Robert A. Cook

Program Director, Conservation
Program Director, Basic Medical Research

Dr. Bob Cook is the Program Director of the Conservation Program and the Basic Medical Research Program at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. 

Bob joined Helmsley from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), where he spent many years and, from 2007 to 2012, served as the General Director and Executive Vice President, responsible for the operations of the Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park Zoos; the New York Aquarium; and the WCS flagship Bronx Zoo. In addition, he directed staff leaders in Health, Education, Species Conservation, and Exhibit Design, who were active both in New York and around the world. Earlier in his career at WCS, Bob was the Chief Veterinarian and Vice President of Wildlife Health, overseeing the healthcare of some 1,300 species of animals at the five New York zoological parks and conservation health programs around the globe. During his tenure, Bob worked with staff to develop a number of innovative health programs including the establishment of the wildlife clinics at the city zoos and the aquarium, the first Field Veterinary Program, and the One World-One Health policy initiative.  

Bob serves as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, having taught classes in sustainability management and environmental policy. He is also the Science Advisor to the Mayday Fund, a family philanthropic foundation dedicated to the alleviation of human physical pain. Bob has extensive policy experience and has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific and lay publications, mentored students and staff, and given hundreds of lectures and presentations. 

Bob received his Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University, attained his Veterinary Medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania  School of Veterinary Medicine, and received his Executive Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.