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December Dean's Letter

Dear Weill Cornell Medicine Community,

As 2019 draws to a close, I am extremely grateful for all that we have accomplished.  By all measures, Weill Cornell Medicine has had an outstanding year.  These seven examples stand out in my mind, among many more that I could cite.

1) Our efforts in research and education have been recognized on a national level, with Weill Cornell Medicine ranking No. 9 in U.S. News and World Report’s 2019 Best Medical Schools for Research listing.  This is the first time in the past twenty years that we have broken into the top ten.

2) In September we launched a historic initiative to eliminate medical education debt for all students who qualify for financial aid.  This debt-free program, which was made possible through the generosity of many visionary donors, will ensure that we continue to attract the best students, who will then be free to pursue disciplines in which they especially excel.

3) We took the lead in advancing the national dialogue on student mental health and well-being, an increasingly pressing concern for medical schools around the country.  A first-of-its-kind conference brought together stakeholders committed to supporting medical students to care for themselves, so that they can effectively care for patients throughout their careers.

4) We have experienced dynamic growth in our research enterprise over the past five years, an achievement that highlights our commitment to providing patients with the most advanced and innovative treatment options.  Since the opening of the Belfer Research Building in 2014, research support from the National Institutes of Health has grown by an impressive 50%.

5) Members of our Physician Organization continue to provide exceptional clinical care across specialties.  Since 2014, patient visits have increased by 33% and clinical revenues have grown by 48%, as we’ve expanded our patient base and increased our presence in Brooklyn and Queens.

6) For the second year in a row, Weill Cornell Medicine received the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.  There’s still more to be done to increase diversity and inclusion at all levels of the institution, and to reduce health disparities more generally, but we are honored to be recognized for new and ongoing initiatives in this area of our mission.

7) We are developing a robust culture of mentorship that will strengthen Weill Cornell Medicine across its missions.  Multiple new initiatives were started this year, including the JumpStart Research Career Development Program, Mentoring Chats with the Dean, and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship.

These successes across our missions reflect the work that we do every day to improve the health and lives of our patients.  Weill Cornell Medicine is leading the way in clinical care, research, education, mentorship, and diversity, and I look forward to seeing—with 20/20 vision—what we can accomplish together in the coming year.  I wish you and your families and friends the very best during the holiday season and into the next decade.


Augustine M.K. Choi, MD

Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean
Weill Cornell Medicine
Provost for Medical Affairs
Cornell University