March 2023 Dean's Letter

When I began my role as Interim Dean in January, I expressed my commitment to providing Weill Cornell Medicine stability and continuity through transition and to sustaining and building upon the momentum we have around our core missions to care, discover, and teach. I was confident then that 2023 would be another exceptional year for us, and I have every reason to remain so confident. 

Our institution is filled with stories of innovation, inclusion, collaboration, and accomplishment. Among them:

  • With our We’re Changing Medicine campaign total at $991 million and counting, we are past the halfway point in our eight-year fundraising goal of $1.5 billion. 
  • More than 400 WCM physicians across 65 medical specialties are included in the 2023 “Top Doctors” guides — listed among the top one percent of the nation’s physicians and among the top ten percent of the region’s specialists — by  Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a New York City research and information company. 
  • Some 20 major competitive research awards totaling $49,656,655 were received by members of the WCM community between November 1, 2022, and January 31, 2023.
  • An experimental male contraceptive drug candidate developed by Dr. Jochen Buck and Dr. Lonny Levin, Professors of Pharmacology, temporarily stops sperm in their tracks and prevents pregnancies in preclinical models. The study, published in Nature Communications, demonstrates that an on-demand male contraceptive is possible and could be a “game-changer” for contraception. 
  • Between October 1 and December 31, 2022, Enterprise Innovation reported 12 patentable invention disclosures (not including disclosure related to the tangible materials).
  • Ph.D. recruitment is in full swing at our Graduate School, and our Medical School recently awarded prizes to students for poster presentations on everything from the effects of a ketogenic diet on tumor and host response in endometrial cancer to radiosurgical treatment planning and response assessment in meningiomas to management and eye screening practices for diabetic and hypertensive patients at the Weill Cornell Community Clinic.
  • More than 500 graduates of WCM-Q are currently serving successful careers as physicians, scientists, and academics at leading institutions in Qatar and internationally. 
  • The WCM Executive Committee on Diversity and Inclusion released our 2020/2021 Diversity Report, which reviews the important initiatives and programs we executed despite the pandemic and outlines how we adapted under everchanging circumstances while remaining dedicated to the fundamental principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • Seven WCM faculty and staff members received awards and honors from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Immunologists, the American Medical Women’s Association, the Diamond Awards, and the Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation.
  • Our partner organizations continue to be ranked among the top healthcare facilities nationwide, and many colleagues across those organizations have been newly appointed to chair positions, elected to medical societies, and recruited to the boards of peer-reviewed journals.

Thank you for being a valuable part of our community and for your support as I transition into this role. As I serve, I am looking to cultivate and deepen relationships, empower leadership, and build upon the cultural fabric of our institution, where everyone feels a sense of purpose in our work and a sense of belonging in our interactions. 

I look forward to sharing more achievements and milestones with you in the future. 


Francis Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Interim Dean, Weill Cornell Medicine
Interim Provost for Medical Affairs, Cornell University