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October 2021 Dean's Letter

As we settle into the 2021-22 academic year, the pandemic continues to evolve from an acute crisis to a somewhat more manageable situation.  There is no way to know what the months ahead have in store, but our students, faculty, and staff are adapting and rising to new challenges, day in and day out.  Thank you so much for your leadership, teamwork, and resilience, especially during these unique and historic times.

At Weill Cornell Medicine, we are advancing in our mission to care, discover and teach. 

  • We are working with our partner NewYork-Presbyterian to improve patient access, expand services, and enhance care. Our goal is to make it easier for patients to interact with their doctors, whether they call, schedule appointments online, or visit one of our practices.
    • We recently opened two new clinical practices in Southampton and in Long Island City that offer primary care and selected specialty services.
    • Behind the scenes, we are focusing on integrating and streamlining processes to make the patient experience seamless and more efficient.
    • And as part of our new "We're Changing Medicine" campaign, we're increasing our clinical research efforts and building up our programs in women's health, infectious diseases, and conditions that affect the heart, brain and metabolic system.
  • WCM's research enterprise is thriving, thanks to our strategy of recruitment, mentorship, and expansion of lab space.
    • Between fiscal years 2017-21, revenue from the National Institutes of Health increased by 74%, and the number of our faculty who are principal investigators on NIH grants increased by 47%.
    • To maintain this incredible trajectory, two years ago I charged a group of our academic leaders with reviewing our scientific landscape, for the first time in decades.
    • This process, which we call "scientific realignment," engaged approximately one hundred of our researchers. It outlined ten scientific areas in which WCM can achieve excellence and maximal benefit to our patients. It builds on our existing strengths, considers emerging topics, and provides a blueprint for our scientific future as a leading academic medical institution.
    • We believe that each of our investigators can find rich connections with others working in one of these areas. We look forward to fleshing out this vision, sharing more details, and making it a reality as our fundraising campaign progresses.
  • In terms of education, we are excited to welcome our new medical and graduate students to campus this fall.
    • The Medical College Classes of 2024 and 2025 received their official white coats, an important rite of passage for doctors in training.
    • Our first-year and second-year PhD students got to know each other on an evening boat cruise around Manhattan during orientation week, and like our Master's students, are excited to be interacting in the classroom.
    • This is the first year that the Weill Cornell Graduate School has enrolled doctoral students at our partner institution Houston Methodist. Several students in Houston entered the Physiology, Biophysics and Systems Biology program and are undertaking the same curriculum as students in New York.

As a community, we’ve been through a lot.  I believe that we have an exciting year ahead of us, and I thank you for everything you do to help patients, enrich science, and teach the next generation.  Together, we’re changing medicine.

Sincerely,

Augustine M.K. Choi, MD

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