Deborah J. Cook


Dr. Deborah Cook is a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. She is Academic Chair of Critical Care Medicine at McMaster University, and holds a Tier One Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation in the ICU. Dr. Cook practices critical care medicine at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Some of her studies have helped to develop and define evidence-based critical care medicine in Canada, informing best practice around the world. Her methodologic work has helped to improve the design, implementation and reporting of randomized trials. As a founding member of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group (CCCTG), Dr. Cook helped to create the world's first national ICU research consortium, emulated in many other countries.

Areas of Research Interest

Dr. Cook’s multi-method multi-disciplinary research interests are in improving the processes and outcomes of care for critically ill patients, tackling every-day problems in practice. Her interests are in patient and family centered care to alleviate the morbidity, mortality and suffering of critical illness for patients, families, healthcare systems and society. She collaborates widely and conducts research on fundamental complications of critical illness and optimal use of advanced life support. Dr. Cook is interested in the challenging ethical frontier of technology dependence at the end of life, developing the 3 Wishes Project, adopted in many hospitals around the world to elicit and implement personal wishes of dying patients to honour their dignity and celebrate their lives.


Dr. Cook obtained her MD at McMaster University (1985), and completed the Academic Internal Medicine Residency at McMaster University (1989). She pursued Critical Care Fellowship at Stanford University (1991), then the Master of Science Program in Design, Management, and Evaluation (now known as the Health Research Methodology program) at McMaster University (1991).


Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Thoracic Society (2013);
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (2021);
The Elizabeth Latimer Palliative Care Award (2015);
Patient and Family Engagement Awards (2019, 2020, 2021);
The Grenvic Ethics Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (2015);
The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare (2021);
From the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Dr. Cook received the Distinguished Lectureship Award in Critical Care (2017) and the Gold Leaf Award for Impact (2019);
Inducted as a Fellow into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society;
Appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada (2015);
The Gairdner Wightman Award (2022);

Current Research Projects

  • Randomized trial methods
  • Ethical protocol implementation
  • Research ethics
  • REVISE (Re-Evaluating the Inhibition of Stress Erosions in the ICU) Trial Investigator

Educational and Mentorship Activities

  • Dr. Cook is an active educator of residents and students in the ICU, trainees in McMaster University’s HRM Program, and critical care scholars in Canada and elsewhere. She has participated in the McMaster Evidence-based Health Care Workshop for many years. Her dedication to students, trainees and faculty has resulted in creation of the Deborah J. Cook Mentorship Award by the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. With Dr. Maureen Meade, Dr. Cook co-chairs the ACCADEMY group, focused on individual and community mentorship for interprofessional clinical scientists dedicated to critical care research.

Trainee Supervision

  • Dr Cook is currently supervising postdoctoral, doctoral and masters students within the Health Research Methodology Program at McMaster University.