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$4 Million Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholars Program in Public Health Created at Weill Cornell Medical College

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Dr. Shari R. Midoneck Selected as First Laitman Scholar

NEW YORK (January 19, 2006) — Weill Medical College of Cornell University has announced the creation of the Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholars Program in Public Health, funded by a $3 million gift from the Laitman family and a $1 million matching gift made possible through the College's ongoing $750 million "Advancing the Clinical Mission" capital campaign. The Clinical Scholars Program will fund four endowed professorships in the areas of prevention (with a focus on women's health), clinical evaluation, community health, and quality of care research.

The first Laitman Clinical Scholar will be Dr. Shari R. Midoneck, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is Associate Attending Physician in the department of medicine at the Iris Cantor Women's Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The endowed professorship will allow Dr. Midoneck to pursue clinical research in preventive health in the area of women's health. Additional Laitman scholars will be announced in the coming months.

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

"Public Health is a rapidly changing field with many new demands and opportunities, including the treatment of chronic diseases and medically underserved populations; the evaluation and use of new technologies; and the escalation of health-care costs," says Dr. Alvin I. Mushlin, the Nanette Laitman Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Chairman of the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College. "Laitman Clinical Scholars will focus their research on these and related critical areas."

Scholars will be appointed by the Dean and the Board of Overseers and will serve a three-year term. Periodically, the Department of Public Health will hold conferences to feature the work of the Laitman Clinical Scholar Award recipients and their collaborating faculty.

The four Laitman Clinical Scholars will conduct research in the following public health areas:
  • The Laitman Scholar in Clinical Evaluation will pursue research studying the effectiveness of new technologies for pressing health issues, such as cardiovascular disease and gene therapy. Their research will also improve the methods for assessing the technologies of the future — such as less-costly and sometimes more feasible alternatives to randomized controlled clinical trials (RCT).
  • The Laitman Scholar in Prevention (held by Dr. Midoneck) will research women's health issues and promote the inclusion of women's health issues in both research and policy initiatives. Areas of interest include cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis, menopausal transition, and depression. This Scholar will help to continue and expand upon the research efforts already begun by the Women's Health Research Group, which was established by the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell in 2003.
  • The Laitman Scholar in Community Health will develop a research agenda focusing on the development and evaluation of imaginative and viable community health programs to combat chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Additionally, community initiatives may help to promote culturally and ethnically sensitive care, thereby reducing ethnic disparities in health outcomes.
  • The Laitman Scholar in Quality of Care Research will develop strategies, including the use of information technology, to prevent medical errors and substandard care. Furthermore, this Scholar will examine specific ways to improve the quality of medical care received by underserved populations, with chronic conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Nanette Laitman is the daughter of William and Mildred Lasdon, now deceased, 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. She has a special interest in public health. The Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholars Program is the largest endowment for junior faculty in any department within the Medical College. She has previously endowed the position of the Chairman of the Department of Public Health. Ms. Laitman is also president of the Board of Governors of the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City. She has two daughters, Bonnie Eletz and Cathy Seligman, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Leslie Greenberg

Weill Cornell Medicine
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