Updates from the Dean

Learn the latest on the strategic direction for Stanford Medicine.

Latest Updates from the Dean

Sep September 03 Wed 2014

The start of an academic year is always an exciting time when fresh energy and new faces give us a renewed sense of commitment to the calling that has brought us here.

More

Mar March 12 Wed 2014

Yesterday U.S. News & World Report released its annual rankings of the Best Graduate Schools. The Stanford University School of Medicine was again ranked No. 2 among the Best Medical Schools for Research.

More

Mar March 06 Thu 2014

We are living in the century of biomedicine—a time when new knowledge and technologies have accelerated the potential for preventing, treating, and curing disease. At a meeting of the Stanford University Board of Trustees a few weeks ago, I shared with them my thoughts about how we in Stanford Medicine will lead this biomedical revolution by achieving preeminence. 

More

Nov November 21 Thu 2013

Now that Stanford University Open Enrollment has come to a close, we in Stanford Medicine are gearing up for the launch of Stanford HealthCare Alliance. Under this new health insurance offering, we will offer a full range of services from primary to complex care, and we look forward to providing our fellow employees with the highest quality of care and satisfaction. 

More

Sep September 11 Wed 2013

Several months ago, I shared with you my vision that we at Stanford Medicine will lead the biomedical revolution. In so doing, I started a lively and campus-wide conversation about the future of biomedicine and how we at Stanford Medicine can position ourselves to lead. Your engagement and enthusiasm have been deeply appreciated. Among a diversity of thoughts and ideas, I was gratified to hear one consistent response to the bold vision I articulated: challenge accepted.

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Jun June 14 Fri 2013

As the academic year comes to an end, I wish to thank you for the privilege of being your dean these past six months. It has been a pleasure to meet so many of you—to learn about your work and to see your passion and desire to have an impact. I have come to believe even more firmly that we at Stanford Medicine are unique in our commitment to excellence, innovation, and collaboration.

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Mar March 12 Tue 2013

As you may know, today U.S. News and World Report released its annual rankings of the Best Graduate Schools. The Stanford University School of Medicine was ranked No. 2 among the Best Medical Schools for Research.

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Archive

September 3, 2014

Subject : Letter from the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

The start of an academic year is always an exciting time when fresh energy and new faces give us a renewed sense of commitment to the calling that has brought us here.

Stanford Medicine's calling is fulfilled every day, both in the care we provide to our patients and in the ways we stretch beyond the walls of a typical academic medical center. Our impact is greatly accentuated by the confluence and diversity of talents represented in our faculty, students, residents, fellows, and staff. From elucidating the structure of complex proteins to developing new treatments for cancer to unlocking information embedded within massive quantities of data to improving systems of care delivery, the areas of inquiry pursued by our investigators are enormous. These areas are increasingly related, and innovations in one field frequently lead to unanticipated benefits in others. The depth of interactions and collaborations that exist at Stanford make ours the ideal environment for producing transformative advances.     

Advancing our ambitious vision of improving human health and leading the biomedical revolution requires that Stanford Medicine become a more integrated organization. This spring, we concluded a very exciting and productive series of joint strategy meetings that incorporated departmental leaders and hospital CEOs, Amir Rubin and Christopher Dawes.  Collectively, we have elevated our commitment to patient-centered care that is effective, efficient, and equitable to become one of our highest priorities. And our growing unity also shows in a refreshed, coordinated brand identity.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the white coat and stethoscope ceremony for our incoming class of 90 MD students. Selected from among more than 7,000 applicants, this remarkable group includes Rhodes scholars, PhDs, and NCAA varsity athletes. They are a diverse group, and I am proud that for the first time we have been able to offer financial aid to our international students and full-tuition scholarships to our most financially needy students, demonstrating our strong commitment to diversity and excellence.

In giving my welcome to these students, I recalled the remarks made by the Dean of Medicine when I entered medical school. He began by telling us that though we were accustomed to success, we would soon become accustomed to failure. We would sometimes not be able to prevent our patients from experiencing poor outcomes. And if that weren’t failure enough, the final outcome, he assured us, was always death.

It was a sobering reminder of the sacred responsibility of a physician, and the importance of cultivating a sense of humility, of awe, and of respect for this responsibility. Through conversations and examinations, physicians learn the most intimate details about their patients’ lives and bodies. Patients trust their physicians, and physicians must always work to earn and sustain that trust.

My point in these welcoming remarks to our students was not to remind them of the frailty of humanity but of the possibilities of human imagination and compassion. It’s hard to be gloomy in a place filled with so much opportunity. Students come to Stanford believing they can change the world—and they do.

There is much to be optimistic about here at Stanford Medicine. Here is where the great minds in biomedicine gather to dream up a better future, as they did at the big data conference last May. Here is where the nation’s brightest young minds come to learn to be leaders, as they did on July 1 when Stanford Medicine welcomed 371 new residents and fellows. And here is where the most innovative minds come to make discoveries and translate cures, like Maria Grazia Roncarolo who joined us this summer to lead a new Division of Pediatric Translational and Regenerative Medicine.

I will have the pleasure later this month of meeting another group of outstanding students at the lab coat ceremony for the 135 incoming Biosciences PhD students. With a record number of admitted students accepting their offers to Stanford—an unprecedented 64 percent—this PhD cohort is our largest yet. Among them are 24 members of underrepresented minority groups, another record. As I greet these remarkable students, I will again be filled with optimism and excitement. Their time here will change the way they think and see the world. There is a transformative power to this place.

The students in this group will engage in a broad range of research activities. During their careers they will uncover fundamental mysteries of biology, develop new technologies, and advance the treatment and prevention of disease. We will encourage their high-risk, high-reward ideas by giving them what they need to be innovative: time to succeed over the long term and freedom to go where the research leads. Here at Stanford we are drawn to the most difficult problems, and the advances we seek are not incremental but paradigm shifting.

In my role as dean, I am often asked to give presentations about leadership. I welcome the opportunity to share my passion for diversity, my experience that vision is the result of listening and learning, and my conviction that an integrated organization is greater than the sum of its parts. Among these observations about leadership is my belief in the importance of cultivating future leaders, something we do every day in our educational programs and is an area of increased focus at the faculty level.

With this in mind, we have enhanced our faculty development programs and this summer launched the Stanford Medicine Leadership Academy with a diverse set of 15 individuals from all faculty lines. The program is designed to give them the experiences they need to develop that potential. Expect to hear more about faculty leadership development in my future letters.

It was a pleasure to see so many members of our community at our “reverse” town hall last June and to answer your questions on a broad range of subjects, including the cost of housing, organizational transparency, strategies to recruit and retain women and minority faculty, and postdoc benefits. I look forward to continuing to answer your questions during future town halls, the next of which will be on September 24 in Berg Hall from 11 a.m. to noon. Please mark your calendars. Until then, I wish you a restful end to the summer and an exciting start to the academic year. Thank you for all that you do to make Stanford Medicine such a collaborative, diverse, and innovative place.

With warmest wishes and deepest appreciation,

Lloyd Minor

Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy

March 12, 2014

Subject : US News Ranking

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday U.S. News & World Report released its annual rankings of the Best Graduate Schools. The Stanford University School of Medicine was again ranked No. 2 among the Best Medical Schools for Research.

While I am pleased with this recognition, we all know that external rankings offer just one perspective on our success, and we at Stanford Medicine share with many others a concern about the overall methodology and its limitations. Yesterday’s news, then, offers us an opportunity to consider what yardstick we should use instead to measure our progress.

As an academic institution, we value the estimation of our peers—they are the ones with the knowledge necessary to know if we are breaking new ground and the ones who will judge our progress in achieving preeminence. We want to be preeminent, but not for its own sake. We want to be preeminent because that’s what it takes to lead the biomedical revolution.

I believe the yardstick by which we will measure our progress is impact. If we are leading the biomedical revolution, our fundamental discoveries will be changing scientific paradigms; our translational research will be developing new therapeutics for old diseases; our physicians will be delivering the most coordinated, compassionate, and leading-edge care; and our educational programs will be training the physicians and scientists who are poised to transform their fields. In the end, we must judge our progress by the degree to which we are delivering on the promise of the biomedical revolution for a healthier world.

As we seek to lead, we do so as Stanford Medicine. The hospitals are where we provide premier patient-centered care. They are also the places where we carry out clinical research and where our students and trainees receive their clinical training. I am most grateful to Amir Rubin, Christopher Dawes, and all the leadership and staff of Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford for their central role in the shared mission of Stanford Medicine. Whatever success we achieve will not be ours alone. We also owe great debt of gratitude to our many enthusiastic volunteers and supporters who believe in our mission and the power of our vision.

In closing, I wish to acknowledge you—our faculty, students, and staff—for the outstanding work you do every day. Stanford Medicine is such a special place because of you, and I deeply appreciate the depth of your commitment to having an impact and making a difference.

The biomedical revolution is here, offering so much hope and possibility. We are poised to lead, and I can’t wait to see what we might accomplish together.

Sincerely,

Lloyd Minor

Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy

March 6, 2014

Subject : Letter from the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

We are living in the century of biomedicine—a time when new knowledge and technologies have accelerated the potential for preventing, treating, and curing disease. At a meeting of the Stanford University Board of Trustees a few weeks ago, I shared with them my thoughts about how we in Stanford Medicine will lead this biomedical revolution by achieving preeminence.

Leading up to this presentation was our annual strategic retreat with leaders from across Stanford Medicine. We spent a lot of time defining preeminence and discussing how we will know when we have achieved it. Amid a diversity of ideas and approaches, we agreed that Stanford Medicine must achieve excellence in each of our mission areas—research, education, and patient care—but that this is not enough. To achieve preeminence, we must also develop connections and collaborations across these mission areas to propel us to a new level of impact. I’d like to share with you a few thoughts about how we are working toward this tripartite excellence and collective preeminence.

In fundamental discovery—that curiosity-driven research that uncovers the mysteries of biology—we are undisputed leaders. Sustaining this excellence, however, will require new approaches and investments, such as increasing support for the most innovative science as well as for the core spaces and core resources that will enable us to take the lead in addressing the many modern scientific challenges that require collaboration across academic divides.

Excellence in research will mean that the patients we see in our clinics benefit from the innovative discoveries we make in our laboratories. One way that we are working to accelerate translation is through building up our clinical trials infrastructure. Currently about 40 percent of new cancer patients are presented to a multidisciplinary tumor board to determine whether they should be enrolled in a clinical trial. We’d like to increase that to 90 percent of eligible patients over the next five years. Another way is through support of initiatives like the Chemical Biology Institute, a joint venture with the schools of engineering and H&S. Last month, Peter Kim joined our faculty and the institute. Peter served for the past decade as president of Merck Research Laboratories and helped shepherd many drugs to market, including the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

To achieve excellence in education, we cannot just train outstanding scientists and physicians, we must develop future leaders who will determine the direction of their fields. For example, we are expanding our program for training physician scientists—those unique individuals who play a critical role in designing and conducting translational research. We already have an exemplary program, but we’d like to do more. Expect to see our MD/PhD cohort expand from about 80 to 120 students over the next five years.

In patient care, we have already taken the first—and, I believe, most important—step toward excellence in recognizing the central role of patient care within the school of medicine and the vital importance of patient care to our research and education missions as well as to our collective drive to preeminence. For this, I am indebted to my outstanding partners: Amir Rubin, CEO of Stanford Hospital and Clinics, and Christopher Dawes, CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

As in research and education, excellence in clinical care will require us to recruit, retain, and develop the very best faculty and faculty leaders. Here I am most grateful to Quynh Le and Frank Longo who are just beginning their work leading the search committees for the next chairs of ophthalmology and surgery, respectively. These departments have seen significant growth and transformation under the visionary leadership of Mark Blumenkranz and Tom Krummel, and I am pleased that Mark and Tom will be staying in their posts until their successors are named. On a related note, I am delighted to report that nurse scientists have now been given access to faculty appointments as Clinician Educators, allowing them to participate more fully in the academic life of Stanford Medicine.

On an institutional level, we are striving toward excellence in patient care by building a network of care that gets our specialists out into the community and brings high quality physicians from the community into Stanford Medicine. As I shared with you last fall, we have also established an accountable care health plan where we share responsibility for the cost and quality of the care provided to our beneficiaries. Stanford HealthCare Alliance was launched in January with more than 9,000 enrollees from the Stanford community.

If we are successful in all of these initiatives I have described—if we achieve excellence in research, education, and patient care—we will have achieved a great deal, but we won’t necessarily have achieved preeminence. We must also leverage our connections and relationships to create a collective whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Let me provide two examples.

One initiative at Stanford Medicine that I am very excited about is our work to build a learning health care system—that is, a health care system that generates and applies the best evidence for health care choices and drives the process of discovery as a natural outgrowth of patient care. This effort will require excellence in all areas of our mission as well as collaborations and integration at the intersections. To become a learning health care system we must harness the power of biomedical big data—the growing cache of information that includes everything from the vast diversity of genomic sequences to the contents of all our electronic medical records. It’s a challenge that we can’t achieve if we place research and patient care into discrete buckets.

Our initiative to transform cancer care is no different. In fact, in many ways, our cancer initiative is a metaphor for all that we want to accomplish at Stanford Medicine in the next ten years. It leverages our strength in fundamental research; it builds on our growing strength in translational research and clinical trials; it boldly states our goal of excellence in patient care with a patient-centered approach; and it brings Stanford Medicine together. Once we have established this new model of cancer care, we will share our successes broadly and replicate our efforts with other diseases.

If we are successful in creating a learning health care system and transforming cancer care, we will have demonstrated that we are able to bring all three parts of our mission together to achieve our vision of preeminence. But that’s not all. We will also have positioned ourselves to lead the biomedical revolution and to transform health and disease on a global scale.

I look forward to telling you more and hearing your thoughts at our next Town Hall this Monday, March 10, at 11 a.m. in Berg Hall. Until then,

With warmest wishes and deepest appreciation,

Lloyd Minor

Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy

November 21, 2013

Subject : Letter from the Dean

Dear Colleagues,
 
Now that Stanford University Open Enrollment has come to a close, we in Stanford Medicine are gearing up for the launch of Stanford HealthCare Alliance. Under this new health insurance offering, we will offer a full range of services from primary to complex care, and we look forward to providing our fellow employees with the highest quality of care and satisfaction. In the terminology of the Affordable Care Act, it offers “accountable care.” And it represents a departure from the fragmented model of American health care.
 
Stanford HealthCare Alliance will give the Stanford University and Stanford Medicine community access to the best of Stanford Medicine coordinated across all of Stanford Medicine. Under the umbrella of Stanford Medicine, the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford are united in identity, purpose, and a commitment to excellence. Safeguarding that excellence and ensuring the quality of our clinical networks, including Stanford HealthCare Alliance, are among my highest priorities as dean.
 
As we continue to work to build our unified identity through this and other initiatives, many of you have asked how we should use the Stanford Medicine brand in our communications. In response, we are working to compile design guidelines and create toolkits that can be used by all members of our community to give our communications—from publications and presentations to stationery and social media—a distinct look-and-feel. Concurrently, our web team is working to update Stanford Medicine’s digital presence, not just to reflect our unity, but also to share our common values and communicate our common vision to lead the biomedical revolution. Look for these new guidelines and the web launch this spring.
 
In my last letter, I shared with you some of the common themes that emerged during the strategy retreat with the clinical chairs, and today I would like to share with you some insights from the strategy retreat last month with the basic science chairs. We agreed that in order to maintain our preeminence in fundamental discovery, we must recruit and retain the best and brightest faculty and then give these faculty members, and their students and trainees, the time and freedom they need to go where the research leads. In the century of biology when so much is possible, we lamented that our researchers are increasingly constrained by a contracting and conservative federal funding environment.
 
This is where the Campaign for Stanford Medicine comes in. Recently $2 million was awarded to basic scientists through 22 competitive innovation grants. These funds have gone to faculty of all ranks and in all departments for one purpose: to support the highly creative projects that would have difficulty attracting support from traditional funding sources. Among the visionary work supported are projects to uncover the molecular and developmental origins of human facial diversity, to improve methods for identifying patients who might be harmed by treatments for heart disease, and to determine the structure of proteins in their natural cellular environments.
 
Since graduate students face the same constraints of time and money, $2.5 million in campaign funds is also being put to work to cover the first four years of training for our Ph.D. students in biosciences and thus remove their dependency on faculty NIH grants. These resources, we hope, will set our students free to take big chances and, ultimately, make big discoveries.
 
The basic science chairs also agreed that although time and freedom may be necessary for paradigm-changing research, it’s not enough. Our faculty, students, and trainees must also be able to work in a stimulating, diverse, and collaborative environment. Here at Stanford, we have benefited tremendously from our close relationships with the university and the hospitals and from our location in Silicon Valley. But as biomedical knowledge is exploding, there is a growing gap between medical research and medical practice, between basic and clinical discovery.
 
At the retreat, we shared a desire to break down these barriers by deepening the connections between our laboratories and our clinics and increasing the integration of our research, education, and patient care missions. As we move forward in our strategic planning efforts, this will be one area of focus. Our renowned Medical Scientist Training Program is well known, but another way that we are working to bridge the basic and clinical sciences is through the Masters of Science in Medicine. Campaign funds are currently supporting this innovative program that provides Ph.D. candidates with a perspective on clinical medicine.
 
No less important than the clinical or scientific perspectives on health and disease is the human perspective. With the growing attention on achievements in science and technology, the future of the humanities is a topic often discussed in scholarly circles. At Stanford Medicine, we know that the biomedical revolution will transform the human experience, but it will not help us answer fundamental questions about what it means to be human in the first place.
 
For age-old questions like these, we have disciplines such as philosophy, literature, and the arts. At the School of Medicine, we have our Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration and the nationally renowned Arts, Humanities, and Medicine Program, which sponsors numerous innovative projects and events and draws artists and humanists from across Stanford University. I recently had the pleasure of hosting a dinner for some of these talented individuals. In our lively discussions you could see how the humanities and medicine will continue to complement each other in the century of biology, each offering a unique window to understanding the human condition.
 
I look forward to hearing your thoughts at our next community-wide town hall on Friday, December 6, at 3 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean Conference Room at 3160 Porter Drive (with live streaming online). At this session, we will hear from Nobel laureate Steven Chu, a physicist who recently returned to Stanford with a joint appointment in our Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. Charles Prober, senior associate dean for medical education, will discuss the preliminary findings of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education’s recent site evaluation of our medical education program. In addition, I look forward to answering your questions, which you can submit in advance when you RSVP at http://is.gd/TownHallRSVP.
 
As I approach my first anniversary as dean, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have so many wonderful and engaged colleagues. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you and for you.
 
With warmest wishes and deepest appreciation,

Lloyd B. Minor, MD

Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy

September 11, 2013

Subject : Letter from the Dean

Dear Colleagues:

Several months ago, I shared with you my vision that we at Stanford Medicine will lead the biomedical revolution. In so doing, I started a lively and campus-wide conversation about the future of biomedicine and how we at Stanford Medicine can position ourselves to lead. Your engagement and enthusiasm have been deeply appreciated. Among a diversity of thoughts and ideas, I was gratified to hear one consistent response to the bold vision I articulated: challenge accepted.

Now that summer has become fall, I write to provide you with a brief update on a busy and productive summer in which I established goals for the new academic year and laid the groundwork for a broader comprehensive strategic planning process. I kicked off this planning process—the ultimate goal of which is to position us to meet the grand challenges of the century of biology—by hosting a retreat for clinical science chairs. The basic science chairs will gather for a strategy retreat of their own early next month.

At the clinical retreat, we focused on how we can move forward on our key priorities to build our identity as Stanford Medicine and to elevate our clinical mission. We looked for common themes and found many. We agree that research, education, and patient care must be seen as co-equal, and integrated, missions. And we share a vision to promote academic excellence throughout our clinical settings; to provide clinical care of unsurpassed quality and value; to offer highly differentiated, innovative care for the most complex clinical problems; to be a “must have” network for employers and insurance carriers; and to lead health care delivery with innovative virtual care models.

In setting strategy for the clinical enterprises, I am also working with our outstanding hospital CEOs, Amir Rubin and Christopher Dawes. Under the umbrella of Stanford Medicine, we are united in identity, purpose, and a commitment to excellence. Safeguarding that excellence and ensuring the quality of our physician practices and clinical networks is among my highest priorities as dean.

We seek not just to maintain a high standard of quality but also to define what quality means in this new era of accountable care. As I shared with you a few months ago, Stanford Medicine received an extraordinarily generous gift to transform cancer research and care delivery. This month we will begin designing and implementing clinical and operational interventions across the Cancer Care Programs in three categories: improving patient flow, increasing coordination of care, and implementing new models of care for cancer patients. This new era of health care also requires that we provide value and coordinated care, which will be the focus of the new Stanford health care accountable care organization that we will launch this year. Its success will require new population management practices and integration with community physician networks.

Leading the biomedical revolution will require new models for care delivery as well as new paradigms for research. In this regard, a key focus this year will be planning for the global big data initiative in collaboration with Oxford University. During my visit to Hong Kong this summer, I received a commitment from the Li Ka Shing Foundation to a provide a planning grant that will allow us recruit an executive director for the initiative who will develop a process for awarding seed grants, recruiting post docs, and hosting a second annual conference on May 21-23, 2014. In keeping with our goal to deepen our relationship with Stanford University, our planning for the global big data initiative will include raising philanthropic support for other schools according to the priorities established by the university’s working group on theoretical and computational sciences.

Among my other priorities for the year are to ensure the success of the next phase of the Campaign for Stanford Medicine, to build the school’s administrative foundations for excellence by continuing to work with central units to identify opportunities for improved cost controls and efficiencies, to streamline our faculty appointment and promotion processes and create greater consistency across departments, to expand our faculty development activities, to establish a process for expanding diversity at the departmental level, and to develop shared goals for diversity efforts that are currently fragmented among the various populations of students, trainees, faculty, and staff.

Last, but certainly not least, leading the biomedical revolution will require us to train the leaders of tomorrow. In this area, I am committed to working with school leadership to refine our medical school curriculum in order to smooth the transitions between premedical, medical, and postgraduate medical education and to more fully integrate basic and clinical science training through early, longitudinal experiences in science, scholarship, and clinical learning. I will also support the school’s engagement in the creation of innovative instructional methodologies designed to complement interactive exercises for learners across the medical education continuum.

Several weeks ago, the latest crop of medical students arrived on campus, and I am astounded by their accomplishments. Selected from an applicant pool of more than 7,300, these 102 students are a diverse group. Twenty-three were born outside the United States; 15 hold advanced degrees: 10 have master’s degrees and five have PhDs; and one-third have published in peer-reviewed journals. I cannot wait to see what these students will accomplish during their time here, and I look forward to getting to know them better in my twice-monthly evening receptions with students.

I deeply appreciate your enthusiasm and am grateful for the pleasure of working alongside you every day. The announcement earlier this week that molecular neuroscientist Thomas Südhof and former Stanford scientist Richard Scheller won the Lasker Award demonstrates once again that we have the preeminence and innovation needed to lead the biomedical revolution.

I will continue to share with you the progress that we make—together—in defining and refining our strategic priorities. In my next letter, I will provide an update on the strategic planning retreat with the basic science chairs. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing your thoughts at our next community-wide town hall on Monday, September 30 at 11:30 a.m. in Berg Hall and at subsequent town halls at our locations on Porter Drive and in Redwood City.

With warmest wishes and deepest appreciation,

Sincerely,

Lloyd B. Minor,  MD

Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy

June 14, 2013

Subject : Letter from the Dean

Dear Colleagues:

As the academic year comes to an end, I wish to thank you for the privilege of being your dean these past six months. It has been a pleasure to meet so many of you—to learn about your work and to see your passion and desire to have an impact. I have come to believe even more firmly that we at Stanford Medicine are unique in our commitment to excellence, innovation, and collaboration. Whatever we do, we do it well, and the advances we seek are not incremental in nature but paradigm shifting. As innovators, we are drawn to the most difficult problems, and we understand that solving these problems often requires collaboration across disciplines and divisions.

Earlier this week, I had the honor of discussing my priorities for Stanford Medicine with the Stanford University Board of Trustees. I shared with them a bold vision: Stanford Medicine will lead the biomedical revolution. I believe now is our time. If the 19th century was about chemistry and the 20th century about physics, the 21st century will be about biology. And we at Stanford Medicine are uniquely poised to lead.

We will lead the biomedical revolution by promoting fundamental, clinical, and translational discovery. Our dominance in fundamental discovery is well known, but our preeminence in clinical and translational discovery is growing rapidly. Just last week we learned that Spectrum, the Stanford center supported by the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program received a perfect score on its renewal application. And recently our efforts to promote clinical research received a tremendous boost when Provost John Etchemendy approved my request to allow clinician-educators to be principal investigators on clinical studies.

In the century of biology, research will be increasingly dominated by big data—the growing cache of biomedical information that is so large it defies easy analysis. We are poised to lead in this area—to develop the platforms and paradigms for how to harness this data to improve human health around the globe. In collaboration with Oxford University, Stanford hosted a very successful conference on big data in biomedicine last month. The auditorium’s 300 seats were filled; nearly 3,000 others logged on to watch the conference live and hear what we had to say.

We will also lead the biomedical revolution by transforming patient care. Not just by bringing the benefits of our discoveries to our patients, but by transforming the patient experience. Thanks to the advocacy of President John Hennessy and the generosity of loyal university donors, I am delighted to announce that as part of the Campaign for Stanford Medicine we have received $125 million in commitments toward an initiative to transform patient care, beginning with cancer—a complex disease that requires a level of care coordination so often lacking in our health care delivery system. Once we have established this new model of cancer care, we will share our successes broadly and replicate our efforts with other diseases.

And we will lead by training the leaders of tomorrow. Just a quick conversation with any of our students and trainees, and you will know that we are already training the future leaders of the biomedical revolution. Of all the events I have had the pleasure of attending these past six months, the ones with our students and trainees are among the most memorable. To ensure that our preeminent programs maintain their unparalleled excellence, we recently underwent a comprehensive self-study in preparation for accreditation renewal by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). I am most grateful for the 175 faculty, students, and staff who contributed to this ambitious review.

In my presentation to the Stanford Board of Trustees, I also identified two overall priorities as we move forward with our vision to lead the biomedical revolution: to build our identity as Stanford Medicine and to elevate our clinical mission. Though separate, these priorities are both about leveraging strengths, collaborating, and building a whole that is better than the simple sum of its parts.

To be a national leader in academic medicine, I believe we must deepen our relationships with Stanford University—the preeminent research university from which we derive our values of excellence, innovation, and collaboration—and with Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital—the preeminent hospitals that are the laboratories for our research and the classrooms for our students and trainees. We are stronger together than we are apart. And that’s what building our identity as Stanford Medicine is all about.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with two outstanding hospital CEOs, Amir Rubin and Christopher Dawes, and pleased that through strategic planning for the Campaign for Stanford Medicine and the upcoming Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health campaign, we have identified and are moving forward on common goals and priorities centered on our shared aspiration to improve human health.

And to be a national leader in academic medicine, I believe we must see research, education, and patient care as co-equal, and integrated, missions. To expand excellence in one area is to expand excellence in all three. Just as we cannot separate the hospitals from the school, we cannot separate the patient care mission from the research mission. In all three areas we are committed to excellence, innovation, and collaboration; we are clinicians, scientists, and educators who will lead the biomedical revolution.

In closing, I wish to thank each of you for the work you do every day to make Stanford Medicine such a wonderful place where discoveries are made, patients are cured, and leaders are born. It is so rewarding to be your dean.

I look forward to celebrating with all of our graduates and their families this weekend at Commencement. And I wish everyone an enjoyable and restful summer. In the future, I look forward to keeping you apprised of our successes and our challenges through letters such as these and community-wide town halls, including our next town hall in September at Berg Hall, with others to follow at our locations on Porter Drive and in Redwood City.

With warmest wishes and deepest appreciation,

Sincerely,

Lloyd Minor

Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy

March 12, 2013

Subject : US News Ranking

Dear Stanford Medicine Community:

As you may know, today U.S. News and World Report released its annual rankings of the Best Graduate Schools. The Stanford University School of Medicine was ranked No. 2 among the Best Medical Schools for Research.

Though we all know that external rankings offer just one perspective, today’s news provides an opportunity—or perhaps, an excuse—for me to express my appreciation and for us as an institution to reflect on just how far we’ve come.

To do this, of course, begins with recognition of the outstanding leadership of my predecessor. During his nearly 12 years as dean, Phil Pizzo rebuilt the identity and mission of the school of medicine in the wake of the painful merger and demerger with UCSF. In so doing, Phil significantly contributed to school’s collaborative and interdisciplinary culture by forging closer connections with the university and with the hospitals.

Which brings me to my colleagues, Amir Rubin, CEO of Stanford Hospital and Clinics, and Chris Dawes, CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Any success that we as school experience is shared jointly with the hospitals. It is my privilege to be able to work with such wonderful partners in the shared mission of Stanford Medicine.

Today’s news, though, is really about you—our faculty, students, and staff. Stanford Medicine is such a special place because of you, and I most grateful for all that you do: transforming medicine day-by-day, discovery-by-discovery, patient-by-patient, and cure-by-cure.

In the months and years ahead, we will continue moving forward—focused on advancing innovation, empowering future leaders, and transforming patient care. Each day offers new hope and new possibilities, and I cannot wait to see what we might accomplish together.

 

Sincerely,

Lloyd B. Minor, MD

Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy