The Department of Neurology at the Weill Cornell Medical College has an exceptional history of academic achievement in neurology. Cornell University Medical College has played host to some of the most important figures in 20th century American Neurology. Charles Dana joined the faculty in 1898 and attained national prominence for his single authored textbook of neurological disorders which was published in 11 editions. He was appointed Professor of Disease of the Nervous System at the newly founded Cornell University Medical College, a position he held until he retired in 1922. He was responsible for the inspiration and teaching of two generations of medical students. He served as President of the American Neurologic Association in 1892 and again in 1928.
J. Ramsey Hunt joined the faculty in 1900 and was appointed as the first neurological consultant at the New York Hospital in 1909. He was responsible for describing several important neurologic syndromes including herpetic infection, which causes facial paralysis, known as the Ramsey Hunt Syndrome.
Foster Kennedy joined the Cornell faculty in 1915 and earned international prominence for both his spirited lectures and also for describing specific syndromes of spinal cord damage, as well as, the Foster-Kennedy syndrome.
Harold Wolff became Chairman of Neurology in 1931 as the first full-time academic neurologist in America. His research made major contributions to understanding the pathophysiology of headache and other head pain. He was placed in charge of neurology when New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center was opened. He was the first Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology. He published 539 papers and 14 books and monographs and served as Editor-in-Chief of Archives of Neurology from 1956 to 1959. He became internationally famous for his book on the pathogenesis of migraine.
Following Dr. Wolff's untimely death, Fred Plum and Jerome Posner came to New York from the University of Washington ensuring Cornell's preeminence in neurology for the latter half of the 20th century. Dr. Plum served as the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor and Chairman from 1963-1998 and made major contributions to the understanding of the fundamental workings of the brain. Dr. Posner became the founding father of neuro-oncology and served as Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 1967-1997. They wrote the classic monograph, "The Diagnosis of Stupor and Coma" which described alterations of consciousness. Both Dr. Plum and Dr. Posner served as Presidents of the American Neurologic Association.
Dr. Plum was the founding editor of Annals of Neurology under his careful stewardship and exacting standards shaped this into the highest profiled journal in neurology. He was also the founding editor of the Contemporary Neurology Series, published by F.A. Davis and he was instrumental in maintaining its high standards. Dr. Plum authored more than 300 original research reports and reviews. He was also extremely active in a large number of medical societies. He served as the President of the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Diseases, The McKnight Foundation for Neuroscience, The Harvey Society, The New York Neurological Society, and The Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.
In 1996, M. Flint Beal was recruited as Chairman of Cornell's Department of Neurology. Dr. Beal's research has focused on the mechanism of neuronal degeneration in Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
In 1997, Lisa M. DeAngelis became Chairman of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Department of Neurology. Dr. DeAngelis has published extensively on a wide variety of topics in neuro-oncology and is currently the Vice President of the American Academy of Neurology.
Matthew E. Fink now serves as the Chairman of Weill Cornell's Department of Neurology since 2009. Dr. Fink previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Dr. Fink has been a pioneer in Stroke and Neurological Intensive Care. He was the Founding Director of the Neurology-Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, as well as the first Chair of the Critical Care Section of the American Academy of Neurology.
The Department of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College has a remarkable record of training leaders in academic neurology. Twenty-five current and former Chairmen of Neurology in the United States have been trained at Weill Cornell Medical College.Top of page