for patients receiving lumbar fusion surgery (funded by CDLR-NIH)

Selected Publications & Grants



  • Improving Veteran Access To Integrated Management of Chronic Back Pain (AIM Back) (Investigator), awarded by National Institutes of Health, administered by Duke Clinical Research Institute, 2017-2024 More info
  • Can an intervention aimed at patient education, engagement, and cognitive restructuring improve functional outcomes and well-being for patients with rotator cuff related shoulder pain? A Pragmatic Randomized Clinical Trial (Principal Investigator), awarded by ORTHOPAEDIC SECTION, administered by Orthopaedics, Physical Therapy, 2018-2023 More info
  • Force-Based Manipulations Research Network (Principal Investigator), awarded by University of Alabama at Birmingham, administered by Orthopaedics, Physical Therapy, 2022-2023 More info
  • Influence of Rehabilitation After Ankle Injuries in Active Duty Service Members: The Impact of Timing and Dosing on Downstream Healthcare Utilization Costs (Principal Investigator), awarded by The Geneva Foundation, administered by Orthopaedics, Physical Therapy, 2018-2019 More info
  • Physical Therapy Clinical Educators' Perceptions and Experiences of Clinical Prediction Rules (Principal Investigator), awarded by American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, administered by Orthopaedics, Physical Therapy, 2015-2017 More info
  • The influence of variations in hospital-level discharge settings on 30-day readmission rates among older adults receiving lumbar spinal fusion surgery (Principal Investigator), awarded by University of Texas Medical Branch, administered by Orthopaedics, Physical Therapy, 2016-2017 More info


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