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  Children's National Medical Center mourns the loss of longtime cardiologist John Cockerham, MD
August 23, 2010

Washington, DC – John Cockerham, MD, a pediatric cardiologist and active leader of the medical staff at Children's National Medical Center, passed away last week from cancer. He served in many capacities at Children's National for 22 years.

Dr. Cockerham was known for his warm rapport with the hundreds of children and families for whom he cared over the years. In addition to his expertise in pediatric cardiology, Dr. Cockerham was recognized as a thought leader in the use of technology by physicians to advance performance and quality outcomes. He applied his expertise in medical informatics as director of Clinical Operations with the Center for Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease, for which he assumed responsibility for management of the ambulatory clinical practice. He most recently applied his expertise to Children's National’s Quality Council, and is widely recognized for his collaboration in the work that again secured Children's National its Joint Commission accreditation.

"John will be greatly missed by everyone across the organization," said Peter R. Holbrook, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer. "He was a friend; a colleague who worked tirelessly to make Children's a world-class center of care; and a true visionary."

During Dr. Cockerham’s tenure as president of the medical staff, he updated credentialing and privileging processes, rewrote medical staff bylaws, was responsible for accreditation activities for the medical staff, and reorganized the medical staff committee structure, among other significant responsibilities.

"It is amazing that John was able to contribute so much to the institution while also maintaining a busy clinical practice," said Robert F. Keating, MD, chief of Neurosurgery and current president of the medical staff. "While his accomplishments that supported Children’s National are remarkable, I am sure that John would want to be remembered for his dedication to the children and families for whom he cared."

Dr. Cockerham also helped educate the next generation of clinical care team members through his service on the faculties of George Washington University, Georgetown University, and the University of Maryland. A member of the American Heart Association, Dr. Cockerham focused on cardiovascular diseases in children and teens. His numerous publications attest to his wide interest and dedication to advancing best practices.

Dr. Cockerham earned his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He was an intern and resident in pediatrics at St. Louis Children's Hospital and then a fellow in cardiology and research cardiology at the Children's Hospital, Boston.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, August 24, at 2 pm at Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Capital Hospice.

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Contact: Paula Darte/Jennifer Leischer: 202-476-4500.