This time of year always inspires reflection on the past and excitement for new beginnings to come — never more so for me than this year.
As you know, this will be my final letter to you as dean, and Dr. Francis Lee, chair of our Department of Psychiatry, will become interim dean on Jan. 1, 2023. These last more than six years have been among my most memorable and meaningful, in large part thanks to you. Your relentless dedication to advancing our mission is remarkable, and often humbling.
- The early numbers show that our debt relief scholarship program for all medical students with demonstrated financial need, which launched in 2019, is having a strong, positive impact. Two-thirds of students who have enrolled in our MD program have benefited from the debt initiative since its implementation. While the caliber of our entering students remains as high as ever, more of them are socioeconomically disadvantaged and alumni of public undergraduate institutions.
- Funding from the National Institutes of Health has increased by 75% since 2018. Twenty-seven WCM faculty have been newly elected to some of the most prestigious scientific societies in the past five years. We have recruited many academic thought leaders while fostering the development of talented faculty already within our community.
- With NewYork-Presbyterian, WCM celebrated the opening of the David H. Koch Center, the enterprise-wide integration of electronic health records through Epic Together, and the expansion of care offerings in Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Long Island City, and Southampton.
- Weill Cornell Medicine physicians have seen a 24% increase in professional fees between FY 2018 and FY 22, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have implemented focused initiatives to improve patient access, enhance care, and grow telemedicine services.
- Weill Cornell Medicine has been awarded the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the fifth year in a row, recognizing the institution’s exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Finally, WCM has longstanding pipeline programs and newer initiatives to be proud of, such as Diversity Week, the Office of Institutional Equity, the Diversity-Mentorship Collaborative, and the Blackwell Society.
This is not a goodbye, as I am eager to continue our work together as a physician, mentor, and researcher, but as I close this note and my privileged tenure as dean, please allow me to say thank you. Thank you for all you have done to make Weill Cornell Medicine the strong and respected institution it is. Thank you for supporting Dr. Lee as he assumes his new role, and for continuing to care, discover, and teach.
May you and yours have a happy and healthy season of reflection and new beginnings.
Augustine M.K. Choi, MD
Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean
Weill Cornell Medicine
Provost for Medical Affairs