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Dean's Letter - October 2017

Dear Weill Cornell Medicine Community,

During the past several months, our country has seen dramatic shifts in policy and witnessed events that have deeply challenged our communities. Especially at this time, it is essential that we reaffirm--with frequency and conviction--our commitment to diversity, science, and the pursuit of knowledge. We stand by all members of our talented and wide-ranging Weill Cornell Medicine family, who hail from all corners of the world and are united in our desire to understand disease and improve human health.

To help meet the challenges and opportunities that we face, I held several strategic planning workshops with academic leaders over the summer to begin to identify our key priorities over the next five to ten years. Our discussions were lively, and a lot of information, ideas, and concerns were exchanged. We are in the process of conducting preliminary analyses of how we can best grow our clinical, research, and educational enterprises while still maintaining the same high level of quality throughout our institution. I will keep you updated as this process unfolds.

I have also mobilized my team of senior leadership, who will work closely with me to advance our mission. As with any new administration, there have been some recent changes in leadership. Colleagues at different points in their careers have decided to transition in and out of roles, and I have tried to optimize the structure of our senior administration to build on institutional and individual strengths. Mentorship, faculty development and retention are among my top priorities, as described in the vision statement I released in June, and I am proud to have built my team from talent within Weill Cornell Medicine.

Many of the members of my senior leadership team have served in their current positions for years, while others have taken on new responsibilities in recent months. Among those with new appointments or roles is Gary Koretzky, Vice Dean, who is focusing on academic integration across Cornell's campuses. His former position has been separated into two, allowing one individual, Carl Nathan, to lead the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences as its Dean, and another, Hugh Hemmings, to direct our research enterprise as Senior Associate Dean.

In the clinical arena, Mickey Stewart's role as Vice Dean has expanded to include additional responsibilities in faculty development, faculty affairs, and diversity. Peter Schlegel is our new Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, a position from which Dr. Stewart has stepped down. Robert Min becomes President and Chief Executive Officer of the Physician Organization in 2018, after Daniel Knowles steps down at the end of this year.

In addition, Lia Logio and Katherine Hajjar are new Associate Deans for Faculty Development and will be leading efforts to support career advancement and foster a culture of mentorship.

I depend and rely on my team as we work collectively to advance our mission to care, discover, and teach. They are the faces I see every day, and I know that they draw on and oversee the contributions of many, many people--the faculty and staff whose work and insight enrich our institution and make it unique.

Other recent leadership appointments include Adam Stracher as Chief Medical Officer of the Physician Organization and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Todd Evans as Associate Dean for Research, and David Christini as Vice Dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School. They will each play key roles as Weill Cornell Medicine continues to define its course for the future.

Finally, I would like to say a few words about the Dean's Letter itself, which I hope will become a more vibrant and dynamic form of communication for our Overseers, faculty, students, and staff. In these quarterly missives, I will address topics at the forefront of my mind, in order to keep you better informed about the life of our institution. I encourage you to take a look and hope you are enjoying the start of the academic year.


Augustine, M.K. Choi, MD

Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean
Weill Cornell Medicine

Provost for Medical Affairs
Cornell University