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Dr. David Kutler Named Chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. David Kutler, a well-known surgeon who combines clinical care with research focused on improving outcomes for patients with malignant and benign head and neck tumors, has been named chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine, effective Oct. 1. 

Dr. Kutler succeeds Dr. William Kuhel, who has led the division since 1990. Dr. Kuhel, the Richard W. Zirinsky Jr., Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine, remains in active clinical practice. 

Under Dr. Kuhel’s leadership, the Division of Head and Neck Surgery doubled in size, from two to four surgeons, over the last seven years. This growth has allowed the division to care for significantly more patients at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and expand its research enterprise. Division investigators conduct leading-edge investigations into various head and neck tumor disorders, including oral, throat, salivary gland, sinus and nasopharyngeal, thyroid and skull base cancers. 

In his new role, Dr. Kutler will further strengthen the division’s mission to provide excellence in surgical care, grow its research programs, and mentor and train the next generation of residents specializing in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Kutler joined Weill Cornell Medicine’s full-time faculty as assistant professor of otolaryngology in 2006. 

"David is an exemplary surgeon, scientist and educator whose contributions to understanding and treating head and neck tumors are driven by his dedication to providing outstanding patient care," said Dr. Michael G. Stewart, chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine. “I look forward to working with him as we continue to advance head and neck surgery and innovative research to improve patient outcomes. I am also grateful to Dr. Kuhel for his exceptional leadership over the years, positioning the division as a leader in head and neck surgery, and I am very pleased that he will continue to be an important part of the division and will continue to have a busy clinical practice.” 

“When I was earning my medical degree at Cornell University, Bill was a terrific mentor who inspired me to pursue ear, nose and throat clinical care and research. Joining Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2006 to work with him again felt like coming home and it has been my home since,” said Dr. Kutler, who is also an associate professor of otolaryngology, a member of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center and associate program director of the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “My goal as chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery is to build on its strong foundation. I will focus on strengthening our clinical care services, advancing research into head and neck cancers, and training the next generation of residents and medical students through clinical research projects.” 

“David and I have worked together closely over the past 15 years and will continue to do so as he steps into his new role,” Dr. Kuhel said. “He knows the ropes well and is the best choice to lead the Division of Head and Neck Surgery.” 

About Dr. David Kutler 

Dr. Kutler is an expert in diagnosing and surgically treating benign and malignant head and neck tumors affecting the salivary glands, thyroid and parathyroid, tongue, oral cavity and lips, larynx, pharynx, sinuses, skull base and skin. In 2021, an estimated 66,630 Americans will be diagnosed with head and neck cancers, and 14,620 will die from these diseases. 

For two decades, Dr. Kutler has conducted research on and cared for patients with a rare genetic disorder called Fanconi anemia, which results in neck cancer at a young age, with about half of patients diagnosed before age 25. Dr. Kutler has worked closely with the International Fanconi Anemia Registry at Rockefeller University for many years and continues as a close collaborator. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Kutler also investigates how the drug pioglitazone may affect premalignant oral lesions and the risk of mouth cancer, carcinogenesis of pre-malignant and malignant oral cavity cancers and studies swallowing function after treatment for advanced laryngeal cancer.  

Dr. Kutler has co-authored over 55 papers published in leading, peer-reviewed journals, including Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, the Journal of Surgical Oncology, JAMA Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and The Laryngoscope. He also serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Head and Neck Surgery, Archives of Otolaryngology, the American Journal of Surgery and The Laryngoscope. He has received numerous awards, including the Maxwell Abramson Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009 and 2019, the Merit Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2002 in recognition of his research into Fanconi anemia, the Chairman's Award for Excellence in Clinical Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in June 2003 during his fellowship, and several other awards from groups, including the American Head and Neck Society and the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.

Dr. Kutler received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 and his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medicine in 1996. Following a residency in Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery at Northwestern University Medical Center, Dr. Kutler pursued additional fellowship training in head and neck surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. After serving as an assistant professor at New York University Medical Center and the chief of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, he joined Weill Cornell Medicine in 2006. In addition to serving as associate professor of otolaryngology at Weill Cornell Medicine and an associate attending otolaryngologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Kutler is also an associate physician at Rockefeller University Hospital.

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