Dr. Robert A. Harrington, a cardiologist and the Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University, has been named the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and provost for medical affairs of Cornell University.
The appointment was approved by the Cornell Board of Trustees and the Weill Cornell Medicine Board of Fellows. Dr. Harrington — also a member of the National Academy of Medicine — will begin his new position on Sept. 12.
A past president of the American Heart Association (AHA), Dr. Harrington has chaired Stanford’s Department of Medicine since 2012. He previously served as the Richard Sean Stack, M.D. Distinguished Professor and director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute at Duke University.
“In addition to being an outstanding physician-scientist, Dr. Harrington is an energetic and proven leader, with a reputation for bringing people together to achieve shared objectives,” President Martha E. Pollack said. “I am looking forward to working closely with him as we continue to advance Weill Cornell Medicine’s mission as a world-class institution of patient care, scientific discovery and education of future health care leaders.”
The search committee, led by Pollack and Jessica M. Bibliowicz ’81, chair of the Weill Cornell Medicine Board of Fellows, included board members, faculty, alumni and senior administrators from Cornell, Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Dr. Harrington to New York,” Bibliowicz said. “He is the right person to guide Weill Cornell Medicine and maintain its incredible trajectory of growth. He is a proven leader, as well as a prolific and esteemed physician-scientist. We look forward to seeing Weill Cornell Medicine thrive under his leadership.”
Dr. Harrington, who grew up and attended college on the East Coast, is excited to be returning to his roots, although he terms the move as “bittersweet” after 11 years in Palo Alto, California.
“The opportunity to come to Weill Cornell Medicine was really extraordinary for us, professionally and as a family,” Dr. Harrington said. He and his wife, Rhonda Larsen, who’s also on the Stanford faculty, have four grown daughters and five grandchildren. “I’m excited to help shape an already-excellent academic medical institution into its next version.”
Dr. Francis Lee, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine, will remain as interim dean and provost for medical affairs until Dr. Harrington’s arrival in September. Lee has served as interim dean since Jan. 1.
“We are deeply grateful to Dr. Lee for his selfless service to our institution during his interim term,” Pollack said. “His leadership during this period of transition has been exemplary.”
A native of Somerville, Massachusetts, and a first-generation college graduate, Dr. Harrington graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in English in 1982 from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received his medical degree in 1986 from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, followed by a residency in internal medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, where he served as chief resident. Dr. Harrington completed a fellowship in interventional cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, where he became a faculty member in 1993 and led clinical research efforts until 2012, when he joined the Stanford faculty.
His research interests include evaluating antithrombotic therapies to treat acute ischemic heart disease and to minimize the acute complications of percutaneous coronary procedures. His passion for cardiology is, in part, personal: His mother died of a sudden cardiac event at age 42, during his senior year at Holy Cross.
In 2016, he was named a Master of the American College of Cardiology. He was awarded the AHA’s Clinical Research Prize in 2017 and AHA Council on Clinical Cardiology (CLCD) Distinguished Achievement Award in 2022. In 2022, he was awarded the Stokes Medal from the Irish Cardiac Society.
Harrington serves on the AHA board of directors, and served as AHA president in 2019–20. He is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and the Association of University Cardiologists.
Committed to training and mentorship, Dr. Harrington has served as the principal mentor for more than 20 postdoctoral clinical research fellows.
The author of more than 760 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews, book chapters and editorials, Dr. Harrington has also served as a member and chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee.
Dr. Harrington is enthusiastic about using technology to spread useful information on health and medicine; he is active on Twitter and hosts a podcast for practitioners, “The Bob Harrington Show.” His most recent podcast was titled “AI and Machine Learning in Healthcare for the Clueless.”
Dr. Harrington said Weill Cornell Medicine represents a “unique opportunity.”
“It’s part of an outstanding university,” he said. “It’s a job with scope — the research, the education and also the faculty clinical practice. It’s got an international presence, with a medical school in Qatar and other global programs. And it’s partnered with a phenomenal medical center, NewYork-Presbyterian. I couldn’t be more excited about joining Weill Cornell Medicine.”
About Weill Cornell Medical College:
Weill Cornell Medical College was founded on April 14, 1898. The Medical College was established and generously endowed through the gifts of Colonel Oliver H. Payne and quickly became a national leader in medical instruction. Since its inception, the Medical College has followed an educational philosophy that emphasizes the importance of combining a strong basic foundation in the medical sciences with extensive clinical training in patient care.
Medicine is constantly changing, but Weill Cornell Medicine’s compassionate, superior patient care is constant. WCM’s mission is shaped by three parts: Exceptional care, research and education.
Weill Cornell Medicine is among the nation’s top-ranked medical and graduate schools, striving for excellence in its education of the world’s future healthcare leaders. Research by faculty and graduate students at Weill Cornell Medicine is collaborative, groundbreaking and patient-focused.
About Dr. Robert A. Harrington:
Dr. Robert A. Harrington is a cardiologist and the Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Medicine (DOM) at Stanford University. The DOM is the largest department at the Stanford School of Medicine with 14 divisions and more than 700 faculty.
He was previously the Richard Sean Stack, MD Distinguished Professor and the Director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) at Duke University. His research interests include evaluating antithrombotic therapies to treat acute ischemic heart disease; building local, national, and international collaborations for the efficient conduct of innovative clinical research; and trying to better understand and improve upon the methodology of clinical research, including the use of technologies to facilitate clinical trials.
He has authored more than 760 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews, book chapters, and editorials. He is a senior editor of the 13th and 14th editions of Hurst’s The Heart, one of the leading textbooks of cardiovascular medicine. He has served as a member and the chair of the US Food and Drug Administration Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee.
Harrington is a member of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Board of Directors. He served as AHA president-elect, president and immediate past president during 2019–2021. He is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians, the Association of University Cardiologists, and the National Academy of Medicine/Institute of Medicine. In 2016, he was named a Master of the American College of Cardiology. He was awarded the AHA’s Clinical Research Prize in 2017 and AHA Council on Clinical Cardiology (CLCD) Distinguished Achievement Award in 2022. In 2022, he was awarded the Stokes Medal from the Irish Cardiac Society.
Harrington received his BA in English at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He attended Dartmouth Medical School and received his MD from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He did his internship and residency and served as the chief resident in internal medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester. He trained in cardiology, interventional cardiology, and clinical research (Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Disease) at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, where he was a faculty member from 1993–2012 before joining the Stanford University faculty in 2012.
Interested in innovative learning tools, Harrington can be followed on Twitter @HeartBobH and on a monthly podcast on theheart.org.