William Cohn, MD

01 Biography

Alongside his work at Santé, Billy is Vice President of Medical Devices at Johnson & Johnson. He is also Executive Director for Johnson & Johnson’s Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center, a Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, and an Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University and the University of Houston.

Prior to joining J&J, Billy was Director of the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Lab at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and the Director of Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery at THI. He has more than 20 years’ experience in cardiothoracic surgery and over 150 patents, US and international, for an assortment of medical innovations.

Billy earned his MD in cardiothoracic surgery from the Baylor College of Medicine. He also received an honorary doctorate (PhD.H) from Oberlin College.

02 Q&A
What is something most people do not know about you?

I was originally committed to pursuing a career in Plastic Surgery. However, I knew that Dr. Michael DeBakey, the 'challenging' task-master of the Baylor College of Medicine surgical residency in which I was enrolled, favored individuals who were training to be heart surgeons. As a strategy to improve my chances of remaining in the program, I scheduled additional elective rotations on the cardiac surgical service, and whenever asked, would profess my passion for cardiac surgery. Over five years of training, I convinced everyone, including myself!

What great advice have you received?

Surround yourself with brilliant people who proceed with a sense of urgency.