New Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College Dr. Laurie Glimcher has ambitious plans for the future of the 114-year-old institution she now leads.
Within 10 years, Glimcher plans to boost the medical college’s eminence, double the amount of funding it receives from the National Institute of Health and recruit 30 new “top-tier” physicians and scientists.
Glimcher outlined these objectives and others in her inaugural address in New York City on Jan. 5.
“We have much to do and it won’t be easy to do it, but I know that together we can accomplish astonishing things,” Glimcher said during her speech, according to a University press release. “Let us all be pioneers together over the next decade to build the strongest academic medical center in this country.”
Glimcher — who succeeded Dr. Antonio Gotto, Jr., Weill’s former dean, on Jan. 1 — plans to fund her initiatives through the medical college’s ongoing $1.3 billion capital campaign, according to Stephen Cohen, executive vice provost of the medical college. Glimcher said she also plans to raise money for medical school scholarships to address a looming physician shortage, appoint an associate dean for faculty development and build stronger relationships between Weill and its partner institutions and satellite campuses.
Much of Weill’s philanthropic efforts will focus on recruiting and supporting faculty, according to Cohen.
Glimcher said she also hopes to raise Weill’s national rankings, saying that she believes rankings are helpful in highlighting institutional weaknesses.
A medical school’s ranking is determined by its reputation and the quality of its students and biomedical research, in addition to other attributes, Glimcher said. Her objective is “for Weill to be a first rate biomedical research enterprise: the premier biomedical research institution in New York City,” according to the press release.
By improving Weill’s rankings, the college will also be able to strengthen its recruiting.
“Top researchers want to go to a top notch school,” she said.
Glimcher’s goal to double Weill Cornell’s NIH funding follows Congress’ announcement January that it is decreasing the amount of funding the NIH can award to universities and medical colleges. Still, so far, the NIH has avoided large budget cutbacks, according to Cohen.
“The extramural NIH budget is distributed across hundreds and hundreds of research institutions … Even if you added up the NIH awards to the top 60 institutions in this country, you would barely come to half of the NIH extramural budget,” he said.
Additionally, Cohen said, Cornell has not been significantly affected by NIH cuts because it has been able to “successfully compete to win sponsorship and grant awards that would have gone to other institutions.” Last year, the medical college received $158 million, or around 70 percent, of its research funding from the NIH.
Weill plans to harness NIH funding to make advances in laboratories that can be translated into clinical practice, according to the press release.
“Physicians and scientists must use government money to translate bench research into treatment of human disease,” Glimcher said in her speech.
Cohen echoed this sentiment.
“We are interested in clinical research and taking lab inventions and seeing how readily they can be converted into pharmaceuticals. It is up to Dr. Glimcher to outline a vision based on our traditions,” Cohen said.