Dr. Fernando J. Martinez Leads Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Weill Cornell

Dr. Fernando J. Martinez

Dr. Fernando J. Martinez

When Fernando J. Martinez, MD, MS, joined NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2014, he brought with him an impressive resume of clinical and scientific achievements in the field of pulmonary medicine and, in particular, advanced and chronic lung disease. Complementing his expertise as a clinician and researcher is a longstanding interest in medical education. With his appointment as the new Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Weill Cornell in January 2017, Dr. Martinez is applying his skills in all three arenas to developing and expanding clinical and investigative programs, with an increasing emphasis on mentoring the next generation of pulmonary specialists.

“Weill Cornell’s Pulmonary Division has a long track record of providing excellent clinical care, supported by a strong research program,” says Dr. Martinez, who served as Executive Vice Chairman of the Weill Department of Medicine prior to being named to his new position. “I am a big believer in precision medicine and the need to be able to optimize the therapeutic approach based on individual patient characteristics. Similarly to what is occurring in oncology, we are doing in the pulmonary world. We are also expanding opportunities for our young trainees, encouraging them to explore investigative and translational research.”

Following completion of a Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship at Boston University,
Dr. Martinez joined the University of Michigan Medical Center in 1991. During his 23-year tenure there, Dr. Martinez served as Associate Chief for Clinical Research at the University of Michigan Health System, as well as Medical Director of its Pulmonary Diagnostic Services and Co-Medical Director of the Lung Transplantation Program.

Clinical Programs: Comprehensive and Collaborative

Dr. Martinez has extensive expertise and experience in general pulmonary medicine, the evaluation
and management of COPD, interstitial lung diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), breathlessness, and cough. He has participated in international guideline panels for COPD, IPF, lung transplantation, and exercise testing. And as a member of the 2016 GOLD (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) Science Committee, Dr. Martinez was a major participant in the preparation of the organization’s 2017 Report: Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD, which presents a major update on the management strategy for COPD.

In the six months since assuming his new position, Dr. Martinez has begun to forge new collaborations with multiple Weill Cornell divisions and departments, as well as with the numerous institutions affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian. “One initiative we are pursuing is a cross-institutional, comprehensive airways program for COPD, asthma, and chronic cough,” notes Dr. Martinez. “The program focuses on developing coordinated models of evaluation and care while expediting the translation of new therapies to the clinic. A second focus is on expanding our interstitial lung disease program to include developing and personalizing innovative diagnostic approaches and treatments for patients with pulmonary fibrosis.”

A Role Model for Research

Current investigational initiatives by researchers in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine are focused on four main areas — acute lung injury, obstructive lung diseases, interstitial diseases, and sleep disorders.

Dr. Martinez is a premier translational researcher recognized nationally and internationally for his seminal studies in the phenotypic and functional classification, as well as clinical interventions in COPD and interstitial lung disease. As a key participant in numerous COPD studies sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Dr. Martinez has helped define the role of lung volume reduction surgery, chronic macrolide therapy, statin therapy, and long-term oxygen therapy in the treatment of COPD. His research has also contributed to better understanding of interstitial lung disease, where he has refined the optimal approaches to diagnosing idiopathic interstitial pneumonias and defining the imaging and biochemical approaches to prognostication.

For the past two decades, Dr. Martinez’s work has been supported by major funding from the NHLBI, and he has served as principal investigator on numerous NIH grants. Over the past 30 years, he has received grant support for his mentorship activities, including a K24 mid-career mentoring grant, and he is the current Chair of the NHLBI’s Mentored Patient-Oriented Research (MPOR) Review Committee.

Dr. Martinez continues to have significant roles in multiple NIH consortia, as well as NHLBI and Department of Defense efforts with a goal to understand the biological basis of advanced lung diseases, and then personalize treatments and improve care for people living with these conditions. To this end, he has been awarded NIH and DoD grants to design and test tools to identify patients at an increased risk of developing COPD; to evaluate new therapeutic approaches in COPD and pulmonary fibrosis; and to identify biological pathways of fibrosis and emphysema. He is also the principal investigator of an NIH-sponsored, multicenter clinical trial testing the concept that antimicrobial therapy can equilibrate the lung microbial community resulting in improved clinical outcomes.

“Dr. Martinez is a forward-thinking leader who is committed to enhancing scientific inquiry within the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine while maintaining its superb clinical standards,” says Augustine M.K. Choi, MD, Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean, Weill Cornell Medicine. “As a leader of a major nationwide effort to apply personalized medicine advances to the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases, he is able to bring the latest findings and therapies to patients.”

“Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian are wonderful institutions that have allowed me to pursue the important work necessary to enhance the care of patients with diseases that can so greatly impair quality of life,” says Dr. Martinez. “Our goal is to further our efforts in the major pillars of an academic enterprise: patient care, research, and education. With a multi-pronged approach of undertaking robust investigations to better understand the biology of lung disorders, driving therapeutic decisions with patient-specific information, mentoring the next generation of pulmonologists to ask pointed and strategic questions, and enhancing community engagement, Weill Cornell will remain a leader in the field of pulmonary and critical care medicine.”

Reference Article
Vogelmeier CF, Criner GJ, Martinez FJ, et al. Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2017 Report. GOLD Executive Summary. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2017 Mar 1;195(5):557-82.

For More Information
Dr. Fernando J. Martinez | [email protected]

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