David A. Ott, MD

Ray C. Fish (1902–1962) was a leading figure in Houston's natural gas industry and a philanthropist. He believed in the American dream of “opportunity for success.” The Ray C. Fish Foundation was established so that others might be encouraged to broaden man's self-knowledge and to keep the American dream alive. After its founder's death from heart disease, the Fish Foundation granted $5 million to make the Texas Heart Institute a reality. For this reason, the Institute's highest professional award is given in honor of this extraordinary man. The award recognizes those whose innovations have made significant contributions to cardiovascular medicine and surgery.

The first Texas Heart Institute Medal and Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement in Cardiovascular Diseases were presented in 1972 to Dr. Norman Shumway. Since 1972, 36 other highly deserving recipients have been so honored by the Institute. The complete Roll of Recipients appears on the next page.

The 2016 Fish Award recipient is David A. Ott, MD, recognized for his knowledge and exceptional technical expertise as a cardiovascular surgeon in both congenital and acquired cardiovascular disease. Chosen personally by Dr. Denton Cooley in 2016 as his successor, Dr. Ott serves as Surgeon-in-Chief of the Texas Heart Institute.

A 1968 Phi Beta Kappa graduate (with honors) of the University of Texas, Dr. Ott earned his medical degree in 1972 from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his residency in general surgery at BCM-affiliated hospitals (1976) and in cardiothoracic surgery at THI (1978), after which he was immediately welcomed to THI's professional staff. Dr. Ott also served in the U.S. Army Reserve (1972–1978).

For more than 38 years, Dr. Ott's career has been centered exclusively in the Texas Medical Center—at Texas Children's Hospital in his early years and continuously at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center. A prominent leader, he is Clinical Professor of Surgery at BCM and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Ott is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He is an author of more than 160 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, serves on multiple advisory and editorial boards, and has won numerous awards.

  • 1972

    Norman E. Shumway

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Heart Transplantation)

  • 1973

    F. Mason Sones, Jr.

    Cardiology (Coronary Angiography)

  • 1974

    Eugene E. Braunwald

    Physiology (Myocardial Preservation)

  • 1975

    Willem J. Kolff

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Artificial Organs)

  • 1976

    Harvey Feigenbaum

    Cardiology (Echocardiography)

  • 1977

    John W. Kirklin

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Heart-Lung Machines)

  • 1978

    Bernard Lown

    Cardiology (Cardiac Arrhythmias)

  • 1979

    John J. Gallagher and William C. Sealy (co-recipients)

    Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery (Surgery for Pre-Excitation)

  • 1980

    W. Proctor Harvey

    Cardiology (Clinical Practice and Teaching)

  • 1981

    Paul M. Zoll

    Cardiology (Pacemaking)

  • 1983

    Andreas R. Grüntzig

    Cardiology (Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty)

  • 1984

    Hein J.J. Wellens and Douglas P. Zipes (co-recipients)

    Cardiology (Diagnosis and Management of Pediatric Cardiac Arrhythmias)

  • 1985

    Denton A. Cooley

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Surgery for Congenital Heart Disease, Aneurysms of the Aorta, and Implantation of the Artificial Heart)

  • 1986

    William J. Rashkind

    Pediatric Cardiology (Nonsurgical Treatment of Congenital Heart Disease)

  • 1987

    Dwight E. Harken

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Intracardiac Surgery)

  • 1988

    J. Willis Hurst

    Cardiology (Writing and Teaching)

  • 1989

    Robert J. Hall

    Cardiology (Clinical Practice and Teaching)

  • 1990

    Sol Sherry

    Cardiology (Thrombolytic Therapy)

  • 1992

    Arthur S. Keats

    Cardiovascular Anesthesiology

  • 1997

    Aldo R. Castañeda

    Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery

  • 1997

    Julio C. Palmaz

    Radiology (Endovascular Stents)

  • 1998

    Magdi Yacoub

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Heart-Lung Transplantation)

  • 1999

    Thomas J. Fogarty

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Medical and Surgical Devices)

  • 2004

    James L. Cox

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Surgery for Atrial Fibrillation)

  • 2004

    Stephen Westaby

    Cardiovascular Surgery (First Clinical Trial of Axial-Flow Devices for Destination Therapy and Significant Contributions to the Surgical Literature)

  • 2007

    Charles E. Mullins

    Pediatric Cardiology (Teaching and Pioneering Work in Interventional Techniques for Congenital Heart Disease)

  • 2008

    O.H. Frazier

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Heart Transplantation and Research and Development of the Left Ventricular Assist Device)

  • 2009

    James T. Willerson

    Cardiology (Pioneering Work in Unstable Atherosclerotic Plaques, Acute Coronary Syndromes, and Cardiac Stem Cells)

  • 2010

    Charles D. Fraser, Jr.

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Development of a Program Known for Its Effectiveness in Correcting Congenital Cardiovascular Disease in Children)

  • 2011

    Patrick W. Serruys

    Interventional Cardiology (Major Contributions to Interventional Cardiology, Including Those to the Development of Both Bare-Metal and Drug-Eluting Stents)

  • 2012

    George J. Reul

    Cardiac and Vascular Surgery (Development of an Accredited Vascular Lab at SLEH; Leader in Quality Measures)

  • 2013

    Alain G. Cribier

    Interventional Cardiology (First Balloon Dilation of Aortic Valve for Calcific Aortic Stenosis, 1985; and First Implantation of a Prosthetic Aortic Valve via Cardiac Catheterization, 2002)

  • 2014

    Terence English

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Establishing Heart Transplantation Program in England)

  • 2015

    Delos M. Cosgrove

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Significant Contributions to Cardiac Valve Repair)

  • 2016

    David A. Ott

    Cardiovascular Surgery (Knowledge of and Exceptional Technical Expertise in Cardiovascular Surgery)