Commitment to Diversity
"Innovators from different backgrounds bring unique and important perspectives to understanding and addressing healthcare needs – and that is at the core of the Biodesign innovation process."
-Paul Yock, Director, Stanford Biodesign
Diversity Mission Statement
Stanford Biodesign is committed to providing an inclusive and respectful work environment. Our training approach depends on bringing together individuals with different academic and professional experiences who share a passion for health technology innovation. We believe that diversity across multiple dimensions, including gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic backgrounds, provides a breadth of perspectives that inspires creativity and helps us innovate for different patient populations. We rely on all of our fellows, students, staff, and faculty to contribute to the diversity and inclusiveness of our workplace and to honor these essential aspects of our culture.
Our ongoing efforts to strengthen diversity at Stanford Biodesign include:
- Promoting our programs to diverse populations and recruiting students, fellows, staff, and faculty with varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
- Regularly communicating to students, fellows, staff, and faculty why we value a diverse workplace and how they can help foster an inclusive environment.
- Establishing and upholding policies that support an inclusive and respectful work environment, as well as clear processes for identifying and resolving workplace issues in a timely manner.
- Engaging a “task force” of alumni fellows, staff, and faculty to monitor progress against our diversity and culture goals and help us advance in these important areas.
- Connecting with relevant organizations at Stanford University and across Silicon Valley to better understand the state of diversity in the health technology industry and collaborate on ways to improve equity and inclusion in the field.
These actions are the responsibility of the entire Stanford Biodesign leadership team, with help from our Diversity Council. The council, which is made up of alumni from our Innovation Fellowship, has been charged with helping us optimize and expand our diversity and inclusion practices across our programs. It is led by Carolyn Heller, our Director of Operations and Finance.
Programs and Resources
Stanford Biodesign has initiated a number of activities to help us foster a diverse and inclusive culture, as well as equal opportunities for our applicants and trainees. These programs include:
Our diversity council is made up of alumni from the Innovation Fellowship. This group meets bi-monthly to help Stanford Biodesign monitor our culture and work environment, assist in efficiently and effectively responding to issues as they arise, and challenge us to continue improving in the areas of diversity and inclusion. The council also administers a bi-annual survey of our trainees to gather input on our progress and generate additional ideas on how we can improve.
Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
This working group is responsible for developing and directing current and future inclusion activities in support of Stanford Biodesign's diversity mission. The group, which includes representatives from Stanford Biodesign's faculty, staff, fellows, alumni, and the health technology industry, meets on a monthly basis.
Quarterly Diversity and Inclusion Offsites
Every quarter, the diversity council hosts an offsite meeting for those in our community interested in promoting diversity and inclusion efforts at Stanford Biodesign. During these working sessions, we gather feedback, discuss potential issues, and share past experiences on this topic in a supportive environment.
We recently convened leaders across the health technology industry to discuss how we can work together to help improve gender diversity in our field. At the meeting, 50 executives, investors, and entrepreneurs collaborated to more deeply understand unmet gender-related needs related to hiring, promotion, work schedules, company events, and fundraising. Then they brainstormed preliminary solutions to help increase gender diversity and improve work practices for all health tech employees. The organizing committee is currently planning next steps for this important initiative. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, checkout these “small wins” that we can all undertake to begin working toward a more diverse workplace.
On Campus Resources
Like Stanford Biodesign, Stanford University has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Individuals who come to train with us are encouraged to take advantage of the many resources and programs available across the university. Explore the following links for some examples:
Stanford Biodesign believes in sharing these metrics as one mechanism for holding us accountable to our goal of achieving a more diverse and inclusive community. We are tracking our progress in these (and other) areas and working hard to improve our results.
2019-20 Innovation Fellows
Innovation Fellows Trained Since 2001
Stanford Biodesign Management/Staff/Faculty as of 2019
Annual Diversity Challenge
“Many women in our industry experience a non-meritocratic workplace in which their ability to rise is hampered by exclusion, stereotyping, and bias.”
— Maria Sainz
In March of 2019, Stanford Biodesign and The Fogarty Institute for Innovation convened a summit to explore gender diversity in health technology innovation. The summit, as well as an industry survey conducted in parallel, identified numerous inequalities in the workplace that negatively affect women’s experiences and have the potential to drive them out of the field. The Annual Diversity Challenge was developed by a steering committee of summit participants as a way for individuals take action to positively affect some of these inequalities and share the results over time.
The Annual Diversity Challenge is a ten-month initiative for members of the health technology industry interested in improving gender equality in their workplace environment. Our first challenge runs from December 2019 through September 2020 and our focus is on mentorship.
Please join us for a short introductory webinar on Thursday, December 5 at 4:00 pm to learn the many different ways you can get involved as an individual or company, gain access to helpful resources, and meet our Diversity Challenge team.
Success stories and lessons learned from this challenge will be shared with participants throughout the year. We will also discuss and build on the results in an interactive plenary session at the next Summit on Gender in Health Technology Innovation in November of 2020 (exact date TBA). Learn more about the inaugural summit.
Mentoring has been shown to help women rise and succeed in the workplace, and also to positively impact recruiting, job satisfaction, retention, promotion, and business growth. It aligns with the small wins model because there are many different ways to participate. Whether you drive the creation or expansion of a formal mentorship program at your company, become a mentor, or help someone else find a mentor, all of these approaches add up to meaningful change, especially when many of us get involved.
“Mentoring was recently found to be the most impactful activity for increasing diversity and inclusion at work, compared to diversity training and a variety of other diversity initiatives.” – Harvard Business Review
“Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations found that mentoring programs dramatically improved promotion and retention rates for minorities and women—15% to 38% as compared to non-mentored employees.” – Forbes
The Gender in Health Technology Innovation survey of 403 industry professionals we conducted in early 2019 found that having a mentor was associated with statistically significantly higher scores on proxy questions for job satisfaction and an inclusive environment. Respondents who agreed with most of those statements were significantly less likely to be thinking about leaving their jobs than respondents who did not.
- Mentorship Models
- What is a Mentor?
- Learn More – How to be a Mentor
- How to Start a Formal Mentoring Program
Meet the Diversity Challenge Organizing Team
We are excited to engage you in this important topic!
- Maria Sainz, President and CEO, Aegea Medical
- Dan Azagury, Director for Education, Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship
- Annette Ewanich, Executive Assistant, Stanford Biodesign
- Emily Johnson, Fellowships Manager, Stanford Biodesign
- Uday Kumar, Founder and CEO, Element Science
- Mark Leahey, President and CEO, Medical Device Manufacturers Association
- Mika Reiner Mayer, Partner, Cooley LLP
- Tejas Mazmudar, Principal R&D Engineer, Minerva Surgical, Inc.
- Christine McCauley, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources, Edwards Lifesciences
- Stacey McCutcheon, Communications Manager, Stanford Biodesign
- Andy McGibbon, Managing Partner, Sonder Capital
- Marga Ortigas-Wedekind, Fogarty Institute for Innovation
- Mike Regan, Chief Innovation Officer, Fogarty Institute for Innovation
- Garrett Schwab, Consultant
- Raje Srinivasan, Software Engineering Manager, Intuitive Surgical
- James Wall, Director for Program Development, Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship
- Paul Yock, Founder and Director, Stanford Biodesign
More About Us
From the story of our founding and growth to our promise for the future of health technology innovation, there’s so much to discover about Stanford Biodesign.