Dr. Rainu Kaushal, a distinguished health services researcher, information scientist and healthcare leader, has been appointed senior associate dean for clinical research at Weill Cornell Medicine. She will head the Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research, managing the growth and expansion of clinical research across the institution.
Dr. Kaushal will lead Weill Cornell Medicine’s clinical research enterprise, which drives the experimental application and comparative investigations of new medicines, technologies, interventions and healthcare delivery models to patients.
“Clinical research is the final stage of our scientific continuum, the point at which investigators can translate cutting-edge discoveries and new innovations directly to patient care,” said Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weill Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. “We have always been at the forefront of this work, but the elevation of our accomplished leader Dr. Kaushal, and the creation of the Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research, will position us for the next stage of our clinical research expansion.”
“I am honored and tremendously excited for this new role,” said Dr. Kaushal, who will continue as chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences. “Weill Cornell Medicine engages in outstanding research, and this new office provides an incredible opportunity to create synergies and efficiencies across scientists and clinicians to make support and grow robust clinical research to improve patient care and public health.”
As senior associate dean for clinical research, Dr. Kaushal will lead an enterprise that harnesses the research faculty’s expertise in specialized fields such as clinical trials, health informatics, health services research, epidemiology and precision medicine to propel the development and implementation of novel therapeutics. For example, in response to the immense challenges presented by SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a large group of top investigators has convened to advance research on the causes of medical complications in patients with COVID-19 and identify and test potential treatments, which can be rapidly translated to those in need. With a targeted focus on public health, the institution’s investigators also are examining the virus’s disproportionate spread and severity among different communities to inform population-based disease prevention and control.
Clinical research encompasses scientific studies that involve a human component. Researchers can evaluate the safety and effectiveness of interventions and tests for patients through clinical trials. Patient data, such as clinical or genomic information, can be used to study treatment outcomes, disease patterns and genetic predisposition, leveraging health data science, artificial intelligence and other novel scientific methods, whereas bodily samples (called biospecimens) can be employed to better understand the course of disease and assess new therapeutic options.
The Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research will unify and oversee a number of key organizational units that provide pivotal support to these activities, such as enrolling patients and ensuring that studies comply with federal laws and regulations. By consolidating services, the office will continue to enhance the expansion of clinical research across the institution. These services will be supported by a strong technological infrastructure. In her new role, Dr. Kaushal will collaborate closely with Dr. Hugh Hemmings, senior associate dean for research, whose office manages the basic and preclinical research enterprise. Together they will grow the Weill Cornell Medicine research portfolio with the goal of enhancing its reputation as a leader in clinical, foundational and translational research.
In addition to her work in clinical research, Dr. Kaushal will also lead collaborative efforts between Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Tech, located on Roosevelt Island. As senior liaison, Dr. Kaushal will drive new professional connections between investigators at the two institutions to advance technological innovations and research, as well as strengthen educational opportunities that focus on the intersection of healthcare and technology.
Dr. Kaushal earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and completed her clinical residency as an inaugural resident at a combined program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Boston, becoming board-certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics. She received a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health during her research fellowship. Dr. Kaushal joined Harvard Medical School’s faculty until she came to Weill Cornell Medicine in 2006, where she has held several leadership positions. Dr. Kaushal serves on multiple boards and advisory committees, including New York Quality Care, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Medicine and the National Quality Forum. Her many awards and recognitions include election to the National Academy of Medicine, and selection in the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program.
This story originally appeared in the WCM Newsroom.