Office of the Dean > Dean's Blog

Dean's Blog

What Medical Schools Do Today

It seems obvious: medical schools are where you go if you want to become a doctor.

But in addition to teaching the next generation of physicians and surgeons, they also do so much more--especially now in the age of Obamacare.

Medical schools are hotbeds of scientific discovery. Connected to universities and teaching hospitals, they conduct research--ranging from laboratory studies to understand how disease develops to clinical trials of the latest experimental drugs. This bench-to-bedside approach to research ensures that the most cutting-edge therapies make it to patients as quickly as possible.

Medical schools fall under the radar for many people except in times of grave illness or personal catastrophe. When critical, highly advanced care is required, then academic medical centers, which combine teaching hospitals with university-based schools for doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, enter the picture.

Academic medical centers are the place to go for the most complicated and life-threatening conditions, like organ transplants, intensive care for newborn babies, and traumatic injuries. Staffed by medical school faculty, they have the expertise and the latest technologies needed to treat rare or complex diseases and perform the most intricate procedures.

Doctors at medical schools also treat patients with less serious conditions at offices throughout the community. Many provide care to the medically underserved through Medicare and Medicaid. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the nation's 120 academic medical centers provide about 40% of all hospital-based charity care.

The Affordable Care Act has been pushing medical schools and other healthcare providers to rethink business as usual--especially in the realm of patient care. Now medical schools--working in partnership with universities, teaching hospitals, the government, and private industry--are figuring out ways to expand access to high-quality healthcare to all Americans, while keeping the costs to society under control.

Consider the way patients have traditionally been cared for. Under what's known as the fee-for-service model, doctors are paid based on the tests or procedures they perform, rather than the quality of care they provide. Spurred on by Obamacare, our healthcare system is shifting toward a model that focuses on the needs of patients and how beneficial the care they receive actually is.

That's good news for patients, who lie at the center of everything we do at medical schools.

One exciting strategy pioneered by schools like ours is precision medicine, which aims to improve healthcare by focusing on the uniqueness of each patient. In life and in medicine, what's true for most is not true for all. The goal of precision medicine is to provide each person who walks in the door with exactly the right care at the right time. Driven by astonishing leaps in technology, precision medicine is starting to parse the subtle differences in genes and lifestyle that determine our individual stories of health and disease--and it will enable doctors to make better treatment recommendations based on that knowledge.

At the same time, medical schools are taking a broader perspective and concentrating on improving the health of populations. They're forming accountable care organizations, a new form of healthcare delivery that seeks to identify the most pressing needs of a group of patients, as well as those individuals who would most benefit from medical intervention. Organizations like these promote a team-based approach to care and coordinate services for each patient, ranging from prevention to specialized treatment to rehabilitation. Fueled by advanced health information technology, they promise to deliver improved health outcomes as well as lower costs.

Given the dramatic changes, innovations, and robust political debate occurring in the world of healthcare, it has become increasingly important for medical schools to communicate to the public exactly what it is that they are trying to achieve.

For that reason, Weill Cornell Medical College is unveiling a new name--Weill Cornell Medicine--to underscore our work on behalf of patients. We're also adopting the tagline "Care. Discover. Teach." to more accurately communicate the full scope of our mission.

And that mission is to transform the way that medicine is currently practiced. That means teaching doctors who will care for our rapidly aging population and shape healthcare policy long into the future. It's about discovering new cures for diseases that ravage communities locally and globally. And most of all, it's about providing the very best, personalized care to patients in need, both in New York and around the world.

[Read this blog on the Huffington Post]


Posted October 6, 2015 7:50 AM | Permalink to this post

All Entries

October 06, 2015 - What Medical Schools Do Today

September 22, 2015 - Welcoming Beth Garrett, Cornell University's 13th President

September 09, 2015 - Listening to Patients: Some Thoughts for our Medical Students

August 19, 2015 - Sanofi iAwards Program Request for Pre-Proposals

August 04, 2015 - Strengthening Diversity Efforts

July 08, 2015 - Farewell to David Skorton

June 24, 2015 - 2015 Greenberg Award Winner: Dr. David Blumenthal

June 08, 2015 - Visit by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

May 27, 2015 - A Message to the Class of 2015

May 13, 2015 - Inside Medicine at Weill Cornell: "Meeting in the Middle"

May 06, 2015 - Inside Medicine at Weill Cornell: "A Beautiful Scientific Marriage"

April 29, 2015 - Inside Medicine at Weill Cornell: "Solving Sarah's Puzzle"

April 21, 2015 - Weill Cornell at the American Association for Cancer Research

April 08, 2015 - Bringing the Brightest Students to Weill Cornell: The Dean's Scholarship

March 26, 2015 - Family Friendly Postdoctoral Initiative

March 11, 2015 - Our World-Class Gastrointestinal Faculty

February 23, 2015 - Forging Research Alliances with the Biopharmaceutical Industry

January 28, 2015 - Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell

January 14, 2015 - Improving Patient Care Throughout the Community

December 17, 2014 - A Holiday Message

December 03, 2014 - Turning Discoveries Into Cures

November 19, 2014 - Gratitude and Medicine

November 05, 2014 - Losing and Finding Your Voice

October 22, 2014 - Caring for Patients at the End of Life

October 08, 2014 - Reunion 2014--And A Brief Look Back

September 24, 2014 - 150 Years of Cornell University

September 10, 2014 - Enlarging the Pool of Clinical Researchers in New York and Houston

August 27, 2014 - Social Media and Me

August 19, 2014 - Real Life on NY Med

July 30, 2014 - A New Name for the Meyer Building

July 16, 2014 - Medicine and the Performing Arts

July 02, 2014 - Diversity in Biomedical Research

June 18, 2014 - Update on the Belfer Research Building

June 04, 2014 - Entrepreneurship in Academia

May 22, 2014 - Federal Cuts Result in Big Drop Off in Medical Researchers

May 08, 2014 - A New Curriculum for the Fall

April 24, 2014 - Elucidating the Link between Bariatric Surgery and Diabetes

April 10, 2014 - Attacking Cancer on All Fronts

March 27, 2014 - Mentoring the Next Generation

March 17, 2014 - The Meaning of Philanthropy

March 04, 2014 - Tri-I TDI Request for Proposals for Small Molecule Drug Discovery

February 25, 2014 - A New Era of Medicine

February 06, 2014 - Detecting Silent Heart Disease Early

January 22, 2014 - LGBT Inclusion at Weill Cornell

January 06, 2014 - NYC: The Next Biotech Hub

December 18, 2013 - A Holiday Message

December 03, 2013 - Congratulations to the Salzburg Seminars

November 15, 2013 - Disruptive Innovation

November 05, 2013 - Investing in Our Future

October 22, 2013 - Entrepreneurship and Innovation @ Weill Cornell

October 09, 2013 - Fostering Tolerance and Diversity

September 27, 2013 - Encouraging Disruptive Innovation: Video Message to the Class of 2017

September 26, 2013 - Women in Medicine

September 17, 2013 - Back to School

September 06, 2013 - Teaching Empathy in Medical School

August 28, 2013 - Global Health and Tanzania

August 15, 2013 - Merger with NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital

July 31, 2013 - Health Care and the Supreme Court

July 18, 2013 - Advancing Autism Care

July 03, 2013 - Summer in New York

June 25, 2013 - Translational Research in Cancer

June 13, 2013 - Our Alumni Family

May 31, 2013 - Video Message to the Class of 2013

May 29, 2013 - Practicing to Heal

May 21, 2013 - Graduation in Qatar

May 13, 2013 - From Discovery to Delivery

May 02, 2013 - This Is Your Brain

April 24, 2013 - The Belfer Research Building Grows on 69th Street

April 17, 2013 - Gender at Work

April 08, 2013 - Sequestration and Medical Research

March 28, 2013 - Musings from a Military Mom

March 21, 2013 - My Visit to Haiti, Part 2

March 13, 2013 - My Visit to Haiti, Part 1

March 06, 2013 - A New Prize--and Possibly a New Way to Advance Science

February 28, 2013 - Precision Medicine is the Future

February 21, 2013 - Team Medicine @ Weill Cornell

February 14, 2013 - Caring Across Generations

February 07, 2013 - Coming Soon: A New Partner Across the East River

January 24, 2013 - Weill Cornell's Stellar Faculty

January 16, 2013 - Health Care and the Economy

January 08, 2013 - New Communication and Information Technologies

December 20, 2012 - A Holiday Message

December 10, 2012 - Wearing the Weill Cornell Lab Coat

November 29, 2012 - A Milestone for Qatar

November 20, 2012 - Speeding the Translation of Biomedical Research

November 08, 2012 - Innovations to our Curriculum

October 31, 2012 - Improving Treatments for Cancer

October 16, 2012 - Not Enough Future Doctors

September 26, 2012 - New Child Care Center

May 30, 2012 - Video Message to the Class of 2012