Looking Forward in 2018

Every treatment ever offered to a patient was once an experiment in a lab, fueled by years of scientific effort. As we reflect on our successes in 2017 and plan for what is to come in 2018, it’s important to acknowledge our commitment to developing the treatments that will become tomorrow’s cures and to providing the most advanced healthcare to our patients. This reminds us of our purpose as we close one year and begin anew.

At Feinberg, we have made great strides to deliver on the promise of our mission to improve human health through education and discovery. Our students and trainees arrived on campus this year with extraordinary backgrounds (the new MD Class of 2021, for example, had median GPA and MCAT scores in the 98th percentile), and our graduates left with even more ambition and passion than when they came.

Eric G. Neilson, MD, and Dean M. Harrison

These achievements are thanks to the exceptional faculty mentors in our educational programs and our innovative curriculum that emphasize flipped classrooms, team-based learning exercises, simulation, patient communication and student research. We are more confident than ever that our graduates are prepared to reshape the field of medicine.

Our research enterprise, too, continues to reach new heights. In the last year, our scientists published 238 papers in high-profile journals and funding grew more than 6 percent, confirming the prestige and impact our investigators have in their fields. Construction of the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center is on track and will soon provide the space to grow our research enterprise even more.

In this issue of Northwestern Medicine magazine, we highlight many of the ways we are solidifying our place in emerging research areas: Our new Simpson Querrey Center for Epigenetics will investigate how environmental conditions impact the human genome. Our OncoSET program combines oncology with genomic sequencing to offer cutting-edge cancer care personalized to individual patients, while our new chair of Pathology leads national efforts to incorporate molecular findings into brain tumor diagnoses. And our cover story describes how many of Feinberg’s laboratories are using innovative CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing techniques to better understand human disease and improve therapies.

The health system also enjoyed another successful year: Northwestern Memorial Hospital was ranked the top hospital in Chicago and Illinois for the sixth straight year and No. 13 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. We made improvements in physician and staff engagement and continued to report strong financial performance. We expanded the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute to two Northwestern Medicine hospitals (bringing the total to four hospital locations), opened two new gynecology programs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and expanded the Advanced Lung Disease Clinic to the northern suburbs. We also introduced the first combined MRI-PET machine to Chicago and began performing innovative new procedures, including implanting a novel device to manage advanced heart failure and another to give men with enlarged prostates a minimally invasive treatment option.

Looking forward, this spring we will be activating our system-wide electronic health record and opening the new Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. These efforts are more examples of our Patients First mission and our relentless drive to be better.

It is worth taking stock of the remarkable things we have accomplished this past year — it inspires us to take on new challenges, feeds future discovery and forges stronger connections with our students, patients, mentees and collaborators. Our best wishes to all in the new year!

With warm regards,

Eric G. Neilson, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Lewis Landsberg Dean

Dean M. Harrison
President and CEO
Northwestern Memorial Healthcare

Successes in 2017:

percentile: Class of 2021's median GPA and MCAT scores

papers by Northwestern Medicine scientists published in high-profile journals


increase in research funding

Northwestern Memorial Hospital ranking in Chicago and Illinois (RANKED 13 IN THE COUTRY)