The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH



Laura DeFina, MD

Laura DeFina, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer

Laura Fink DeFina, M.D. is the President and Chief Executive Officer for The Cooper Institute, appointed by the Board of Directors on June, 2, 2014. In addition, Dr. DeFina specifically leads the research division as The Institute's Chief Science Officer, a position she has held since February, 2013.

Dr. DeFina received her M.D. from George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. and completed her post-graduate training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. While in the U.S. Army, she practiced medicine at Andrew Radar U.S. Army Health Clinic (Fort Myer, VA) and at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center (Fort Gordon, GA).

After relocating to Dallas, she practiced Geriatrics with the Health Texas Provider Network/Baylor Senior Health Network for 12 years prior to joining the Cooper Clinic in 2006 to pursue her interest in prevention and research. After three years at the Cooper Clinic, in 2009 she joined The Cooper Institute as the Medical Director. While involved in research at The Institute, she has overseen The Cooper Institute/University of Texas Southwestern Research Collaboration and has authored and co-authored manuscripts related to, among other topics, brain health, healthy aging, depression, cardiorespiratory fitness, and injury in physically active women.

Outside of The Cooper Institute, Dr. DeFina has served on the Prevention and Brain Health Group for the Texas State Plan on Alzheimer's Disease since 2009. She was recently appointed to the Texas Council on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders by Governor Perry. Additionally, Dr. DeFina is in the fifth class of Leadership North Texas. She is very active in church volunteer activities especially in the arena of providing a safe environment for children, disabled, and elders alike.