Paul Yock wins National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize

PAUL YOCK, MD, professor of medicine and of bioengineering at Stanford University and the founder and director of the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, will receive the National Academy of Engineering’s 2018 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education.

Paul Yock
Paul Yock. (Photo: Norbert von der Groeben)

The academy said Yock was chosen for “the development and global dissemination of Biodesign, a biomedical technology training program that creates leaders and innovations that benefit patients.” The prize is the academy’s top honor for teaching and carries a $500,000 award.

Yock, who holds the Martha Meier Weiland Professorship and was the founding co-chair of Stanford’s Department of Bioengineering, is known internationally for his work inventing and testing new medical devices in the field of interventional cardiology. Motivated to help other aspiring innovators succeed in developing devices to improve health care, he founded Stanford Biodesign in 2001. Reflecting its roots in both engineering and medicine, Biodesign is part of Bio-X, Stanford’s interdisciplinary biosciences institute.

Stanford Biodesign was a pioneering innovation training program dedicated exclusively to the design and development of medical devices. It was revolutionary in its focus on need-driven innovation — identifying and characterizing important, unmet clinical needs as the essential first step in successful inventing.

“There are different innovation processes that make sense for different technology domains,” Yock said. “Unlike the situation for consumer products, health care has a complex landscape of stakeholders — from doctors and patients to regulators and insurers — all of whom have a say in whether a new technology is adopted into patient care.”

Not only do innovators need to satisfy all of these stakeholders, but given the multiyear timeline and millions of dollars required to develop, test and obtain regulatory approval for a new medical device, it’s essential that innovators get it right the first time. “This is why our trainees spend three to four months screening needs and understanding the problem they ultimately choose to solve before they ever invent anything,” Yock said.

Read the entire story on the Stanford School of Medicine website.