New Admissions Deans Appointed at Weill Cornell Medical College

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Dr. Kevin Holcomb, a prominent gynecologic oncologist with a longstanding commitment to medical education and leadership, has been named associate dean for admissions at Weill Cornell Medical College, effective July 1. Dr. Jessica Peña, an expert in cardiology and a dedicated mentor of students, residents and fellows, has been appointed to the newly created position of assistant dean for admissions.

Dr. Holcomb will lead the Office of Admissions, which oversees recruitment and selection of candidates applying for Weill Cornell Medicine’s MD program and also works in close collaboration with the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program on its admissions. Dr. Holcomb succeeds Dr. Charles Bardes, who will continue in both his clinical role at Weill Cornell Medicine and his career as a writer.

“Weill Cornell Medicine consistently recruits exceptional medical students whose undergraduate and professional achievements underscore their promise as physicians-in-training,” said Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. “As a deeply committed educator and proven leader, Dr. Holcomb is the ideal choice to identify and champion the next generation of healthcare leaders by helming our medical college’s Office of Admissions.”

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Dr. Jessica Peña

“Dr. Holcomb is a spectacular clinician, educator and mentor, and has been a valued member of the medical college’s admissions committee,” said Dr. Yoon Kang, senior associate dean for medical education at Weill Cornell Medicine. “He embodies the best of Weill Cornell Medicine values—those we hope to foster in all of our students – and I look forward to working closely with him and Dr. Peña to continue to build our pipeline of talented, innovative and committed future doctors.”

A dedicated medical educator who has been recognized for his commitment to medical education and mentorship, Dr. Holcomb, vice chairman of gynecology and director of Gynecologic Oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, received the Council on Residency Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology National Faculty Award in 2002 and 2004 and the Bruce L. Ballard, M.D. Award for Excellence in Mentorship in 2019. A strong proponent for diversity and inclusion in medicine, Dr. Holcomb has, for many years, engaged and mentored underrepresented men in the pursuit of careers in medicine. He serves as the faculty advisor for Weill Cornell Medicine’s Black and Latino Men in Medicine interest group and advisor to Cornell University’s Black Biomedical and Technical Association.

“Weill Cornell Medicine each year welcomes outstanding new students whose passion for medicine and drive to become the best, most compassionate doctors is inspiring and a reflection of the unique power of education to make a difference,” Dr. Holcomb said. “I am thrilled that in this role, and that of educator and mentor, I can cultivate our future physicians and healthcare leaders.”

Dr. Holcomb earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his medical degree from New York Medical College, and completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine. He served as director of gynecologic oncology at Mount Sinai Beth Israel before returning to Weill Cornell Medicine in 2006, where he is an associate professor in clinical obstetrics and gynecology. 

Dr. Peña, the new assistant dean for admissions, specializes in cardiovascular prevention and lipidology. She is an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and director of HeartHealth, the clinical cardiovascular prevention program of the Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine. A native of Brooklyn, Dr. Peña participated in two Weill Cornell Medicine pipeline programs designed to nurture the healthcare interests of high school and college students from populations that are underrepresented in medicine. She graduated with a medical degree from Weill Cornell Medicine, where she received the Janet Glasgow Memorial Achievement Award and Joan Severino Prize in internal medicine. She also completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and earned a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. She serves on the Weill Department of Medicine’s intern selection committee.

Under Dr. Bardes’s leadership, Weill Cornell Medicine welcomed 21 outstanding classes of medical students, distinguished by their academic accomplishments, breadth and depth of experience, creativity and diversity of backgrounds. Dr. Bardes will continue his responsibilities as a professor of clinical medicine and shift his focus to his patients in internal medicine and his writing on illness, the culture of medical practice and medical education.

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