Vision Statement

June 2017

Weill Cornell Medicine aspires to attain the highest levels of excellence in clinical medicine, biomedical research, and education. Unparalleled growth over the past two decades has brought us to a point where our ability to improve health is greater than ever before. With a clear mission and strong core values, we are poised to build on our rich legacy and launch another decade of advances.

As a community, our shared commitment to care, discover, and teach invigorates our efforts:

  • We strive to provide patients with the most innovative and compassionate care by our incredible doctors, every single day.
  • We seek to make the fundamental discoveries that underlie advances in medicine.
  • We are driven to improve the health of communities both locally and globally through groundbreaking translational and clinical research.
  • We aim to train the next generation of physicians and scientists who will lead the way in shaping medicine and healthcare for the future.

Today Weill Cornell Medicine has an unprecedented opportunity to increase momentum and accelerate growth across our mission. We are a triple threat and are set to become one of the leading institutions in academic medicine nationwide.

Background

Since being appointed dean of Weill Cornell Medicine, my first priority has been to convene our entire community to shape a collective vision for our future. For the past several months, I have met extensively with senior administration at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell University, members of our Board of Overseers, and leadership of NewYork-Presbyterian and partner institutions. I have visited each of our academic departments, centers, and institutes to engage with faculty clinicians, researchers, and educators. Students, trainees, and faculty representing different constituencies have also reached out to introduce themselves. To gain the broadest and most comprehensive sense of the issues facing our community, I additionally held a Town Hall meeting open to all.

Consensus

Weill Cornell Medicine is in the midst of transformational changes, fueled by three previous strategic plans aimed at various components of our mission ("New Horizons for Medicine" 1993-1999, "Advancing the Clinical Mission" 2001-2005, "Discoveries That Make a Difference" 2006-2013). As a result, we have a solid foundation from which to leverage our traditional strengths in clinical care and education, combined with steadily increasing capacity in research.

Like other academic medical institutions in the US, we face complex challenges, including spiraling healthcare costs, reduced reimbursements, increasing hospital consolidations, and a sustained low payline for research grants from the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies. These difficulties are compounded in our current political environment and heightened in the unique competitive market of New York City. Surrounded by three other academic medical centers in Manhattan plus additional medical schools in the New York metropolitan area, Weill Cornell Medicine is situated within the most fiercely contested geographic area in academic medicine, unmatched by any major city in the US.

Integration and innovation are key to meeting these challenges head on.

  • Integration across our mission will enable us to advance as a triple threat on all fronts simultaneously. Patient care, biomedical research, and education are closely intertwined and function synergistically, demanding greater coordination between departments and continued investment across our institution. Increased collaboration between biomedical researchers and clinicians will also accelerate the development of new diagnostics and therapies to benefit our patients.
  • Innovation in clinical, research, and educational programs and initiatives will carry us into the future. To adapt to changing circumstances, we need to develop new solutions to care delivery, enhance our ability to translate laboratory discoveries to the marketplace, and imagine new ways to prepare our students and trainees for impactful careers. We need to cultivate a spirit of discovery and invention across our mission.

Weill Cornell Medicine must continue to grow - not just for the sake of growth, but in a directed and targeted manner. Our strategy for continued growth must ensure that we are able to increase market share in an era of healthcare consolidation, compete with peer institutions in attracting the best students and faculty, and have the capability to bring scientific discoveries swiftly to the clinic. We must also continue to focus on increasing our research portfolio and make funded research one of our highest priorities.

This course will require unity of purpose and greater efficiency across our medical school, graduate school, and physician organization. A blended mission and a commitment to excellence and innovation will guide our course for the future.

Priorities

Within the overarching framework of integration and innovation, major priorities for Weill Cornell Medicine include:

  • Academic Collaboration across Cornell University: Many opportunities are emerging to increase collaboration between students and faculty at Cornell's Ithaca and New York City campuses, especially with the opening of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island. Shared educational and research cores, joint academic programs, and entrepreneurial alliances in areas such as bioinformatics, biomedical engineering, and genetics will increase efficiency across campuses, draw on complementary strengths, and augment the societal impact of our endeavors.
  • Partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian: We must continue to strengthen our relationship with our partner NewYork-Presbyterian as both institutions strive to increase market share while delivering high-quality services. Through ongoing collaboration and the integration of primary care physicians and specialists/subspecialists within our networks, Weill Cornell Medicine is working with NewYork-Presbyterian to expand our clinical enterprise at our Upper East Side campus and at affiliate hospitals in Lower Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
  • Recruitment and Retention of Faculty and Trainees: Recruitment and retention of world-class clinicians and scientists are paramount to our success, as we expand clinically and our translational research centers mature. Strengthening our pipeline to develop the best and most diverse group of students, trainees, and early-career faculty will secure the future of our academic enterprise, as we seek to lead the nation in research areas including cancer, cardiovascular disease, children's health, precision medicine, neuroscience, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Mentorship at all levels, through formal programs and informal relationships, is especially important in nurturing the next generation of leaders and allowing us to advance more efficiently across our mission. As we focus on integration across our mission and between departments, centers, and Cornell campuses--collaboration on a horizontal axis--we will also foster a pervasive ethic of mentorship that will facilitate the sharing of expert knowledge vertically between individuals at all stages of their careers.
  • Education: Weill Cornell Medicine enjoys a long history of excellence in medical and graduate education and is continually seeking ways to improve the learning experience for our students. Near-term goals include the continued rollout of our new medical curriculum, a positive accreditation site visit from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in 2018, and a significant expansion of our educational space and student services to meet the needs of our current students and compete for the most talented applicants.
  • Philanthropy and Private Funding: The importance of philanthropy and alternate funding sources cannot be overstated, given the unstable and unpredictable nature of clinical reimbursements and government funding for research and education. Supporting our investigators in developing research alliances with the biopharmaceutical industry and cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship are essential strategies to ensure the effective translation of research to the clinic.
  • Diversity: The healthcare challenges we face as a society, including an aging population and a rapidly shifting system of delivery, demand all of the resources that we can marshal. We need people from all over the world, with different perspectives, different abilities, and different approaches, to help us discover new solutions. Our goal is to be a national leader in advancing diversity and inclusion within academic medicine.

Weill Cornell Medicine's greatest resources are the people who make up our community--the students, trainees, faculty, and staff who propel us forward. Since my first days on campus, I have found this environment to be one of the most collegial and collaborative I have ever experienced. Now as dean of this great institution, I want to affirm my commitment to transparency, inclusiveness, and consensus building. Through teamwork and collaboration, we will be able to meet our challenges and successfully execute our plans.

Next Steps

Weill Cornell Medicine's mission and vision statements will serve as the guiding principles for our next strategic plan. This plan will incorporate diverse stakeholders across our institution, including faculty leadership and members of our Board of Overseers. The first step will be a strategic planning retreat involving department chairs, institute and center directors, and senior administration to take place in mid-June. We will keep you informed throughout the strategic planning process. Our goal is to build on our longstanding traditions and culture, while adapting to the changing and dynamic world of academic medicine as it emerges in New York City in the 21st century.