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Dean's Letter - March 2016

Dear Weill Cornell Medicine Community,

The future of our institution is brighter than ever. Thanks to all of your contributions and a series of strategic plans over the past two decades, Weill Cornell Medicine is at one of the strongest points in its history. We're caring for more patients throughout New York City than ever before, with more than 40 medical practices added since 2013. The opening of the Belfer Research Building is fueling a new era of scientific discovery on campus, including an amazing 22% jump in research funding last year. And with our innovative, patient-centered curriculum, our educational program continues to attract the most academically talented and diverse students in the country.

As you know, I've announced my plans to leave Weill Cornell at the conclusion of my term as dean in December 2016. Weill Cornell Medicine is a great institution and a place that I love—but I made the difficult decision to take another professional opportunity and return home to Boston to be closer to my family. There are still ten months remaining though for us to work together, intensify our efforts in care, discovery, and education, and ensure that the momentum we've built will lead to further achievements.

Your commitment and dedication to Weill Cornell Medicine have set us on an upward trajectory, and they are what will continue to drive this institution's growth. We have visionary leaders heading cutting-edge programs across our mission, brilliant faculty members with more joining us every day, resourceful and collegial staff who keep everything together, and the most promising students and trainees who will define the future of medicine and healthcare. All of you are key to Weill Cornell Medicine's success.

I'd like to briefly highlight a few recent advances, among the many that help situate Weill Cornell Medicine and its affiliates at the forefront of innovation in academic medicine.

  • Mr. Edward Grab has joined us as the new Chief Operating Officer of the Weill Cornell Physician Organization (PO), which encompasses multiple practice sites, the Weill Cornell Physician Network, and our Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Mr. Grab has over 30 years of experience in developing and managing comprehensive healthcare delivery systems in academic medical centers, and he is a highly respected, national leader in the management of physician organizations. He comes to us from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians.

  • As the physician lead of the PO, Dr. Daniel Knowles has assumed the title of its President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Michael Stewart, Senior Associate Dean (Clinical Affairs), has been named Chief Medical Officer for the PO, a promotion intended to improve the integration between the Dean's Office and the PO. I feel confident that this expert team will provide the superior leadership that will benefit patient care across Weill Cornell Medicine's practices.

  • Dr. Paul N. Casale has been appointed Executive Director of NewYork Quality Care, the ACO of NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia and Weill Cornell Medicine. A 1982 graduate of Weill Cornell, he joins the ACO from Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine, where he served as chief of the division of cardiology and medical director of quality. Dr. Casale is a national leader in population health and will focus on providing high-quality, coordinated care to patients, while helping to lower overall healthcare costs.

  • Dr. Geoffrey Stuart Pitt has been appointed Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Pitt will be joining the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Division of Cardiology as the Ida and Theo Rossi Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Weill Department of Medicine in July of 2016. Dr. Pitt is an internationally recognized authority on calcium signaling and ion channels. He comes to us from Duke University, where he is Co-Director of the Mandel Center for Atherosclerosis and Hypertension, Director of the Ion Channel Research Unit, and Vice Chief of the Section of Basic Science (Division of Cardiology).

  • After twenty years of exemplary service, Dr. Neal Flomenbaum stepped down as Chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and Emergency Physician-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Flomenbaum is now Chief of Emergency Medical Services at the medical center and Emergency Physician-in-Chief Emeritus. Dr. Rahul Sharma, formerly Executive Vice Chief for the Division of Emergency Medicine and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell, became the Emergency Physician-in-Chief on February 1.

  • Petra Pharma, a life science company co-founded by Dr. Lewis C. Cantley and funded by Accelerator Corporation, a biotechnology investment and management company, will collaborate with Weill Cornell Medicine to develop small molecule inhibitors to treat cancer and metabolic diseases. Dr. Cantley has also been awarded the 2016 Wolf Prize in Medicine from the Wolf Foundation for his groundbreaking discovery of a family of enzymes that are fundamental to understanding diabetes and cancer. The prize is considered Israel's "Nobel Prize," and is given annually to scientists and researchers who have made seminal achievements in their fields.

  • Our faculty has published a variety of exciting research publications that move the needle forward in understanding some of the major disorders affecting the physical and mental wellbeing of our population. Some recent findings include a new class of experimental drugs that may treat fatty liver and diabetes more effectively, the molecular nature of aggressive neuroendocrine prostate tumors, and the genetic underpinnings of anxiety.
  • 2016 will be a year of transition for Weill Cornell Medicine, but it was already going to be a turning point. We launched our new name just a few months ago, and that gives us an opportunity to define who we are and what we want to be with greater assertion and direction. I thank you all for your efforts, which ultimately translate to a better experience for patients worldwide.

    With warm regards,
    Laurie H. Glimcher, MD
    Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean
    Weill Cornell Medicine

    Posted March 3, 2016 10:35 AM | Permalink to this post