Susan R. Cooper, M.S.N., R.N., made Tennessee history on January 20, 2007, when she became the first nurse to serve as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health. A former Assistant Dean for Practice at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Cooper came to the state in 2005 as a special policy advisor to Governor Bredesen. She was charged with the development of the Health Care Safety Net and innovative programs to address the threats of Type II diabetes facing residents of Tennessee, including Project Diabetes and Get Fit Tennessee. She was also one of the chief architects of the Smokefree Tennessee initiative. Ms. Cooper serves on the National Commission for Prevention Priorities, the Board of Directors of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and is chair of the Prevention Committee. Her priorities are to protect, promote, and improve the health of all Tennesseans through policies, programs, and partnerships.