William E. Cohn, M.D., Heart Surgeon And Medical Device Pioneer, Wows Crowd at Distinguished Speaker Series.

The words of Dr. William E. “Billy” Cohn held attendees captive at the AGC Houston Distinguished Speaker Series breakfast as he discussed the break-through medical innovations he has been involved in developing. The distinguished surgeon was the latest speaker to participate in the Distinguished Speaker Series that benefits the Patrick J. Kiley Excellence in Leadership Scholarship Program, which was held on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at the Boy Scouts of America Cockrell Scout Center.

Dr. Cohn currently serves as Vice President for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies and the Executive Director of the Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center. Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, he was Director of the Center for Technology and Innovation and Director of the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratory at the Texas Heart Institute. 

The cardiac surgeon has devoted his medical career to developing medical devices designed to make surgery less invasive and designing innovative ways to bring cutting-edge procedures. He shared that for the past 20 years, most of his inventions have started in his garage laboratory “shop”. 

During his career, he has performed extensive animal experiments and participated in first-in-man implementation. An innovator, Dr. Cohn relies on computer-aided design and rapid prototyping in the laboratory’s 3-D printer. He said that being able to tweak the design of the artificial heart overnight with a 3-D printer and being able to test it the next day has been revolutionary.

Along with sharing his passion for medical device development –  he currently holds or has pending more than 140 U.S. patents –  Dr. Cohn peppered his discussion with fascinating stories about his mentors, Dr. O. H. “Bud” Frazier, Dr. Denton Cooley, and Dr. Michael De Bakey. 

When  not inventing or operating medical devices, Dr. Cohn enjoys racing cars, practicing magic and playing the trombone. As an Eagle Scout, he made sure to take a photo of his name, as well as his brother’s, on the Eagle Scout Commemorative wall at the entry of the Boys Scout Center. 

The Distinguished Speaker Series serves to raise funds for the AGC Houston Scholarship fund. For more information, please contact Charlene Anthony

AGC Houston’s Jerry Nevlud thanks Dr. William Cohn after the presentation.