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March 2020 Dean's Letter

Dear Weill Cornell Medicine Community,

In the past two months, we’ve embarked on a new decade, entered a new Chinese zodiac cycle with the Year of the Rat, witnessed the first palindrome day in 909 years on 02/02/2020, and celebrated Leap Day.  It’s an auspicious start to the 2020s—and an especially exciting time for us at Weill Cornell Medicine.

What can we expect in the next ten years?  By 2030, one in every five Americans will be at least sixty-five years of age, with older adults outnumbering children for the first time in U.S. history.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population will be more racially and ethnically diverse, with the fastest growth occurring among multiracial individuals, Asians, and Hispanics.  About half of U.S. adults are projected to be obese.  Our society may confront a potential shortfall of tens of thousands of doctors.  It’s also likely to see some astounding advances in health technology.

To meet the healthcare challenges of the future, Weill Cornell Medicine needs to be daring and inventive, leveraging its unique resources and partnerships to propel medicine forward.  We’re in a great place already, and as we begin to implement our vision for the next decade—what we call Strategic Plan 4—we’re poised to drive further advances across our mission to care, discover, and teach.

By 2030, I’d like to think that our community will continue to be defined by its distinctive culture of collegiality and collaboration, as well as by its diversity and commitment to mentorship.  Our ability to improve the lives of patients—throughout New York City and beyond—will have increased, with enhanced services ranging from telemedicine to precision medicine to cutting-edge clinical trials.  Scientific discoveries that are still in their infancy today will have matured, fueling clinical innovations and a deeper understanding of the relationships between genomics, disease, and population health.  And our efforts to ensure the academic success and wellbeing of our students will have produced ten classes of scientists and healthcare leaders who are healthy, balanced, and professionally engaged.

Medicine is changing more rapidly than ever before.  At Weill Cornell Medicine, we are committed to ensuring that patients of all ages and backgrounds receive the highest level of customized, quality care.  Our scientists are developing new therapies for drug-resistant tuberculosis, lung disease, hepatitis C, and different types of cancer.  They’re using artificial intelligence to predict how experimental drugs might interact with cells, adapting technologies to help older adults with cognitive impairments, and addressing disparities in healthcare outcomes.  Going forward, we’ll be building our capacity in clinical research, especially in the areas of cancer, brain health, women’s health, and metabolic health, so that patients can benefit from the most cutting-edge diagnostics and therapies as soon as possible.

As we pursue new medical breakthroughs and train the next generation of physicians and scientists, our goal is to maximize our impact on human health.  The 2020s are ripe with possibility, and I am eager to work with each of you as we seek to define the future of medicine.

Sincerely,

Augustine M.K. Choi, MD

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