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Dean's Letter - October 2014

Dear Weill Cornell Community:

The 2014-2015 academic year marks a time of dramatic and exciting change for Weill Cornell.

Thanks to the herculean efforts of many of our faculty and students, we’re launching a new curriculum for the first time in nearly two decades. Its major goals are to add innovative curricular elements, update our teaching methods to enhance student learning, and improve the coordination and consistent management of the curriculum. Classes began in August with the Essential Principles of Medicine segment for first-year students. I am happy to report that our entering class is enjoying a more interactive and cutting-edge course of study this fall, one that we hope will make them more curious and more compassionate doctors long into the future.

Meanwhile, dozens of labs have been moving into the Belfer Research Building since it opened in January. Investigators across disciplines have set up residence and are reaching the critical mass necessary for real innovation to take place. I am confident that the combination of a collaborative environment, world-class physician-scientists, and state-of-the-art technologies is going to produce something truly special.

To broaden our reach in patient care, we have expanded our clinical services throughout New York City. Almost 150 physicians have joined Weill Cornell in the past year, with the majority seeing patients in Lower Manhattan. We’ve introduced a new site for Weill Cornell physicians at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital, in addition to two other sites downtown and one on the Upper West Side. This fall we will be opening a new primary care site on East 85th Street that will add almost 20 new Weill Cornell physicians to the area.

Like so much of what we do at Weill Cornell, our new curriculum and our efforts to expand our research and clinical enterprises are motivated by our desire to provide the best care possible to our patients. These developments will undoubtedly have a transformative effect on Weill Cornell for years to come, but their impact will extend to patients far beyond our campus on York Avenue.

This past summer was as busy as usual, and I’d like to highlight just a few items:

• Our incoming class of medical and graduate students in New York is a fabulous group. This year we have a total of 83 students entering the M.D. program, 18 in our M.D.-Ph.D. program, and 51 in our Ph.D. programs. We have slightly more women this year, with a total of 79. The class includes 73 men. Our students are extremely talented and come from a wide range of backgrounds. Eighteen percent of the medical students are from groups underrepresented in medicine, and 22 percent come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The median MCAT was 36.

• The entering class at Weill Cornell in Qatar is equally accomplished and consists of 27 women and 14 men. Thirty-three out of the 41 students were admitted upon completion of the WCMC-Q premedical program, and four were former WCMC-Q premedical students who ended up graduating from Carnegie Mellon in Qatar or from Cornell University in Ithaca. In addition, the class includes students from 20 countries, and Qataris make up the largest group with 11 students (approximately 27 percent of the entering class).

• We have established the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This translational research hub will be directed by Dr. David Artis, the Michael Kors Professor of Immunology, a new recruit from the University of Pennsylvania.

• Two scientific symposia highlighted research advances at Weill Cornell and around the country. In June, the Medical College hosted the Ansary Symposium on Stem Cell Research. The event marked the 10th anniversary of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute, which was established in 2004 with a generous gift from Shahla and Ambassador Hushang Ansary, a Life Overseer. In September, we held the Milstein Program in Medicinal Chemistry Symposium. This symposium was made possible by Abby and Overseer Howard Milstein, who established the Abby and Howard P. Milstein Program in Medicinal Chemistry. The symposium, "From Target to Treatment," focused on the importance of collaboration and partnership in therapeutics discovery.

• Our faculty have published major studies on topics ranging from drug resistance in mantle cell lymphoma to financial abuse of the elderly to the emergence of consciousness following anesthesia.

This academic year holds a lot in store for Cornell University, as it celebrates its Sesquicentennial and sees a transition of leadership to its 13th president, Elizabeth Garrett. As we look forward to everything that 2014-2015 will bring, I’d like to thank you all for supporting Weill Cornell in every part of its mission.

With warm regards,

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

Posted October 9, 2014 12:42 PM | Permalink to this post