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Dean's Letter - October 2015

Dear Weill Cornell Community:

Much has changed in the world since 1898, when Cornell University founded its medical college. And nowhere have the changes been more profound than in the development and delivery of healthcare. From national and international collaborations in research and education to patient care that employs technology and therapies our predecessors could only have dreamed of, our institution has been at the forefront of the medical revolution. To reflect these advances, on October 6 we launched our new brand, Weill Cornell Medicine, which embodies the full breadth of our mission to provide world-class patient care, educate the next generation of top physicians, and conduct cutting-edge biomedical research.

To that end, we're starting the second year of our innovative new curriculum, incorporating feedback from students and faculty. We are expanding our patient care footprint throughout the five boroughs and continuing to recruit leading investigators to bolster our research enterprise.

We've had a number of other exciting developments over the past months. I'd like to highlight just a few:

  • • A very generous gift from Overseer Israel Englander and his wife Caryl names the Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. This investment will expand the scope of the Institute, which uses genomic sequencing to customize therapies for cancer patients. The Institute will now emphasize dermatological malignancies; genetic disorders; and metabolic, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases.
  • • Cornell's Department of Biomedical Engineering has been transformed with a $50 million endowment gift into the Nancy E. and Peter C. Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering. A number of collaborations between Weill Cornell Medicine and the Meinig School are currently underway, and we expect the synergy to produce exciting breakthroughs.
  • Beth Garrett was inaugurated as the 13th president of Cornell University on September 18. At Cornell, Garrett is a tenured faculty member in the Law School, the Department of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. She is the first woman to lead the university. Before coming to Cornell, Garrett was Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern California.
  • Dr. Leonard Girardi, O. Wayne Isom Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery has been named Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery. In his new role, Dr. Girardi will maintain and enhance the department's distinguished clinical and research programs.
  • • Dr. Margaret Polaneczky, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been appointed Assistant Dean, Human Research Compliance. In this newly created position she will oversee activities of the Institutional Review Board, Data Safety and Monitoring Board, and Conflicts of Interest programs within Weill Cornell Medicine to ensure research conduct meets the highest standards and subjects are well protected.
  • Dr. Karla Ballman joined us as Chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research. She is a renowned biostatistician specializing in clinical trial design, with expertise in cancer research and precision medicine. Dr. Ballman was most recently at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
  • Dr. Monika Safford has been named chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She is a physician-researcher with expertise in patient-centered research on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and health disparities. Dr. Safford joins us from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Robert Winchell has been appointed Director of the Trauma Center and Chief of the Division of Trauma, Burns, Critical and Acute Care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Winchell helped build the state trauma systems of Maine and Texas and joins us from Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston.
  • • To more closely align the Medical Education Department and the Graduate School, we have integrated the administrative support into one unit: Education Administration. Dr. Jacob Sneva, previously the Administrative Director for Weill Cornell Graduate School, leads the new unit as Director of Education Administration.
  • • Six junior physicians from Weill Cornell Medicine and two from Houston Methodist Hospital completed a successful 4-day workshop in New York as part of the Mentored Clinical Research Training Program led by Dr. John Leonard. This program dedicated to training junior physician-researchers and expanding the clinical research enterprise is now in its third year.
  • • Among the research that has been published in the past few months, I would like to highlight several papers describing: gender differences in survival after successful surgical treatment of pediatric gliomas, how ovarian cancer cells shut down the immune response, and the identification of a repair mechanism that maintains intestinal tissue integrity.

I am happy to share with you the impressive efforts taking place across Weill Cornell Medicine. Thank you for your support, which is critical to achieving our goals. Together, we will continue to move healthcare forward and bring the best to our patients—the center of everything we do.

With warm regards,

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

Posted October 7, 2015 11:23 AM | Permalink to this post