Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi Named Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine


Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, an internationally renowned physician-scientist in the field of lung disease, has been named the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell University’s provost for medical affairs. Choi has served as interim dean of Weill Cornell Medicine since June 1, 2016.

Choi was recruited in 2013 as the Sanford I. Weill Chairman and Professor of Medicine in the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and as physician-in-chief of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Previously, he was the Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Choi leads a rapidly growing institution, which includes a physician organization that is expanding throughout New York City, thriving programs in biomedical discovery and clinical and translational research, and top-ranked medical and graduate schools. Based on his experience as a clinician, researcher, entrepreneur and mentor, he plans to advance diverse initiatives across Weill Cornell Medicine’s mission of improving human health.

Among his main priorities as dean will be expanding clinical services into Lower Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn with hospital partner NewYork-Presbyterian. In the context of a shifting and complex health care environment, Weill Cornell Medicine will take a proactive approach to reach new patients and increase its cohort of clinical faculty, which currently numbers more than 1,200 physicians.

Another key area of focus will be joint research, academic collaborations and entrepreneurial partnerships across all of Cornell’s campuses that will pool intellectual resources across faculty with complementary interests and bolster efforts to recruit and retain the best scholars, trainees and students.

In addition, Choi will strengthen Weill Cornell Medicine’s research enterprise through faculty development, enhanced research support and ongoing recruitment. An increased emphasis on entrepreneurship will help speed the translation of research projects from bench to bedside and contribute to New York’s burgeoning biotech industry.

“I send my warmest congratulations to Dr. Augustine Choi on his appointment as dean,” said Martha E. Pollack, who will become Cornell’s 14th president April 17. “I am deeply impressed by his intellect, his candor, and his obvious passion for advancing Weill Cornell Medicine’s mission in patient care, discovery and education. I look forward to furthering collaborations across campuses and to working jointly with him to enhance the university’s strengths in the life sciences.”

“Throughout the extensive national search to find the most highly qualified candidates to lead Weill Cornell Medicine, Augustine kept rising to the top,” said Hunter R. Rawlings III, Cornell’s interim president and co-chair of the search committee that selected Choi. “As interim dean, he has already engaged multiple constituencies – among Weill Cornell’s faculty and leadership, across Cornell’s campuses, at NewYork-Presbyterian and partner institutions, and throughout Cornell’s broad network of supporters and friends. I found him to be a consummate leader as interim dean, and I am excited that he will be guiding Weill Cornell Medicine during the next chapter of its illustrious history.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Weill Cornell Medicine as interim dean for the past seven months,” said Choi, “and being selected as dean is both an incredibly humbling and a joyful experience. I am ready to intensify my efforts on behalf of our students, trainees, faculty and staff and to guide Weill Cornell Medicine into the future as it strives to attain new levels of excellence. I am certain that, working together, we are a triple threat and can make lasting and impactful contributions in health care, scientific discovery and education.”

The 19-member search committee, led by Rawlings and Jessica M. Bibliowicz, chairman of the Weill Cornell Medicine Board of Overseers, included board members and senior administrators from Cornell and Weill Cornell Medicine, faculty, alumni and NewYork-Presbyterian leadership. Choi was unanimously elected to his new position today by Weill Cornell Medicine’s Board of Overseers and the Executive Committee of the Cornell University Board of Trustees.

“I could not be more delighted for Dr. Choi or for Weill Cornell Medicine,” said Bibliowicz. “He is absolutely the best person to propel this institution forward and maintain its trajectory of extraordinary growth. He can guide our research and academic mission based on his extensive experience as a physician, scientific investigator and entrepreneur. He is a proven executive leader proficient at negotiating the clinical challenges confronting academic medical centers, and he is firmly committed to the importance of mentorship at all levels.”

“With Dr. Choi, we have found the ideal dean for Weill Cornell Medicine,” said Robert S. Harrison, chairman of the board of trustees. “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank the members of the search committee who dedicated much time and effort to conducting a listening tour with key stakeholders and ultimately identifying Augustine as our top choice. He has all the qualities we seek for this demanding position – strong academic credentials in research and teaching, an extensive background in delivering clinical care and exceptional leadership skills. I am particularly impressed by his commitment to transparency, inclusiveness and collaboration among the various Cornell campuses.”

“Dr. Choi is uniquely and perfectly placed to lead Weill Cornell Medicine further into the 21st century,” said Sanford I. Weill, chairman emeritus of the Weill Cornell Medicine Board of Overseers. “As department chair, he has amply demonstrated his prowess in growing clinical and sponsored research revenues, recruiting world-class scientific leaders and nurturing extremely talented individuals. He has a firm grasp of the issues facing Weill Cornell Medicine, he is a product of an institution that can promote from within, and he will hit the ground running.”

A distinguished investigator with a strong history of support from the National Institutes of Health, Choi has focused his research career on understanding how diseases of the lung, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute respiratory distress syndrome, develop in response to molecular, cellular and genetic triggers. Choi currently directs three clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that are examining whether inhaled carbon monoxide can be an effective therapy in diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, sepsis-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome, and pulmonary hypertension.

An innovator in all aspects of the academic mission, Choi has received numerous honors and awards, including the Johns Hopkins Physician Scientist Award; the 2010 American Thoracic Society Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishment; the 2015 J. Burns Amberson Lecture, which recognizes a career of major lifetime contributions to pulmonary research; and the 2011 Ho-Am Prize in Medicine, which is awarded for outstanding contributions to the development of science and medicine and is often referred to as the Korean Nobel Prize.

Dr. Choi is married to Dr. Mary E. Choi, associate professor of medicine in the division of nephrology and hypertension at Weill Cornell Medicine. She is a physician-scientist and a nephrologist who is leading investigations into the role of autophagy in diseases of the kidney. They have two sons: Justin, who is completing an internal medicine residency at the Yale School of Medicine, and Alex, who is a medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Background Information on Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi

Augustine M.K. Choi, MD is the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and Provost for Medical Affairs of Cornell University. He served as the Sanford I. Weill Chairman and Professor of Medicine in the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and as physician-in-chief of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center starting in 2013 until his appointment as dean.

Dr. Choi received his bachelor’s degree in 1980 from the University of Kentucky and his MD in 1984 from the University of Louisville. After completing his internship and residency in internal medicine at Duke and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins, he began his academic career in 1990 in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins. In 1998 he moved to an appointment at Yale, and in 2000 he became chief of the division of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2007 he was appointed the Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Choi has a longstanding commitment to the training of postdoctoral fellows and physician-scientists in lung diseases. An internationally recognized expert in the field, his research interests focus on the regulation and function of stress response genes in response to oxidative stress. His laboratory has contributed much to our understanding of the molecular regulation and function of heme oxygenase-1 and gaseous molecule carbon monoxide in lung disease, and it has studied this cytoprotective system in a variety of in vitro and in vivo models of lung and vascular disease. Dr. Choi’s research has advanced the study of carbon monoxide from basic biochemistry to novel potential therapies for multiple lung and non-pulmonary diseases, and he is currently examining whether inhaled carbon monoxide can be an effective therapy in humans. He is also interested in genomic approaches to identify candidate genes important in the pathogenesis of lung diseases, in particular sepsis/acute respiratory distress syndrome and emphysema. His laboratory has recently focused on the role of autophagy, a normal physiological process of intracellular degradation, in acute and chronic lung diseases. While at Harvard, Dr. Choi launched his own company devoted to improving the treatment of patients with lung disease.

Dr. Choi has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles in publications such as Nature Immunology, Nature Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as numerous book chapters and editorials. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. Dr. Choi is currently funded by multiple NIH R01 grants, has two program project grants, and is directing three clinical trials of experimental therapies.

With more than 25 years of experience as an academic medical center faculty member and administrator, Dr. Choi demonstrated exceptional leadership as chair of the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine, which comprises 16 divisions and more than 1,700 full-time and voluntary faculty. Under his leadership, the department underwent extraordinary growth, with its number of full-time faculty increasing by more than 50 percent. Dr. Choi drove major advances in the scope and strength of the department, raising its stature and reputation among peer institutions and patient communities. He spearheaded the recruitment of top-tier academic leaders in both clinical care and research, including senior recruits for gasteroenterology and hepatology, general internal medicine, cardiovascular medicine, and pulmonary and critical care medicine. He developed and expanded programs for students, trainees and early-career faculty, including clerkship experiences, research opportunities, and mentoring support. Enhanced grant application support and faculty recruitment led to a significant increase in sponsored research funding for the department, while clinical revenues increased through geographic expansion to population centers off-campus, a greater number of clinical faculty, and operating efficiencies.

Weill Cornell Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine is committed to excellence in patient care, scientific discovery and the education of future physicians in New York City and around the world. The doctors and scientists of Weill Cornell Medicine—faculty from Weill Cornell Medical College, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and Weill Cornell Physician Organization—are engaged in world-class clinical care and cutting-edge research that connect patients to the latest treatment innovations and prevention strategies. Located in the heart of the Upper East Side’s scientific corridor, Weill Cornell Medicine's powerful network of collaborators extends to its parent university Cornell University; to Qatar, where Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar offers a Cornell University medical degree; and to programs in Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Weill Cornell Medicine faculty provide comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens. Weill Cornell Medicine is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.

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Weill Cornell Celebrates President Garrett's Inauguration


Elizabeth Garrett, the 13th president of Cornell University, heralded a future of greater collaboration at her Sept. 21 introduction to Weill Cornell Medical College.

President Garrett, who was inaugurated on Sept. 18, said to administrators, faculty and students at a reception at the Belfer Research Building, that she believes deeper relationships between Ithaca and New York City can bring "an unprecedented level of excellence."

"I see a special synergy between our programs in New York City and on our Ithaca campus," President Garrett said to a fervent crowd of 350. "Cornell is not only established in an amazing college town that facilitates reflection and discussion, but we have a substantial and growing footprint in this great international urban center, full of energy and global connections. This is a combination that no other American research university enjoys."

Among Weill Cornell's advancements lauded by President Garrett are its expansion of biomedical research, the medical college's new curriculum, and the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science's master's degree programs in health informatics, and in health policy and economics. She also praised the Belfer Research Building, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in January 2014 that empowers scientists to translate groundbreaking discoveries into advanced patient care.

President Elizabeth Garrett

Weill Cornell Medical College hosted a reception on Sept. 21 to honor Cornell University President Elizabeth Garrett, who was inaugurated on Sept. 18. From left: Inauguration Steering Committee Co-Chair Joel Malina, Cornell Tech Dean and Vice Provost Dan Huttenlocher, President Garrett, Weill Cornell Dean Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, and Inauguration Steering COmmittee Co-Chair Gretchen Ritter.

President Garrett pointed to the development of the innovative Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island as a major opportunity for partnership and collaboration, suggesting faculty may have joint appointments between the New York City and Ithaca campuses. Precision medicine is another field that may bridge the locations, she said.

Investigators at the Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell and their counterparts in Ithaca can advance knowledge of the molecular and genetic underpinnings of disease, while scientists at Cornell Tech analyze and synthesize big data and small data to contextualize and promote a greater understanding of this burgeoning field. Humanists and health policy and legal experts, who assess the ethics and logistics of precision medicine, also play an integral role in furthering this work.

"We cannot allow physical distance to keep us from integrating all that we do in New York City with the long-established campus in Ithaca, which will always represent the wellspring of the Cornell spirit," President Garrett said.

The event also marked an opportunity to celebrate President Garrett's appointment as Cornell's first female president, coming on the heels of the university's sesquicentennial. Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell, who introduced Garrett to attendees, remarked that women — including herself and Weill Cornell Board of Overseers Chairman Jessica M. Bibliowicz — now form an important triumvirate in medical college and university leadership.

"Some people say we're witnessing history," Dr. Glimcher said. "I say it's about time."

President Garrett previously served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California, overseeing its Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Keck School of Medicine; 16 professional schools; and other administrative departments.

Cornell Tech Dean and Vice Provost Dan Huttenlocher introduced Dr. Glimcher, and said he thinks Garrett "is a tremendous new president."

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Gift Names Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine


A significant investment in Weill Cornell's leading precision medicine program by Overseer Israel Englander and his wife Caryl will expand the scope of the institution's approach to understanding and treating disease through therapies customized to patients' unique genetic profiles.

The gift names the Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. The institute uses genomic sequencing to better understand the factors that drive disease development and progression and identify treatments that are most likely to be effective for each patient. The Englander Institute has focused on cancer since its inception in 2013 and this generous gift will widen its mission to emphasize dermatological malignancies as well as metabolic diseases, cardiovascular disease, genetic disorders, and respiratory diseases. The Institute plans to eventually offer precision medicine to as many as 6,000 cancer patients a year.

"Precision medicine is the future of healthcare," said Dr. Mark Rubin, director of the Englander Institute, the Homer T. Hirst III Professor of Oncology in Pathology, and a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and of pathology in urology. "Physician-scientists at the Englander Institute are making critical discoveries that are changing the lives of our patients and expanding our breadth of scientific knowledge. The Englanders' gift provides us with the resources to further capitalize on this tremendous opportunity."

The gift to Weill Cornell will support the recruitment of six investigators — including a leader in immunotherapy and three computational biologists — to expand the capabilities of its physician-scientists. It will also fund pilot grants for innovative, multi-investigator projects; outfit the Englander Institute with the latest technology and computational resources; and establish an endowment to ensure that it remains at the vanguard of the field.

"We are deeply grateful to the Englanders for their visionary gift, which will enable Weill Cornell to transform the way we practice medicine," said Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "Precision medicine offers great hope for understanding and treating some of the most formidable diseases of our time, and the Englanders' support will ensure that we can continue our work to enhance the care we provide our patients, both now and into the future."

Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett said, "The Englanders have our thanks and admiration for their generosity and targeted investment in the future of one of medicine's most promising fields and an area in which Cornell sets the pace."

"We are immensely appreciative of our generous supporters Caryl and Izzy Englander, whose confidence in the power of precision medicine to enhance human health is as inspiring as it is essential to spark scientific discovery," said Jessica M. Bibliowicz, chairman of Weill Cornell's Board of Overseers. "The Englanders' investment in Weill Cornell will help us expand a robust culture of innovation and maintain our position as a national leader in this field."

"Philanthropic support is critical for the advancement of translational research," said Sanford I. Weill, chairman emeritus of Weill Cornell's Board of Overseers. "Our friends Caryl and Izzy Englander have made their generous gift in an area that holds enormous promise for patients and in which Weill Cornell excels. Joan and I are incredibly grateful."

Computational biologists at the Englander Institute analyze tumor sequencing data and summarize the key clinical and genetic findings into physician-friendly reports that are seamlessly integrated into Weill Cornell's electronic health record system. Using these reports, a team of interdisciplinary specialists, including radiologists, pathologists, computational biologists, basic scientists, oncologists, and surgeons determine the best treatment options for each patient. With patients' permission, tissue samples from sequenced tumors are then saved in a biobank for further research.

The Englander Institute's expanded program will target areas of oncology including melanoma, a rare but serious form of skin cancer that the American Cancer Society estimates will kill about 10,000 of nearly 74,000 Americans diagnosed with it in 2015. Recent breakthroughs in melanoma research have yielded new treatments that target genetic mutations driving the disease, but it has been unclear which patients would most benefit from them; Institute investigators will try to identify those patients. Weill Cornell will recruit an investigator who specializes in melanoma research and provide support for research in immunotherapy, which uses the immune system to attack tumor cells.

"Groundbreaking research over the last few years has revolutionized our understanding of melanoma's molecular changes, bringing newfound hope to patients with advanced metastatic disease for whom treatment has been particularly challenging," said Dr. Richard Granstein, chairman of the Department of Dermatology and the George W. Hambrick, Jr. Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell. "With our expertise in genetic medicine and the Englanders' generous support, we expect to give our patients another powerful reason to hope."

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The Englander Institute’s expanded program will target additional areas of oncology including melanoma, a rare but serious form of skin cancer. Front left, Chair of Dermatology Dr. Richard Granstein, and front right, Englander Institute Director Dr. Mark Rubin. In white coats, from left, physician-scientists Drs. Jonathan Zippin, Himisha Beltran and Olivier Elemento. Photo credit: Jason Andrew/Getty Images/WCMC
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State of the Medical College: Weill Cornell Celebrates Momentous Year


It's been an exceptional year for Weill Cornell Medical College that unveiled an innovative curriculum, heralded the opening of the new Belfer Research Building and celebrated an expansion of its clinical footprint in metropolitan New York.

Standing in front of Uris Auditorium on Dec. 12 for her annual State of the Medical College address, Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell, lauded these and other triumphs that she said have bolstered Weill Cornell's position as a global healthcare leader dedicated to providing the best care to patients.

"These multiple transformations taking place in medical education, biomedical research and patient care will have an enormous impact on our medical school and will help set its course for years to come," she said.

Training the Next Generation of Physicians and Scientists

The Class of 2018 collectively has the highest ever undergraduate grade point average in the history of Weill Cornell, and their MCAT scores tied with a previous class for highest ever at the medical college and were fifth highest in the United States. Medical college officials selected these 101 students from nearly 6,400 applications — the highest number of applicants for an incoming class in 15 years.

The class is the first to learn under Weill Cornell's new curriculum, which transforms the paradigm of medical education by integrating basic science with clinical care so that students can immediately apply what they are learning in the classroom to patients. It focuses on a cross-disciplinary, thematic view of medicine. Dr. Glimcher said students are reporting high levels of satisfaction with it.

The Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences is thriving under the leadership of Dean Dr. Gary Koretzky, Dr. Glimcher said. It has accepted the highest quality students this year, with most of them having published an article in a journal or having one under review before they matriculate. And the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program — "one of the jewels in our crown," Dr. Glimcher said — accepted 18 students this year thanks to the perfect score it received in 2013 in its NIH Medical Scientist Training Program grant renewal.

Qatari citizens comprise 27 percent of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar's incoming class, achieving the location's goal of helping to build a talented cadre of physicians for the country, Dr. Glimcher said. To strengthen this pipeline program, WCMC-Q is restructuring its curriculum to integrate its premedical and medical programs into a cohesive, six-year medical-education program.

Building a Robust Biomedical Research Program

More than 45 faculty programs have moved into the Belfer Research Building since it opened in January, and the built-out floors are now at 75 percent occupancy. Construction crews are currently building out three more of the shelled floors, with completion expected by late summer, Dr. Glimcher said. Hunter College and a dozen of its scientists will soon move into the fourth floor.

Since 2012, Weill Cornell has successfully recruited nearly 50 top-flight researchers to pursue groundbreaking translational research. Among them are immunologists focusing on gastrointestinal diseases who complement the medical college's GI clinicians.

"We have always been outstanding in clinical care for GI diseases — wonderful surgeons and GI physicians," Dr. Glimcher said. "We now have, I think, a scientific clinical enterprise in GI medicine that is the best in New York City."

Collectively, the recruits have successfully secured new research funding from the National Institutes of Health — despite steep cuts to its budget — helping Weill Cornell buck the national trend.

"We are a rare institution where the amount of NIH funding has actually grown rather than decreased," Dr. Glimcher said.

But Weill Cornell is not immune to the challenges facing all academic medical centers. In addition to seeking out NIH grants and lobbying New York State to provide biomedical research support, Weill Cornell has forged more than a dozen research alliances with the biopharmaceutical industry to advance promising early- stage applied and translational research into innovative therapeutics for patients. And the first projects selected for funding by the Daedalus Fund for Innovation were announced this fall to help Weill Cornell investigators make research that has commercial potential more appealing to industry partners.

"The most effective way to get discoveries that are made in the lab into new therapeutics for patients is to partner with industry," Dr. Glimcher said. "We can move these promising basic science projects ahead with greater speed and efficiency if we team up with the private sector."

Expanding Clinical Care

The Weill Cornell Physician Organization has had enormous growth, with a 37 percent increase in patient visits. This upward trajectory will likely continue as the organization expands its footprint in the metropolitan area to provide more New Yorkers with its exceptional clinical care. It has added more than 150 physicians to its ranks at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital and will open a new primary care practice on the Upper East Side. It also will establish new outpatient units at 156 William St. and 40 Worth St., as well as expand services offered by Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian.

"This is a rapidly growing organization, which I think is necessary because clinical care is at the heart of what we do and it is the economic engine by which we are able to carry out our missions in research and medical education," Dr. Glimcher said.

Leadership Transitions

After two decades of visionary leadership, the medical college announced earlier this month that Sanford I. Weill was retiring as chair of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers on Jan. 1. Jessica Bibliowicz, a successful entrepreneur in the financial services business, was announced as his successor.

"Sandy has given his heart and soul, passion and commitment, and I really can't think of any other person who has shaped a medical school over such a long period of time to the extent that he has," Dr. Glimcher said. "But we will be gaining another talented leader, and I am really thrilled that Jessica Bibliowicz will be lending her skills and expertise to us."

Cornell University also named Elizabeth Garrett, provost at the University of Southern California, as Cornell's next president, effective July 1. She will succeed President David J. Skorton, who will become the next secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

"Dr. Skorton is an absolutely marvelous president of Cornell University," Dr. Glimcher said. "I think he will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents of any American university. But we are fortunate to have Beth Garrett join us. She's an extremely talented leader who has done wonderful things at USC and we look forward to integrating her into the medical college here."

This new triumvirate in medical college and university leadership is notable not just for the wealth of expertise they each bring, she added.

"It's not so bad to have three leaders who have two X chromosomes," Dr. Glimcher quipped. "That's got to be pretty unique."

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Sanford I. Weill Retires as Chair of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers After 20 Years of Transformative Leadership


Jessica M. Bibliowicz, Successful Business Executive, Named New Chair of the Board

NEW YORK (December 9, 2014) — After 20 years of bold and visionary leadership that has transformed Weill Cornell Medical College into a global healthcare enterprise, Sanford I. Weill will retire as chair of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers on Jan. 1. Jessica M. Bibliowicz, a successful entrepreneur in the financial services business for nearly three decades, who has served on the Board of Overseers for the past decade, will succeed Mr. Weill, the new chair emeritus.

Jessica M. Bibliowicz and Sanford I. Weill

Jessica M. Bibliowicz and Sanford I. Weill. All photos: John Abbott

The transition comes as the 116-year-old medical college embarks on a new chapter that builds upon the landmark successes Mr. Weill has realized in his two decades as chair. His enduring dedication to the institution that bears his name has resulted in an unprecedented expansion that is exemplified in Weill Cornell's excellence in medical education, biomedical research and clinical care. In collaboration with medical college leadership, Ms. Bibliowicz will help lead Weill Cornell as it continues to break new ground in New York and abroad by expanding its clinical enterprise and forging public-private partnerships that accelerate groundbreaking scientific discoveries for patients. Working closely with Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College, Ms. Bibliowicz will help guide its transformation of medical education and drive dialogue on innovative healthcare delivery models that optimize the value and quality of patient care.

"When I joined the Board of Overseers more than 30 years ago, I was driven to try and make a difference in the world," Mr. Weill said. "It's truly humbling to see just how much of an impact Weill Cornell has had around the globe, and I believe we are poised to thrive far into the future. Weill Cornell Medical College is more to me than just an esteemed medical school — the people here are my extended family. I could think of no one better than Jessica to shepherd Weill Cornell into the next stage of its evolution."

"It's an honor and privilege to be able to support Weill Cornell Medical College's tremendous efforts to educate, innovate and heal," Ms. Bibliowicz said. "As a Cornell University alum, it's especially meaningful to me to try and help take this distinguished institution to the next level of excellence in New York and beyond. Our ever-changing healthcare landscape has sparked exciting opportunities to help shape national conversation, and I'm eager to work with Dr. Glimcher and the Board of Overseers as we strive to improve and prolong human health."

Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, Sanford I. Weill and Jessica M. Bibliowicz

In the three decades he has served on the Board of Overseers and in the two decades he has been chair, Mr. Weill has been much more than a governing force. His benevolence and unwavering resolve to ensure a healthier future has touched every program area at Weill Cornell, establishing the medical school as an innovator in basic, clinical and translational research, and forging a new paradigm for global engagement and medical education.

Under Mr. Weill's leadership, the medical college has built bridges nationally and abroad. Weill Cornell forged an affiliation with Houston Methodist in Texas and, with Cornell University, established a medical school in Doha, Qatar. Since its inception in 2002, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, which offers a Cornell University medical degree, has created 181 new doctors who have continued their graduate medical training in residencies and clinical research at outstanding institutions in the United States and Qatar. The Weill Cornell Qatar location has also established a world-class biomedical team and contributed to Qatar's goal of becoming a knowledge-based economy. In addition, Weill Cornell in 2007 established a formal affiliation with Bugando Medical Centre and the Weill Bugando University College of Health Sciences in Mwanza, Tanzania, named in recognition of the Weills' support. Weill Bugando has graduated an average of 100 new doctors every year for the past seven years in Mwanza, expanding Tanzania's core of providers who are empowered to deliver the best patient care, despite a resource-limited setting. This unique educational partnership has spurred new possibilities for cultural exchange, providing medical students at Weill Cornell in New York and residents at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital with the opportunity to spend a month or two in Mwanza practicing medicine the way it used to be, with limited modern technology. They return to New York with a greater sense of gratification that reaffirms their commitment to global health and a career in academic medicine.

In recognition that building a healthier future also requires training an exceptional cadre of new doctors and scientists, Mr. Weill and his wife Joan in 1992 established the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Education Center, the heart of the medical college's education program, with their first gifts to Weill Cornell. The Weill Education Center comprises the Weill Auditorium and 20 classrooms and teaching laboratories outfitted with modern audio-visual, networking and wireless technology to provide the next generation of medical professionals with the best environment for learning.

Sanford I. Weill

In 2007, Weill Cornell opened the Weill Greenberg Center in New York City, the medical college's flagship and award-winning ambulatory care center, and in January opened the adjacent Belfer Research Building, a transformative 18-story, state-of-the-art facility that ensures that the medical college remains at the forefront of scientific discovery. Their proximity to each other ensures that breakthroughs made in the laboratory can be rapidly applied to patient care as improved treatments and therapies. Weill Cornell has successfully recruited some of the world's leading physicians and scientists to conduct this translational research. Last year, the Weills established the Weill Center for Metabolic Health, which strives to understand the basic biology and genetics of diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome, and translate discoveries into next-generation therapeutic approaches. Weill Cornell is conducting a national search for a renowned scientist to lead these efforts.

A self-made man who exemplifies the philosophy of leading by example, Mr. Weill, Mrs. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation have generously given more than $550 million in gifts to support Weill Cornell Medical College. They include a groundbreaking $100 million gift in 1998 — at the time the largest in Cornell University's history — a second $100 million gift in 2002, a $250 million gift in 2007 and another $100 million gift in 2013 to establish the Weill Center for Metabolic Health, as well as the Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation Global Health Research Laboratories. In honor and appreciation of their unparalleled dedication and enduring commitment, the institution in 1998 was renamed Weill Cornell Medical College. With an additional gift of $50 million to Cornell University, the Weills' total giving tops $600 million.

The Weills' altruism inspired and galvanized Weill Cornell's numerous, loyal donors to support the medical college. In Mr. Weill's 20 years as chair, the medical college has raised $3 billion. Earlier this year, Weill Cornell celebrated the Weills' legacy by naming its department of medicine the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine.

"What Sandy has done for Weill Cornell, New York and the world is just breathtaking — it's a labor of love that will touch the lives of generations," Dr. Glimcher said. "His unwavering leadership, profound magnanimity and steadfast resolve to enhance medical education, advance discoveries and enrich clinical care is his lasting legacy. Jessica is an outstanding choice to assume Sandy's mantle and steer Weill Cornell into the future. I couldn't be more thrilled for what's to come."

"Sandy is a businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, visionary leader, chairman emeritus of Citigroup, Cornell alumnus and my good friend," said Cornell University President David Skorton. "As chair of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College, he has nurtured the college's growth, guided its progress and expanded its capacity for rigorous medical education, path-breaking research and superb clinical care — to the enormous benefit of our students, faculty, researchers and patients. I am delighted that Jessica Bibliowicz, who has provided exemplary leadership to the university and the medical college, has agreed to take on this new role as chair of the Board of Overseers."

"It is impossible to overstate the impact that Sandy has had on Weill Cornell Medical College, and on the whole of Cornell University, during his time as chair of the Board of Overseers," said Robert Harrison, chair of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. "He is someone who can not only articulate a strong and inspirational vision, but also bring people together to do what it takes to make the vision a reality. Although I will miss working with Sandy, I am very much looking forward to working with Jessica in her new role. She has been a very effective trustee and overseer for many years and clearly has the talent and energy to lead the Board of Overseers and the medical school to new heights."

About Jessica M. Bibliowicz

A Cornell University graduate in 1981 and after working 18 years in financial services, Ms. Bibliowicz became CEO of National Financial Partners in 1999, a financial services firm that specializes in benefits and wealth management. The company went public in 2003 and was sold to Madison Dearborn in 2013. Ms. Bibliowicz joined the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers in 2004. She is also a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees and a member of the Cornell NYC Tech Campus Task Force. Currently, Ms. Bibliowicz is a senior advisor at Bridge Growth Partners and serves on the board of directors of Sotheby's(NYSE: BID); Realogy (NYSE: RLGY); and the Asia Pacific Fund (NYSE: APB). She is a board director/trustee of Prudential Insurance Funds and is also on the board of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Cornell University is the first in the U.S. to offer a M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.

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