Denton A. Cooley Fellowship
— An “Honoring Our Mentors” Fellowship Program  

In 2013, the AATS Foundation created the “Honoring Our Mentors” Fellowship Program to honor prominent cardiothoracic and thoracic surgeons. The Denton A. Cooley Fellowship is the third in the series, which recognizes physicians who have demonstrated longstanding leadership and dedication throughout their careers in both their clinical practices and their commitment to training the future generation.

Honoring Denton A. Cooley

A world-renowned surgeon, Denton A. Cooley pioneered many techniques used in cardiovascular surgery. He performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States in 1968. In 1969, he became the first heart surgeon to implant an artificial heart in man. Cooley and his associates performed more than 118,800 open heart operations—more than any other group in the world. He served as a professor of surgery on the full-time faculty of Baylor College of Medicine for 18 years and founded the Texas Heart Institute in 1962. He was chief, Cardiovascular Surgery at CHI St. Luke’s Health - Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, surgeon-in-chief emeritus at the Texas Heart Institute, consultant in Cardiovascular Surgery at Texas Children's Hospital and a clinical professor of Surgery at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Cooley believed his major accomplishment was the creation of the Texas Heart Institute and developing a school of surgery. More than 800 surgeons are members of the Cooley Surgical Society. The legacy of Denton A. Cooley is alive in the patients around the world whose hearts are still beating today because of Cooley and his team. Cooley had a close association with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), having received the AATS Scientific Achievement Award in 2000 and received the AATS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Meet this CT surgery mentor.

Become a Cooley Fellow

The Cooley Fellowship is for young North American cardiothoracic surgeons who are in their final year of their residency or have recently completed their residency within the past two years. It gives them the opportunity to spend four weeks enriching their education at Texas Heart Institute and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMS). Awardees receive a $5,000 stipend to offset travel and living expenses incurred during the experience.

Learn more about the fellowship’s application process, review process and award funding.

Become a Cooley Fellowship Supporter

Help preserve the heritage of thoracic surgery by supporting this Fellowship. In addition to the impact on future cardiothoracic surgeons, this is an opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous influence that Dr. Cooley had in the field and on the careers of many trainees.
Gifts may be made directly as one-time or recurring pledge payments. One hundred percent of individual contributions will be used for the purpose of the fellowship. All levels of gifts are welcomed, and individuals and organizational supporters will be recognized in all related print and on-line materials accordingly

Learn more about giving options.

  Supporter Categories
Founding Members
($10,000 +)

Philip D. Allmendinger
Robert & Bonnie Baldwin
CHI St. Luke's Health
- St. Luke's Medical Center
CryoLife, Inc.
Morton Cohn
Cooley Hands, Class of 1979,
   Timothy A. Dernbach &
   J. Marvin Smith, III

Joseph S. Coselli
Gregory Kay
Mark M. Mettauer
David A. Ott 

Honored Mentees ($3,500
- $9,999)
Michael I. Chow
Kim I. de la Cruz
J. Michael Duncan
James L. Livesay
Pavel V. Petrik
Timothy J. Powell
Ross M. Reul
David J. Sugarbaker 

Grateful Alumni ($1,500 - $3,499)​

Muhammad Aftab
John and Jacqueline Boyer
Lance Bezzina
Christopher A. Caldarone
Igor D. Gregoric
Michael T. Ingram
Scott A. LeMaire
Charles H. Lee
James L. Lonquist
Michael C. Murphy
George J. Reul, Jr. 
Todd K. Rosengart