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May 2021 Dean's Letter

Commencement is traditionally a time of new beginnings for graduates.  Earlier this month, Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar celebrated its fourteenth class of doctors, consisting of 41 individuals from 13 countries around the world.  On Thursday, May 20 at 12 pm, we are delighted to cheer on our newest doctors, researchers, physician assistants, and healthcare leaders in New York at our Virtual Commencement Ceremony (livestreamed at https://weill.cornell.edu/graduation-2021).

We are so proud of all of our students for their hard work and accomplishments throughout their time at Weill Cornell Medicine, and especially for their extraordinary flexibility and resilience during the pandemic.  As our newest alumni embark on the next phase of their careers, there are so many opportunities for them to have an impact.  Caring for patients, striving for equity in healthcare, researching ways to advance medicine, and strengthening our system of healthcare delivery are so important, now more than ever.

This May is also a time of transition for all members of our community, as we start to imagine life after the pandemic.  We have come a long way since the word “coronavirus” first entered our common vocabulary, and we should feel a sense of pride and optimism about where we are now.  With our collaborative culture, spirit, and grit, Weill Cornell Medicine is closing out the academic year in a strong position, and we have found innovative ways to address the challenges of recent months.

Here are a few examples:

  • We opened a COVID-19 vaccination site in March in the Belfer Research Building to increase access to the vaccine for patients and employees.  The Clinical and Translational Science Center, in partnership with the Community Healthcare Network and FEMA, is also running vaccination sites at faith based-institutions in underserved and underrepresented communities in New York City.  A hundred medical students have been certified according to New York State guidelines to serve as volunteer vaccinators.
  • We hosted our third annual Diversity Week at the end of April, which brought together national thought leaders, WCM experts, and members of our community at more than thirty-five lectures, discussions, and events.  We celebrated the varied backgrounds and perspectives that enrich our institution and reaffirmed our commitment to greater equity in healthcare, academic medicine, and the working and learning environment.
  • Our investigators continue to publish a high volume of cutting-edge research on COVID-19, as well as many other topics.  I encourage you to peruse the selection highlighted on our Newsroom and to read about additional updates in the following pages.

Looking forward, I am extremely excited about the fundraising campaign for Weill Cornell Medicine that we will be launching in June, as part of an overall Cornell University campaign.  Our institution is poised to accelerate efforts in patient care, research, and education, and the campaign will enhance opportunities for us to maximize our impact on science, medical technology, and healthcare.  Stay tuned for more information soon!

While there is still much to do to tame the global COVID-19 pandemic, I am confident that with your continued leadership and dedication, we will get through to the other side of the tunnel.  Thank you so much for all your contributions to Weill Cornell Medicine and to our communities, especially during this time.

Sincerely,

Augustine M.K. Choi, MD

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