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Weill Cornell Medical College Names Five Clinical Scholars, Recognizing Outstanding Junior Faculty

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$1 Million Gifts Supported by Endowed Gifts



Clinical Scholars in Public Health, Women's Health, Neonatology, Dermatology and Gene Therapy



NEW YORK (January 22, 2007) — Five physician-scholars have been granted newly established prestigious Clinical Scholar Awards by Weill Cornell Medical College. Funded through $1 million endowed gifts, each award recognizes an outstanding junior faculty member, providing financial support for three to six years for research and teaching. The following five faculty recently named are specialists in public health; women's health; neonatology; dermatology; and pulmonary and critical care medicine.

The recipients and awards include: Dr. John A. Carucci, the Clinique Clinical Scholar; Dr. Lisa Eiland, the Friedman Family Foundation Clinical Scholar in Newborn Medicine; Dr. Ben-Gary Harvey, the James P. Smith, M.D. Clinical Scholar; Dr. Lisa Kern, the Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Public Health/Clinical Evaluation; and Dr. Erica C. Jones, the Sanford B. Ehrenkranz Family Clinical Scholar in Women's Health.

"By enabling top-caliber junior faculty to advance their clinical expertise through biomedical research, the Clinical Scholars Program is a critical investment in Weill Cornell's research enterprise," says Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "It will also help us recruit and retain the best faculty, while ensuring the vitality of our mission, and our position among the nation's premier medical colleges."

Clinical Scholars, junior faculty who are either assistant or associate professors, are appointed by the dean and the Board of Overseers and serve an initial three-year term, renewable at the dean's discretion.

Established during the recently completed capital campaign, Advancing the Clinical Mission, the program connects donors directly with faculty and their research programs.


The Clinique Clinical Scholar


Dr. John A. Carucci, assistant professor of dermatology, has been named the first Clinique Clinical Scholar. This award will support Dr. Carucci's research on skin wellness, including protection and prevention.

"Dr. Carucci is an outstanding dermatologic surgeon who plays a very important role in the clinical and educational activities of our department. He is also maturing into an effective investigator and is one of the very few dermatologic surgeons in the United States pursuing a serious research side to his career," says Dr. Richard D. Granstein, the George W. Hambrick Jr. Professor of Dermatology and chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "I am very grateful to Clinique for making the award possible. It will result in important advances in cutaneous biology and will help to train future generations of academic dermatologists," says Dr. Granstein.

The Award was funded by a generous gift from Clinique in 2005, which also established the Clinique Skin Wellness Center at Weill Cornell. The Center represents a unique collaboration between a leading cosmetic brand and a major medical institution that focuses on skin wellness from both the clinical and research perspectives. The Clinique Skin Wellness Center will open in early 2007 under the direction of Dr. Granstein and will include state-of-the-art patient care, as well as collaborative research in such areas as stress and the skin, the neurobiology of the skin, and skin immunology. As the first cosmetic brand developed in collaboration with a dermatologist, Clinique has a 37-year history of supporting leading-edge skin biology research and physician outreach.

"Our commitment to aligning with cutting-edge dermatological science has always set Clinique apart from other brands. The Clinique Skin Wellness Center at Weill Cornell strives to combine the best of dermatology with the best in over-the-counter skin care," says Lynne Greene, Global President of Clinique.

Dr. Carucci received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the State University of New York, Health Science Center of Brooklyn, then served as a guest investigator at The Rockefeller University for one year. His work was recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Dr. Carucci received a three-year Dermatology Foundation Career Development Award in support of this work.


The Friedman Family Foundation Clinical Scholar in Newborn Medicine


Dr. Lisa Eiland has been named the Friedman Family Foundation Clinical Scholar in Newborn Medicine to fund clinical research in neonatology.

"This award will allow me to pursue important research on the impact of stress on the developing brain," says Dr. Eiland, assistant professor of pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College. "A premature infant in the intensive care environment is subjected to constant stress including constant lighting, high noise level, and frequent disruptions by health-care providers. Follow-up studies of very low birth-weight infants indicate significant cognitive deficits, in particular affecting learning and memory, in up to 40 percent of cases. Neuro-imaging studies of these children when they reach adolescence indicate selective vulnerability of the hippocampus."

"Since the 1970s, Weill Cornell physicians have been at the forefront of advances in the care of premature infants. Their pioneering work has enabled countless babies to thrive — and avoid health and developmental problems later in life," says Barbara Friedman. "Our family is delighted to be able to provide this new Clinical Scholar Award to support the work of an outstanding junior faculty member in this premier neonatology research program."

Barbara Friedman has served on Weill Cornell's Board of Overseers since 1993. Formerly a Trustee and Vice Chair of Cornell University, she continues as a Trustee Emerita and Presidential Councilor. She also chairs the Hebrew Union College Board of Governors. Her husband, Stephen, has served on the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs since 2002 and had previously been its Chairman. In 1997, the Friedmans endowed the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Fellowship for the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program. In 2003, Barbara and Stephen Friedman — both Cornell University Class of 1959 graduates — were recognized as Foremost Benefactors of Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University. With a gift to the Medical College's campaign, Advancing the Clinical Mission, the Friedman Family Foundation provided leadership funding to create the new Friedman Family Foundation Pediatric Research Laboratories, and endowed this new Clinical Scholar Award to support the work of an outstanding junior faculty member in neonatology.

Dr. Eiland received her B.A. cum laude in psychology from Harvard University, her medical degree from Yale University, and completed her pediatric residency and fellowship training at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She received a variety of honors during her residency and fellowship including two research awards. In 2005 she was awarded an Advancing Newborn Medicine Fellowship grant.


The James P. Smith, M.D. Clinical Scholar


Dr. Ben-Gary Harvey has been named the James P. Smith, M.D. Clinical Scholar. The award will fund research on the patterns of gene expression in the epithelial cells of the small lung airways of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Dr. Harvey is associate professor of clinical medicine and assistant attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

"As the James P. Smith, M.D., Clinical Scholar, I will focus on the biologic changes in the small airway epithelium in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and the reversibility of these changes with therapeutic intervention," says Dr. Harvey.

The award was established by the Starr Foundation in 2004 to support outstanding faculty in the field of cardio-pulmonary medicine. The gift was made in honor of Dr. James P. Smith, who was clinical professor of medicine in pulmonary/critical care medicine.

A native of Colombia, Dr. Harvey received his M.D. degree from Fundacion Universidad del Norte in 1985. In 1989, Dr. Harvey came to the United States and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Jamaica Hospital and SUNY Health Science Center, respectively. Subsequently, Dr. Harvey completed his fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Harvey joined the Weill Cornell faculty in 1995 as an instructor in medicine. Dr. Harvey is a strong clinician and researcher dedicated to the understanding of lung disease through the application of basic science to clinical pulmonary problems. Recently, he has developed clinical research interests in the area of gene expression in the airway epithelium in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Importantly, he has developed a methodology to sample the epithelium of small airways repetitively, an important advance since COPD starts in the small airways; and he has been at the center of the development of a parallel clinical research program in Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar.

The Starr Foundation was founded by Cornelius Vander Starr, founder of American International Group Inc., and is now led by Maurice R. Greenberg, the Foundation's chairman. One of the largest foundations in the United States, the Starr Foundation has generously supported Weill Cornell for many years, funding inititatives such as the C.V. Starr Laboratories of Molecular Neuropharmacology in Anesthesia and the Starr Foundation M.R. Greenberg Laboratories.

The Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Public Health/Clinical Evaluation


Dr. Lisa Kern has been awarded the Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Public Health/Clinical Evaluation.

"Since joining the Weill Medical College faculty in 2002, my research has focused on technology assessment and quality of care. I have conducted studies evaluating screening and diagnostic tests for diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. I am also studying the impact of health information technology on quality of care and other outcomes. This award will enable me to continue and intensify my work in both of these areas," says Dr. Kern, assistant professor of public health in outcomes and effectiveness research, and assistant professor of public health in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"There is an urgent need to improve the scientific basis for decisions that doctors and hospitals make about the acquisition and use of new drugs, medical devices and technologies," says Nanette Laitman. "Without this type of research, health-care costs will continue to rise and resources will be inefficiently consumed."

Dr. Kern received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and completed her residency in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She then received her M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University, where she was also a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar.

The Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholars Program is one of the most substantial endowments for junior faculty in the Medical College. The Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar Award in Public Health/Clinical Evaluation is the second of four clinical scholar awards to be funded by Ms. Laitman since September 2005. She has previously endowed the position of the chairman of the Department of Public Health. Nanette Laitman is the daughter of the late William and Mildred Lasdon, who were generous benefactors to Weill Cornell Medical College, and for whom Lasdon House, the Medical College dormitory, is named. Ms. Laitman has followed in her parents' footsteps as a major philanthropist, with a special interest in public health. Ms. Laitman is also president of the Board of Governors of the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City.


The Sanford B. Ehrenkranz Family Clinical Scholar in Women's Health


Dr. Erica C. Jones has been named the Sanford B. Ehrenkranz Family Clinical Scholar in Women's Health.

"As the recipient of the Sanford B. Ehrenkranz Family Clinical Scholar Award in Women's Health, I look forward to devoting additional time to cardiovascular research at the Women's Health Center and will lay the foundation for a clinical research academic career," says Dr. Jones. "I hope that this will eventually lead to collaboration with Weill Cornell's cardiac radiology program, to find more reliable ways to define coronary artery disease in women."

"Sandy Ehrenkranz has been a faithful supporter of the Medical College for more than 20 years. He has been a valued member of our Board of Overseers since 1985. Throughout his tenure on the Board, he has been actively involved in the fund-raising priorities of the Medical College, including serving as vice chairman of 'Advancing the Clinical Mission,' the College's capital campaign. With this generous gift, he continues to lead by example," says Sanford Weill, chairman of Weill Cornell's Board of Overseers.

A senior partner of Ehrenkranz & Ehrenkranz LLP, Sanford B. Ehrenkranz has been a supporter of Weill Cornell since 1981. In 1982, he founded Departmental Associates, an organization for lay people interested in supporting and following developments in medical research at Weill Cornell Medical College. He served as its chairman for 10 years, and is now chairman emeritus. He has been a member of the Board of Overseers since 1985. He funded the Werblow Lectureship in Cell Biology and, in 2000, Mr. Ehrenkranz and his wife endowed the Lisa and Sanford B. Ehrenkranz Professorship in Women's Health, a chair held by Dr. Orli Etingin. He was named Life Member of the NewYork Weill Cornell Council in 2002. Over the years, Mr. Ehrenkranz' philanthropy at Weill Cornell Medical College has focused specifically on research in the fields of neurosurgery, multiple sclerosis, ophthalmology, Alzheimer's Disease, psychiatry and chemotherapy.

Dr. Jones graduated from Northwestern University in 1987 and received her M.D. from New York Medical College in 1992. She completed her internship, residency and fellowship in cardiology at the Weill Cornell campus of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Jones joined the Medical College faculty as assistant professor of medicine in 1998 and was promoted to associate professor in 2004. Dr. Jones has taught clinical diagnosis to second-year medical students and has participated in clinical rotations with first-year medical students. She is also the co-investigator in two multicenter NIH trials designed to study the outcome of heart disease in thalassemia patients.


Weill Cornell Medical College


Weill Cornell Medical College — located in New York City — is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in such areas as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, AIDS, obesity, cancer and psychiatry — and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease in an effort to unlock the mysteries behind the human body and the malfunctions that result in serious medical disorders. Weill Cornell Medical College is the birthplace of many medical advances — from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., and most recently, the world's first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease. Weill Cornell's Physician Organization includes 650 clinical faculty, who provide the highest quality of care to their patients.
Lezlie Greenberg
leg2003@med.cornell.edu

Weill Cornell Medicine
Office of External Affairs
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