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March 2022 Dean's Letter

As we look forward to brighter, warmer days, I want to acknowledge one of the most distinctive things about Weill Cornell Medicine—our culture of collaboration.  Whether we’re at a patient’s bedside or in a lab, classroom, office, or remote workspace, we are united in our efforts to advance knowledge, improve healthcare, and support each other while doing it. 

Throughout the past two years, we’ve seen students and colleagues step up countless times and find innovative solutions—together—to the most daunting challenges.  This collaborative spirit is truly special, and I know that it will carry us through this pandemic and beyond.

Weill Cornell Medicine continues to move ahead across its mission to care, discover, and teach, thanks to your creativity and teamwork:

  • We are well over halfway toward our $1.5 billion goal in the We’re Changing Medicine campaign.  Launched in June 2021 as part of Cornell University’s $5 billion dollar campaign To Do the Greatest Good, the Weill Cornell campaign is the first in our history to synergize all three institutional missions.
  • With partner NewYork-Presbyterian, we are expanding our physician practices in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan to better serve New Yorkers and patients around the world.
    • Weill Cornell Medicine faculty at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and its new Center for Community Health now provide care in many specialties such as urology, rehabilitation medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.
    • Cancer patients in Brooklyn have greater access to cutting-edge therapies through a wide range of Weill Cornell-based clinical trials.
    • A recently opened practice in Long Island City is increasing our presence in Queens.
  • Our researchers are gaining insights into how genetics, environment, and lifestyle contribute to health and disease and are moving toward increasingly individualized prevention and treatment strategies.  Among many outstanding examples, here are a few.
    • A patient living with HIV may have been cured after receiving a blood stem cell transplant for high-risk acute myeloid leukemia.  She has been free of the virus for 14 months after stopping HIV antiretroviral drug treatment.
    • Faculty at Weill Cornell Medicine recently received funding to create a Center of Excellence in Genome Sciences, which will develop new tools to study the modifications in RNA that lead to different levels of proteins in healthy tissues and in states of disease.  It is also participating in a new COMMUNITY Center in New York City that aims to reduce health disparities in patients with multiple chronic diseases.
    • A team led by collaborating researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, and Qatar Foundation have assembled a large genomic database on the Qatari people and have used it to develop a critical screening tool for genetic diseases in this population.
    • Our investigators continue to improve our understanding of COVID-19, by studying a drug that may protect against lung injury, quantifying the effect of unrelated vaccineson the pandemic, and examining the timing of vaccination during pregnancy.
  • Educational innovations are preparing students to be global leaders in a complex biomedical and healthcare environment.
    • The Weill Cornell Friedman Nutrition Program will span all phases of the medical curriculum and provide students with the knowledge and skills to understand the role of nutritional science and practice in health and disease.
    • Collaborations between the Mwanza Intervention Unit, Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Weill Bugando School of Medicine have led to a new research training program to develop HIV clinical investigators in Tanzania.

I am so proud to be part of our incredible community and grateful to be working with you to change medicine together.

Sincerely,

Augustine M.K. Choi, MD

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