Dr. Cohn is a 1956 graduate of the Cornell University Medical School, and completed his internship and residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. From 1960 to 1965, he was a cardiovascular research fellow and clinical investigator at Georgetown University and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC. In 1965 he became the chief of hypertension and clinical hemodynamics at this VA Medical Center, and a professor of medicine at Georgetown University. Dr. Cohn joined the University of Minnesota faculty as chair of the cardiovascular division in 1974, and served in this position through 1996.
Dr. Cohn is internationally recognized for his numerous contributions to the cardiology field. He fostered applying physiologic principles to the management of cardiovascular disease, pioneered assessing cardiovascular function in patients with hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, shock, and heart failure, and first identified the syndrome of right-ventricular infarction. Dr. Cohn was among the first to advocate bedside hemodynamic monitoring in acutely-ill patients, a concept that led directly to the development of intensive-care units. These seminal discoveries establish Dr. Cohn as a founder of many contemporary therapies for heart disease.
Dr. Cohn’s contributions to the study and treatment of heart failure are many and exemplary. His laboratory and clinical research established that left-ventricular structural remodeling is the basis for progressive heart failure, and he was among the first to identify neurohormonal activation in vasoconstriction as a key contributor to this progression.
Dr. Cohn organized and chaired the first long-term clinical trials in heart failure, the Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study Program on Vasodilator Therapy of Heart Failure (V-HeFT). Known for his leadership in designing and conducting clinical trials that determine the efficacy of potential therapies for heart failure, Dr. Cohn was the first to document and advocate the value of vasodilator drugs in improving left-ventricular function. This discovery led to the development of vasodilating and neurohormonal-inhibiting medications (including nitroprusside, nitrates with hydralazine, and converting-enzyme inhibitors) that are the current standard of care.
In 1994, Dr. Cohn founded the Heart Failure Society of America, now the world’s premier organization dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure, and served as its first president. He also founded the first journal dedicated to heart failure, the Journal of Cardiac Failure, and was its editor-in-chief. He serves on the editorial boards of many major journals, is the author of more than 700 scientific publications, and is the co-editor of two texts, Cardiovascular Medicine and Drug Treatment of Heart Failure. Dr. Cohn has written extensively on the topics of circulatory physiology, hypertension, vascular compliance, nervous-system control mechanisms in heart failure, and congestive heart failure and its treatment.
Dr. Cohn’s recent work involves screening asymptomatic individuals for cardiovascular disease, so that therapy can be initiated and disease progression prevented. His innovative early-detection methods include diagnosing stiffening in small arteries. Developed at the University of Minnesota, this methodology is now FDA-approved and marketed worldwide.
Dr. Cohn holds several patents related to pulsewave analysis for arterial-elasticity measurement, and to the use of hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate to treat heart failure. He has presented numerous honorary lectures worldwide, and has served as a visiting professor at many national and international universities.
- 1996; President, International Society of Hypertension
- 1996-1998; Scientific Advisory Committee
- Director, Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
- President, International Society of Cardiovascular Phamacotherapy, 2008-2010
- Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Sydney, Australia, 1997
- Distinguished Scientist Award, American Heart Association, 2010
- Clinical Scholar Award, University of Minnesota, 2006
- Heart Failure Society of America Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006
- Distinguished Scientist Award (Clinical Domain), 2005
- International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences Life Achievement Award, 2009
- Alumni Association Award of Distinction, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 2007
- Mastership, American College of Physicians, 2007
- Giles TD, Materson BJ, Cohn JN, Kostis JB. Definition and classification of hypertension: An update. J Clin Hypertens 2009;11:611-614
- Cohn JN, Wilson DJ, Neutel J, Houston M, Weinberger MH, Grimm Jr R, Smith DHG, Sun W. Coadministered amlodipine and atorvastatin produces early improvements in arterial-wall compliance in hypertensive patients with dyslipidemia. Am J Hypertens 2009;22:137-144
- Anand IS, Bishu K, Rector TS, Ishani A, Kuskowski MA, Cohn JN. Proteinuria, chronic kidney disease, and the effect of an angiotensin-receptor blocker in addition to an angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor in patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure. Circulation 2009;120:1577-1584
- Cohn JN. Conflicts of interest: To eliminate them or manage them? J Card Fail 2009;15:375-376
- McNamara DM, Tam SW, Sabolinski ML, Tobelmann P, Janosko K, Venkitachalam L, Ofili E, Yancy C, Feldman AM, Ghali JK, Taylor AL, Cohn JN, Worcel M. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3) polymorphisms in African-Americans with heart failure: Results from the A-HeFT trial. J Card Fail 2009;15:191-198
- Heart failure
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA
Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC
- University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview