Advancing health care and expanding innovations are a top priority for the next dean of Carle Illinois College of Medicine, Dr. Mark Cohen, and he says the college is set up for success. “I want to build upon what has been started here at Carle Illinois and work with everyone here to grow our innovation programs to that next level and be able to develop impactful solutions for our community,” said Cohen, who has written and published extensively on the topic including even a textbook on medical innovation and entrepreneurship.

Carle Illinois is positioned to have a broad impact, due in part to its unique engineering-based medical education curriculum that emphasizes human factors, design thinking, medical technologies, and entrepreneurship. “I’m excited to build and grow our programs and help our college become something that’s going to be known throughout the country,” Cohen said.

Cohen has been instrumental in bringing about new health care advances at the University of Michigan, where he currently serves as Vice Chair of Clinical Operations in Surgery, Director of the Medical School Pathway of Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Director of the Center for Surgical Innovation, and Director the Center Initiative for Medical and Surgical Extended Reality.

Dr. Mark Cohen

“Over the last several years I have built several innovation programs at Michigan, teaching and advising over 300 medical students, graduate students, residents, and clinicians in how to be more effective in moving their ideas from concept to clinical impact. This has stimulated and cultivated a unique ecosystem that has since led to the development of 16 startup companies, several led by medical students, as well as six new industry-academic partnerships with the University, and over $20 million in follow-on funding over just a few years,” Cohen said.

“What was even more exciting was seeing several of these innovations now actually getting into the clinic, helping patients around the world- especially in areas with limited resources where these innovations can be life-saving. Given the unique and strong innovation ecosystem here in Champaign-Urbana, I see Carle Illinois and Carle Health having an even greater impact on the community and around the world in the upcoming years, and it is truly exciting to be able to be a part of that growth and engagement.”

Cohen plans to leverage strategic partnerships with industry leaders and the community to advance the college’s impact on health care innovation and delivery. “I look forward to partnering with the wonderful people at Carle Health to bring more innovations to clinical care delivery and provide opportunities and solutions that can benefit our community and have impact locally, as well as around the state, nationally, and even globally,” Cohen said.

A professor of surgery, pharmacology and biomedical engineering, Cohen’s clinical interests and national expertise are in the areas of surgical oncology and endocrine surgery. He has written and published 117 original articles, twelve book chapters, and a textbook on medical innovation and entrepreneurship. His research and collaborations have been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and even NASA. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a medical doctorate, both from Washington University in St. Louis.

Cohen will take the reins as Carle Illinois’ new dean in May 2022. He will also serve as senior vice president and chief academic officer at Carle Health.

Cohen’s selection as Carle Illinois’ next permanent dean concluded a nationwide search, following the retirement of Inaugural Dean, King Li, in 2021. Carle Illinois has been led by Interim Dean Uretz Oliphant since early 2022.

Created in 2015 as a partnership between the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Carle Health, Carle Illinois is home to nearly 160 students and more than 600 affiliated clinical and academic faculty members.