Dr. Laura E. Riley New Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine
Laura E. Riley, MD, a renowned obstetrician who specializes in obstetric infectious disease, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine and Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Riley succeeds Frank Chervenak, MD, who led the department since 2001; Kevin Holcomb, MD, served as Interim Chair until Dr. Riley’s arrival in October.
In her new role, Dr. Riley, who has also been named Given Foundation Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, oversees the obstetrics and gynecology enterprise at Weill Cornell, which encompasses seven divisions, 52 full-time clinical faculty, and one of New York City’s busiest labor and delivery units, which currently delivers approximately 5,000 babies a year. She also leads the NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, which will comprise the top five-and-a-half floors of the NewYork-Presbyterian David H. Koch Center when it opens in 2020. The new hospital will have the capacity for 7,000 deliveries.
“Dr. Riley is a highly accomplished physician-researcher, a clinical innovator, and a leader in women’s health,” says Augustine M.K. Choi, MD, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. “I am thrilled that she will lead the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in recruiting and nurturing top talent, introducing clinical and research innovations, and educating the next generation of physicians who will promote women’s health.”
“For me, this is a dream come true,” says Dr. Riley. “Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian provide outstanding care. This role gives me an opportunity to build an even more exceptional clinical service and mentor junior faculty as they progress in their careers. As an underrepresented minority physician-leader, it demonstrates that there are no limits to advancing in medicine.”
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology encompasses the divisions of General Ob/Gyn, Benign Gynecology, Gynecologic Oncology, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Urogynecology, Ob/Gyn Ultrasound, and Antepartum Fetal Testing, and collaborates closely with the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Riley is committed to building upon the department’s reputation of clinical excellence while shepherding it into the next stage of innovation in women’s healthcare delivery.
Building a New Service for Women and Newborns
Much of that work will focus on the NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, which will provide personalized care to pregnant women, newborn babies, and their families. When it opens in 2020, the hospital will be the first of its kind in the tri-state area. The 220,000-square-foot facility will feature 75 private rooms and well-baby bassinets, 60 neonatal intensive care bassinets, 16 labor and delivery rooms, five cesarean section operative suites, and 20 maternal critical assessment treatment unit rooms. The hospital will be equipped with state-of-the-art imaging, with 15 ultrasound rooms and MRI capabilities, and contain an operating room within the neonatal intensive care unit — a first for New York City.
Dr. Riley, who helped build Mass General’s labor and delivery service in the 1990s, will recruit a cadre of exceptional physicians who, together with the existing team, will strive to deliver care that is safe, efficient, and aligned with the patients’ needs and preferences. “I love walking around the NewYork-Presbyterian David H. Koch Center, looking at how thoughtful people were in considering patients and their families,” says Dr. Riley. “I’m thrilled to get started building this fantastic new service for women.”
A Multidimensional Role
Dr. Riley will also capitalize on clinical care and research opportunities created by the expansion of NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine into Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. With the goal of establishing an integrated obstetrics and gynecology service, she will help to build upon the care offered at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, and NewYork-Presbyterian Queens so that it meets the highest standards and that the diverse populations they serve have optimal experiences and outcomes.
“These campuses also offer a huge opportunity to conduct research,” says Dr. Riley. “Having some 8,000 deliveries will allow us to investigate clinical outcomes in a meaningful way that can transform women’s healthcare for the future.”
About Dr. Riley
A Boston native, Dr. Riley is a board-certified maternal-fetal obstetrician with expertise in high risk pregnancies, particularly those with infectious disease complications. Her research focuses on infection and the causes of fever during labor, as well as the utilization of the influenza vaccine in pregnant women. She also works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology to develop practice guidelines for pregnancy care of women with Group B strep, Zika, Ebola, and influenza viruses.
Dr. Riley has 30 original studies published in peer-reviewed journals such as Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and she has contributed 19 book chapters and monographs. Dr. Riley has also authored two books on pregnancy for consumers, You and Your Baby: Pregnancy and You and Your Baby: Healthy Eating During Pregnancy.
Dr. Riley has been recognized with several awards and honors, including the AK Goodman Faculty Mentoring Award and the Brian McGovern Award for Clinical Excellence from Massachusetts General Hospital. She has authored numerous guidelines providing standards of care for obstetrician/gynecologists in the United States in her role as chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Immunization Expert Workgroup, as well as its Committee on Obstetric Practice. She is also the past president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
Dr. Riley received her BA degree in biology from Harvard University and her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Riley remained at the University of Pittsburgh for her residency in obstetrics and gynecology before completing a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She then began a fellowship in infectious disease at Boston University Medical Center, where she focused on women with HIV.
Dr. Riley returned to Harvard Medical School, rising to become the Charles Montraville Green and Robert Montraville Green Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology in 2016. Dr. Riley most recently served as Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Medical Director of Labor and Delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital.