Each year, the Albion Walter Hewlett Prize recognizes a physician who has made substantial contributions to Stanford and who, over decades, has demonstrated the exemplary combination of a scientific approach to medicine and patient sensitivity.
The award’s namesake, Albion Walter Hewlett, MD, headed Stanford’s Department of Medicine from 1916 to 1925. Hewlett was a professor of internal medicine and a leading clinical researcher who made special contributions to the understanding of cardiac arrhythmias and the application of scientific research to clinical practice.
The 2021 winner is Paul Yock, MD, interventional cardiologist and professor emeritus of medicine and bioengineering. Yock is known for his work inventing, developing and testing new devices, including devices that fellow interventional cardiologist and director of the Department of Medicine Bob Harrington, MDdescribed as having “changed interventional cardiovascular practice”. In total, Yock, Martha Meier Weiland Professor of Medicine, holds more than 50 US patents for medical devices.
One such invention is the Rapid Exchange Stent and Angioplasty System. The Rapid Exchange system, unlike its predecessors, can be operated by one person and has made procedures, including stent placement, faster and safer. Today, the system is the main approach used in the world.
Other Yock inventions include the Smart Needle, a needle with an end-mounted ultrasound emitter that helps doctors find a patient’s vein in fewer tries and in less time. Yock is also the author of the fundamental patents for intravascular ultrasound imaging (IVUS), which produces cross-sectional images of the interior of arteries, and conducted early clinical trials to validate the technology. Today, IVUS is used worldwide to detect and assess coronary artery disease and to determine the mechanism of stent failure.
In 2000, Yock and Josh Makower, MD, MBAco-founded the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, which Harrington described as “a Stanford gem”. Stanford Biodesign trains and supports students, fellows, and faculty in health technology innovation. Yock served as founding director of the center.
Makower, the current director of Stanford Biodesign, paid tribute to Yock’s lasting impact. “Under Paul’s leadership, the program has flourished. The process of biodesign is now taught around the world, giving students, fellows, faculty, and executives the tools to solve some of the most pressing problems facing patient care today. More importantly, through the process of biodesign, our students’ innovations have touched the lives of millions of patients and created jobs and positive economic outcomes for thousands of people. »
“Paul is a caring physician, a patient and caring mentor, an inspired teacher, a true innovator in his own right, and someone who has the ability to bring out the best in everyone he works with.” – Josh Makower, MD, MBA
Yock also established the Stanford Center for Research in Cardiovascular Interventions (now the Stanford Cardiovascular Technology Center) and was the founding co-chair of the bioengineering department. He continues to work on research related to new device technologies.
“Paul is a caring physician, a patient and caring mentor, an inspired teacher, a true innovator in his own right, and someone who has the ability to bring out the best in everyone he works with,” Makower said. “His mark on the history of medical technology and the practice of ‘medtech innovation’ itself will be eternal.”
Harrington also noted Yock’s creativity, innovative spirit and entrepreneurial spirit. He added: “Paul is, above all, one of the real good guys in the world.”