SEMDA’s 2017 program features a power packed lineup of medtech industry mavens

 In Conference, News

Leaders from J&J Innovations, IBM Watson Health, and more to take the stage April 26th and 27th in Atlanta, GA.

The 2017 SEMDA Conference is practically here- only 4 short weeks away! Our collective reach and network has grown with each conference- generating new members, partners and a platform that will make this year better than ever.

I am pleased to announce three of our plenary sessions featuring an inspiring patient story from a Georgia native, and insights from medtech industry leaders from IBM Watson Health and J&J Medical Devices.

Aimee Copeland is an Atlanta Georgia native whose life was drastically changed after what started a normal day at the lake with friends. After a homemade zipline snapped, the then 24 year old Aimee fell, crashing onto the sharp rocks just below, leaving her with a large, deep gash in her outer left calf. Four days after she was stitched up and released from the hospital, Aimee woke up with blood blisters, and overnight, her left leg had rotted to her thigh and she couldn’t speak. At the hospital, doctors knew right away that she had necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacteria and immediately had to amputate all four of her limbs – both arms below the elbow, her right leg below the knee, and her left leg almost to her hip.

Aimee will be joining us at SEMDA 2017 as our opening plenary speaker- telling her inspiring story of recovery, acceptance, and growth. Neely Carlton, Senior Counsel for Butler Snow,  will interview Aimee on her health care journey and how the medical device industry is continuing to shape the way she interacts with the World. Aimee’s story gets to the heart of why each one of us is a part of the medical device ecosystem- to help people.

Don Turner, Global Head, Commercialization, IBM Watson Health, is an Emory University Goizueta Business School alumni- so he is no stranger to Atlanta and the robust medical device ecosystem that has been cultivated in the Southeast. His morning plenary session will focus on cognitive systems and their impact on the future of healthcare. Turner has experience and associated insights on building and managing world-class companies. He is responsible for driving 4X organic revenue growth in three (3) years for IBM Watson Health. We are excited for him to provide a valuable, seasoned perspective on medtech innovation, especially for the early stage medical device companies, entrepreneurs, and physician innovators that attend SEMDA 2017.

Dr. William E. “Billy” Cohn, VP for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies and the Director of the new Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center in Houston will be our closing lunch plenary speaker on April 27th. Dr. Cohn will speak about the goals of J&J’s new center and how it will work to supplement the medical device ecosystem. He will also share his experience as a cardiovascular surgeon turned physician innovator: having more than 90 US patents granted or pending for his medical innovations that have provided the core technology for six venture-backed medical start-ups including the continuous-flow, totally implantable, artificial heart. With 20 years of experience, Dr. Cohn truly provides a concept to commercialization perspective of the medtech industry.

We are counting down the days- see you April 26-27 for SEMDA 2017 in Atlanta! If you haven’t done so already, register today!


Jason Rupp, Executive Director, SEMDA