Eileen Sheil, an accomplished leader in health care communications, has been appointed assistant vice provost for communications and public affairs for Weill Cornell Medicine, effective Feb. 1.
In her new role, Sheil will jointly lead the Office of External Affairs and oversee its more than 40-member Division of Communications and Public Affairs, which encompasses functions including editorial, multimedia, media relations, social media, marketing and brand, and government and community affairs. The division is dedicated to increasing Weill Cornell Medicine’s profile as a premier global academic medical institution to the general public, current and future patients, and peers in academic medicine. She succeeds Mason Essif, who led the division for nearly a decade; Steven R. Singer, previously senior vice president and chief communications officer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has been serving in an interim capacity since January.
Sheil will report to Dean Robert Harrington and serve on his leadership team, working closely with mission deans and other executives to ensure alignment on strategic priorities. She will also collaborate closely with Cornell’s communications leadership in Ithaca, as well as with counterparts at hospital partner NewYork-Presbyterian, and affiliates including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and Hospital for Special Surgery.
“Eileen is an esteemed leader in strategic communications whose deep reservoir of experience in academic medicine and health care more broadly makes her perfectly suited to helm our communications and public affairs operations,” said Dr. Harrington, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and provost for medical affairs of Cornell University. “Her passion for health care and vision for compellingly communicating institutional achievements will be critical to our efforts to showcase Weill Cornell Medicine’s enduring strengths and future growth.”
An acclaimed leader in the industry, Sheil has dedicated three decades to health care communications, most recently as chief communications officer of medical technology company Cue Health. Prior to that, Sheil was vice president of global external communications for Medtronic and executive director of corporate communications for Cleveland Clinic.
“I am thrilled to join Weill Cornell Medicine’s leadership team and work with the highly talented communications and public affairs group,” Sheil said. “My experiences have touched all aspects of health care and I have a holistic view of the work we do. I believe in an integrated approach to advancing a strong reputation for an organization that makes a tremendous impact on peoples’ lives.”
Sheil’s experiences throughout her career have underscored for her the importance of health care public affairs and informed her approach to institutional advancement.
“Advances in health care and research touch everyone at some point in their lives,” she said. “Whether battling an illness or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it’s critical that the benefits of our work in science and medicine—which really help advance clinical care—are clear for patients and potential patients. Communications, marketing and government affairs play a crucial role in building that understanding and awareness.”
She also values the synergies between public affairs and development, functions that at Weill Cornell Medicine are unified under the Office of External Affairs. Sheil will co-lead the office with Lucille Ferraro, assistant vice provost for development.
“There are truly benefits to connecting the work that we do with the work of philanthropy. The existing partnership between the two is exciting and will allow for even more collaboration,” Sheil said.
About Eileen Sheil
A leader in global corporate communications, Sheil has broad experience in health care public relations, crisis management and digital communications. She received a bachelor’s of science in journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and a master’s in public administration from the Maxine Goodman Levin School of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.
Sheil began her career as an account coordinator at a Cleveland advertising agency, and two years later joined University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children Hospital in Cleveland as a media relations coordinator. In the three decades since, Sheil has gained prominence through a variety of leadership positions at Cleveland-based health care organizations, including director of advertising and public relations at Health Hill Hospital for Children, manager of communications and public affairs at Kaiser Permanente, Ohio Region, and executive director of corporate communications at Cleveland Clinic.
In recognition of her accomplishments, PR News in 2016 inducted her into its PR Measurement Hall of Fame and, that same year, PR Week ranked Sheil among the top 50 most influential health care communicators. Sheil served as a governor-appointed trustee of Ohio University, where she is also currently on the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine advisory board. She is also a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), a member of The Arthur Page Society and previously a member of the non-profit group of the International Association of the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC).