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Dean's Letter - May 2015

Dear Weill Cornell Community:

Students come to Weill Cornell because they want to make a difference. Many have dreamed of becoming doctors their entire lives, and they are drawn to medicine because of their passion for learning and their desire to help others. At Weill Cornell, they have the experience of receiving an excellent education, including exposure to an innovative new curriculum, while having all of the wonders of New York right at their fingertips.

Our vision is that after four years of medical school, our graduates will take what they've learned at Weill Cornell, build on that foundation throughout their careers, and become the health care leaders of tomorrow. And this year's class seems poised to do just that. This past March, we had the best Match Day ever at Weill Cornell, with 91% of our students in New York matching to residency positions at the top 50 research medical institutions as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. In Qatar, all 39 students who submitted an application for residency were successful. We are immensely proud of our newest batch of young doctors and scientists, and as they continue on in their training, hope they always remember a core message from their time at Weill Cornell: Keep the patient at the center of everything you do.

We've also had a number of other exciting advances in education, clinical care, and biomedical research in the past few months. I'd like to highlight just a few:

• We launched a Neuro-Oncology program at our medical center with the appointment of Dr. Howard Fine as Chief of the new division. Dr. Fine also serves as the Director of the Brain Tumor Center and Associate Director for Translational Research in the Meyer Cancer Center. He previously built two of the top neuro-oncology programs in the country, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health, and he comes to us most recently from New York University.

Dr. Silvia Formenti joined us as Chair of our newly established Department of Radiation Oncology, as well as Associate Director of Radiation Oncology at the Meyer Cancer Center. She is an international expert in the use of radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer and was previously Chair of Radiation Oncology at NYU Langone.

• Also very exciting was the decision of Dr. Harold Varmus, the former director of the National Cancer Institute, to join our faculty as the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine. He officially started on April 1 and will be continuing his longtime research on lung adenocarcinoma as part of the Meyer Cancer Center. Dr. Varmus is also serving as one of my senior advisors and is a Senior Associate Core Member at the New York Genome Center.

• The Tri-Institutional Tuberculosis Research Unit, which is headed by Dr. Carl Nathan at Weill Cornell, received a 7-year, $45.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. This project will expand ongoing efforts to screen compounds and develop new drugs through collaborations with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's TB Drug Accelerator program and pharmaceutical companies. Support from Abby and Howard Milstein through the Milstein Program in Chemical Biology and Translational Medicine led to great strides in research on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and malaria and helped lay the groundwork for this Tri-Institutional consortium.

• The GHESKIO clinic, the focus of our global health program in Haiti, opened a 35-bed tuberculosis clinic in Port-au-Prince to replace a facility that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The new Ludwig Pavilion was funded through support from Becton-Dickinson, USAID, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Weill Cornell, and GHESKIO. Next door is a laboratory that researchers in the Tri-Institutional Tuberculosis Research Unit will use to conduct investigations in TB infection biology.

• Weill Cornell established the Family Friendly Postdoctoral Initiative, which is designed to provide technical support to outstanding postdoctoral trainees who are primary caregivers for an infant or child. The program will provide approximately 10 grants of $50,000 per year for one or two years, and applications are now being accepted on a quarterly basis.

• The Belfer Research Building has achieved LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council in recognition of its sustainable design and green construction. It is only the second laboratory building in New York City to receive a LEED Gold rating, which is the second highest level of certification possible.

• Faculty have published high-profile studies on topics ranging from the bacteria in the New York City subway system, a new procedure to correct newborn ear deformities, and the value of HIV prevention.

Thank you to all of you for your continued support, which makes each aspect of our success possible. We've had a very productive and exciting academic year, and I am looking forward to starting another one in the fall. Together, we will continue to keep Weill Cornell on the vanguard of medicine and healthcare.

With warm regards,

Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D.
Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean
Weill Cornell Medical College
Provost for Medical Affairs
Cornell University

Posted May 13, 2015 9:56 AM | Permalink to this post