About Dan Rooks

Dan Rook’s goal is to help people with chronic musculoskeletal disorders, obesity and related conditions maximize their health and function through exercise, diet and behavioral skills training. I address this goal by combining my interests in research, clinical care, and teaching.

Educating clinicians, patients and insurers on the value of self-management and its implementation is a short and long-term professional goal. In the past 12 years, he has taught the concepts, science and application of exercise for self-management to house officers, fellows and attending physicians at grand rounds, seminars, lectures and in HMS CME courses. In addition, he has developed modules on exercise and musculoskeletal conditions and trained staff at the Be Well Tanger Center to deliver the clinical service.

Self-management care in chronic illness is a relatively new and underdeveloped area of health care with limited integration into traditional medical care (e.g. diabetes, asthma). As Director of the Be Well Tanger Center for Health Management at BIDMC, Dan Rooks has led the translation of research findings (his own and others) into practice. By creating patient care programs that integrated self-management activities into traditional medical care, he has served individuals with a variety of health conditions, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, obesity, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, total joint replacement, and breast cancer. The program, developed in collaboration with health care providers in rheumatology, orthopedics, primary care medicine, and oncology, augmented the pathways of care for persons with these illnesses.

His research interests center on outcomes-based chronic disease self-management. For the past 15+ years, he has focused on the development of exercise and behavioral interventions that address disease and function specific limitations, symptoms and risk factors in people with musculoskeletal disorders. Currently, he is in the final year of two career development awards – NIH K23 and an Arthritis Investigator Award – and have been examining four approaches for improving functional status and symptoms in persons with fibromyalgia. Data collection for this multi year study was completed in late 2006; he is currently analyzing the data and writing planned papers. Findings from this study have demonstrated the benefits of two comprehensive exercise programs and the advantage of combining exercise with education. This work has resulted in recommendations for prescribing exercise to individuals with fibromyalgia (#3 Clinical Communication). The other main area of his work examined the effect of a pre-surgical exercise intervention prior to undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty. This randomized controlled trial demonstrated the safety and potential benefit moderate exercise has on function in patients with severe osteoarthritis and the impact exercise can have on reducing the need for inpatient rehabilitation post surgery. Future work will center on effectiveness trials of delivery mechanisms to integrate interventions into traditional care of several patient populations and on long-term patient adherence to the interventions. Additionally, the work will study ways to best educate health care professionals and patients about the role these interventions can play in promoting optimal health and function in persons with chronic illnesses.

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