History

Weill Cornell Medicine is a leading academic medical institution with a strong mission to care, discover and teach. On both a local and global scale, it is dedicated to enhancing human health by providing exemplary and individualized patient care, making groundbreaking biomedical discoveries, and educating generations of exceptional doctors and scientists.

From its inception in 1898, Weill Cornell Medicine—known at the time as Cornell University Medical College—has been committed to educational innovation. Its first students included a large proportion of women at a time when most medical schools were single-sex and met some of the toughest admissions requirements in the country. Its educational philosophy has traditionally been academically rigorous, combining a strong foundation in the basic medical sciences with extensive clinical training in patient care and, today, with cutting-edge educational technologies.

In 1913, Weill Cornell Medicine became affiliated with what is now NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and in 1932 the two institutions opened a joint campus on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. This location is the current site of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, one of the nation’s top academic medical centers offering innovative and evidence-based clinical services across the spectrum of disease.

Throughout its history, Weill Cornell Medicine physicians and scientists have made groundbreaking medical and research advances including the Pap test for cervical cancer, the first “double-blind” controlled experiment to test the efficacy of drugs, the synthesis of penicillin, and the synthesis of the hormone oxytocin that is crucial to childbirth. Today, faculty members continue to translate laboratory discoveries into new treatments and therapies for patients, while incorporating the latest genomic technologies and computational methods.

Weill Cornell Medicine’s powerful network of collaborators includes its parent university, Cornell University, as well as NewYork-Presbyterian, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and Hospital for Special Surgery. Building on its commitment to education and to biomedical research, Weill Cornell Medicine in 1952 established the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Strong collaborations between Weill Cornell Medicine, the Sloan Kettering Institute and The Rockefeller University were cemented with a number of Tri-Institutional initiatives including the flagship Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D Program in 1991.

Weill Cornell Medicine is strongly committed to extending its mission to improve the health of people around the world, and it maintains relationships with more than 20 international partners on six continents. In 2001, Weill Cornell Medicine, with Cornell University, established Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, the first medical school created by an American university overseas. A transcontinental affiliation with Houston Methodist, forged in 2004, was the first of its kind. Since 2006, the Weill Bugando School of Medicine in Tanzania has been an important site for student, trainee and faculty exchange.

Weill Cornell Medicine’s core values have remained steadfast throughout its history, although its name has changed. In 1998, amid its centennial celebration, the institution was renamed in appreciation for the leadership of foremost benefactors Joan and Overseer Chair Emeritus Sanford I. Weill. And in 2015, the institution was rebranded Weill Cornell Medicine to capture more fully its mission to care, discover and teach.