The Rocking Horse Community Health Center has hired Miami County Health Commissioner Chris Cook as its new CEO, the board of directors announced Wednesday.
Cook will fill the vacancy left by Dana Engle, who was hired as CEO of London’s Madison County Hospital last October. Cook begins his new duties on April 21.
“It’s kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity to come home and do something in the county that not only I’ve lived in my whole life, but that I’m raising my family in,” Cook said. “Rocking Horse has an incredible opportunity to do even more good in the community.”
Cook, a Springfield native, graduated from Kenton Ridge High School in 1996 and holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Wright State University. He served in several roles during his 12 years at the Miami County health district, including assistant health commissioner and director of emergency preparedness and response.
The Rocking Horse Center, 651 S. Limestone St., opened in 1999 to provide medical care to underserved children and had approximately 56,000 visits last year. Rocking Horse has expanded to four locations, where it serves 13,500 people of all ages and recently became a Federally Qualified Health Center.
The center opened a $7.9 million expansion at its South Limestone location last April.
The board of directors chose Cook after an “extensive” search for a new CEO, according to a press release.
“We are fortunate to have found in Chris a leader with experience at growing and moving an organization forward, and someone who has deep roots in Clark County,” said Rob Baker, the board’s president. “His local ties will not only accentuate our many collaborative ventures, they will help him hit the ground running on our important strategic initiatives.”
The appointment will strengthen the relationship between Rocking Horse and the Clark County Combined Health District, said Clark County Combined Health District commissioner Charles Patterson. They worked together during Cook’s tenure in Miami County.
“He’s an enthusiastic, energetic and intelligent person who luckily for us already lives in Clark County,” Patterson said.
Cook has several goals in the near future at Rocking Horse, including the opening of a dental clinic as well as the possibility of helping the medically underserved in other parts of the community.
“Those are some of the big things right off the bat,” Cook said.