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Fletcher McDowell, M.D., Founder of Burke Medical Research Institute

Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Fletcher McDowell

In the Media
Media Outlet: 
Annals of Neurology
Published Media: 
Invited Editorial

The Board of Trustees, Faculty and Staff of the Burke Medical Research Institute, an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medicine mourn the loss of our founder, friend and colleague.

Fletcher McDowell, M.D., established Burke Medical Research Institute in 1978 as one of the nation’s preeminent, independent research organizations focused on furthering scientific research in the area of rehabilitation for neurological disabilities induced by stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. His decades of service led to the pioneering of novel rehabilitation therapies and development of innovative clinical programs and clinics.

Dr. McDowell’s remarkable legacy as a clinician, researcher, and administrator will be celebrated with Symposia on the Burke campus in Westchester and the Weill Cornell Medicine campus in Manhattan in the coming months and the public will be invited to attend. The Board, Faculty, and Staff of the Institute extend their deepest sympathies to Dr. McDowell’s family.

Fletcher H. McDowell, M.D., 1923–2017

Invited Editorial
Jesse M. Cedarbaum M.D., Mindy Aisen M.D., Bruce T. Volpe M.D.
Year Published: 
Annals of Neurology
 DOI: 10.1002/ana.24959
Fletcher H. McDowell, M.D. passed away at his home in New York City on April 23, 2017. He was 93 years old. Fletcher commenced his remarkable and influential career with his medical training at Cornell Medical College in 1945. Following graduation in 1947, he began an internship in internal medicine at Cornell, and then went on to a medical residency at Stanford. He returned to Cornell as a Resident in Medicine (Neurology) in 1950. After a 2-year stint in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and a year as a Clinical Clerk in Neurology at Queen Square, he came back once again to New York Hospital/Cornell, where he was to spend the remainder of his career. From 1956 to 1967, Fletcher was the Physician-in-Charge of the Cornell Neurological Service at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. In 1973, Fletcher was named Chief Executive Officer and Medial Director of the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, New York (then affiliated with New York Hospital and Cornell). In assuming this role, he brought rigor and high clinical standards to that institution and to the entire field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. In 1975, he was named Winifred Masterson Burke Professor of Rehabilitative Medicine and Associate Dean of Cornell University Medical College.

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