2010 Distinguished Scientists

2010 Distinguished

The American Heart Association is pleased to announce the selection of the 2010 Distinguished Scientists.  Each year this distinction is proudly bestowed upon prominent AHA members whose work has advanced the understanding and management of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

2010 Distinguished Scientists

cohnJay N. Cohn, M.D., is a professor of medicine in the Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.

Dr. Cohn received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical School in 1956 and completed his internship and residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He served as a fellow in cardiovascular research and as a clinical investigator at the Veterans Affairs Hospital and Georgetown University in 1960-65, chief of hypertension and clinical hemodynamics at the Veterans Affairs Hospital as well as professor of medicine at Georgetown University in 1965-74. Dr. Cohn was head of the Cardiovascular Division at the University of Minnesota 1974-96 and is currently director of the Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.

Dr. Cohn is internationally recognized for his contributions to our understanding of cardiovascular disease and for his leadership in designing and carrying out clinical trials to document efficacy of new interventions for heart failure. He has pioneered an assessment of cardiovascular function in patients with hypertension, shock, acute myocardial infarction and heart failure. He was the first to advocate vasodilator therapy for heart failure, including nitroprusside, nitrates with hydralazine and converting enzyme inhibitors. He organized and chaired the first long-term trials in heart failure, the Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study Program on vasodilator therapy of heart failure (V-HeFT). He was among the first to advocate bedside hemodynamic monitoring in acutely ill individuals and was the first to identify the syndrome of right ventricular infarction. He was among the first to identify neurohormonal activation as a key contributor to the progression of heart failure and to set the stage for neurohormonal inhibiting therapy. His animal and clinical studies have established the importance of structural remodeling of the left ventricle as the basis for the progression of heart failure and for the therapeutic response to drugs that prolong life and reduce long-term morbidity. In recent years he has focused on early identification of cardiovascular disease in order to initiate therapy before organ system disease develops. His innovative efforts at early detection have included screening to diagnose stiffening of the small arteries, utilizing a methodology he developed at the University of Minnesota which is now FDA-approved and marketed worldwide.

Dr. Cohn is the founder of the Heart Failure Society of America and served as its first president. It is now the premier organization in the world of health professionals dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure. He also founded and served as editor-in-chief of the first journal dedicated to heart failure, the Journal of Cardiac Failure, which is now one of the most frequently cited cardiovascular journals. He is the author of more than 700 scientific publications and has written extensively on circulatory physiology, hypertension, congestive heart failure and its treatment, nervous system control mechanisms in heart failure, and vascular compliance. He holds a number of patents, including those related to pulsewave analysis for the measurement of arterial elasticity and use of hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate for the treatment of heart failure. He serves on the editorial boards of many of the major journals in the field and is co-editor of the cardiology text, "Cardiovascular Medicine," and editor of the textbook, "Drug Treatment of Heart Failure."

Dr. Cohn is a master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a member of the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation as well as many other professional societies. He is a past president of the Heart Failure Society of America, the International Society of Hypertension and the American Society of Hypertension and has served as an officer of the American Heart Association and the American Federation for Clinical Research. He is currently president of the International Society of Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy. He served as chairman of the Cardiorenal Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration and has served on a number of government boards and committees.

Dr. Cohn has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the James B. Herrick Award of the American Heart Association (AHA), the Distinguished Service Award (AHA), the AHA Scientific Councils' Distinguished Achievement Award, the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American College of Cardiology, the Novartis Award of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Heart Failure Society of America, the William S. Harvey Award, the Sir Thomas Lauder Brunton Award, the Arrigo Recordati International Prize for Scientific Research: Lifetime Achievement in Heart Failure, the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute’s Lifetime Research Achievement Award, and the Cornell Weill Medical College Alumni Association Award of Distinction. He is a member of the Academic Health Center’s Academy for Excellence in Health Research at the University of Minnesota and received the Clinical Scholar Award for 2006 of the University of Minnesota Medical Center. He has presented numerous honorary lectures around the world and has served as visiting professor at many universities in the United States and abroad.




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