Gary L. Cook

by Jasmine Batchelor

August 21, 2020

President and Chief Executive Officer,
Direction Home Akron Canton

Mr. Cook has broad-based management experience and success at the strategic and operational levels in both non-profit and for-profit (Fortune 500) business sectors. At Direction Home Akron Canton, he has been responsible for the development and oversight of many new and innovative service areas and business lines. He has been instrumental in the development of formal business collaborations with Managed-Care Organizations (MCO) to provide comprehensive care management of both acute care and long-term care. This move to private sector partnerships has allowed Direction Home Akron Canton to expand long-term care management and other supportive services (the social determinants of health) to MCO members of all ages with physical or behavioral disabilities.

He is a widely known speaker nationally in the areas of management and aging services. In 2017, he was invited to appear as a guest panelist on POLITICO’s “Aging in America” broadcast in Washington D.C. convening experts and leading voices in the health care field for a conversation on aging and how to make Medicare, Medicaid and the delivery system for health care and long-term services more responsive to older patients with complex needs. Other recent appearances at national forums include panelist on the National Governor’s Association (NGA) National Roundtable in Boston, and a feature in American Society on Aging’s publication, Aging Today Sept.–Oct. 2017 edition on Direction Home. He has published several articles in the field of aging, most recently an article on Acute Care Transitions in Generations- Journal of the American Society on Aging, in 2013. He and his team from Direction Home were selected in 2017 by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) to represent the Aging and Disability network in the innovative Trailblazers Learning Collaborative (TLC). The TLC is a “think tank” to advance business acumen and readiness for next generation challenges in the design and development of comprehensive care systems through integrated medical and social supports.

In 2017, Mr. Cook was honored for his lifetime achievements with the 27th annual Judge Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award. The humanitarian award is named in memory of Akron Municipal Judge Harold K. Stubbs and recognizes individuals who have contributed in areas of social action, government, business, medicine and law. In 2018, Mr. Cook was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Gerontologist Award by the Coordinating Council of the Institute for Lifespan Development and Gerontology at the University of Akron for outstanding contributions to the field of aging.

Mr. Cook has an M.B.A. in Finance, an M.A. in Urban Studies/Public Administration, a B.A. in Political Science/Economics, and additional course work at Harvard Business School and the Disney Institute for Business Excellence.

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