More than 50 faculty, staff members, residents and students were recognized with 2019 awards for outstanding contributions to the Stanford Medicine community.

Rebecca Blankenburg, MD, MPH, clinical associate professor of pediatrics and of emergency medicine, received the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Teaching Award for Outstanding and Innovative Contributions to Medical Education.

The American College of Surgeons has reverified Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford as an adult and pediatric Level I trauma center, the highest possible ranking for trauma centers.

Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford have been re-verified as a Level I adult and pediatric trauma center through May 2022 by the American College of Surgeons.

Level I verification is the highest possible ranking for trauma centers and recognizes the hospitals’ dedication to providing the best possible care for all injured patients.

Tad and Dianne Taube commit $6 million for pediatric cancer research

Silicon Valley philanthropists Tad and Dianne Taube have committed $6 million to the School of Medicine to establish the Taube Initiative in Pediatric Cancer Research, which will further the development of innovative therapies to improve the cure rates for childhood cancer. 

“It is essential that we help society’s most vulnerable, our children, to beat cancer,” said Tad Taube, chairman of Taube Philanthropies. “Researchers at Stanford, one of the world’s preeminent research institutions, are leading the way in the search for better treatments for this dreadful disease. We are proud to support them in their effort to save countless children’s lives.”

Reservoir bugs: Study shows why stomach pathogen is so tough to eradicate

The findings, published online May 2 in PLoS Biology, raise questions about the effectiveness of probiotic approaches, in which “good” germs are ingested in an effort to supplant “bad” germs. Yet the findings also hint at possibly effective ways to deal with the potentially life-threatening H. pylori strains now inhabiting one of every two human stomachs.

“This study changes the way we think about how microbes like H. pylori establish their chronic persistence in the body,” said Manuel Amieva, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology, who is the study’s senior author. The lead author is former graduate student Connie Fung, PhD.

Finding strategies for professional wellness

Physician burnout in the United States may have passed its high-water mark. According to a survey conducted by Tait Shanafelt, MD, director of Stanford’s WellMD Center, doctors were doing a little better in 2017 than in 2014. Even so, they’re worse off than people in other professions. In 2017, about 44 percent of doctors surveyed indicated they experienced at least one symptom of burnout, while only about a quarter of other professionals said the same. 

Postdoctoral scholar Rachel Schwartz, PhD, and her colleagues at the School of Medicine decided to look for some solutions outside the health care field. They interviewed 30 people in non-medical jobs that require interpersonal connection — salespeople, firefighters, lawyers, educators, musicians, social workers, yoga instructors and others — to learn how different professions address professional wellness. An article about their research was published online April 29 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Some viruses help protect harmful bacteria in CF patients

Some viruses sequester antibiotics in the lungs of CF patients, possibly helping drug-resistant bacterial infections develop in the face of large antibiotic doses, a Stanford-led study has shown. The study’s co-senior authors are Paul Bollyky, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology, and Carlos Milla, MD, professor of pediatrics. Milla and Burgener are pediatric pulmonologists at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, where they treat CF patients.

The Clinical Research Quality office released new procedures to enhance research quality, efficiency and compliance

The Clinical Research Quality office has just released a new library of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) aimed at helping groups conduct quality human-subject research more efficiently and in compliance with laws and regulations.

As a research institution, Stanford University must comply with laws, policies and regulations established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), the International Conference on Harmonization guidelines (ICH), and the State of California.

With metabolic profiles of children, new center hopes to head off disease early

In a bid to understand the origins of many childhood diseases, a Stanford team plans to broadly characterize the metabolic profiles of thousands of patients treated at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health clinics.

Researchers at the Metabolic Health Center, whose launch was approved by the dean’s office in February, will analyze patients’ blood and urine samples with mass spectrometry to measure about 1,500 small molecules per patient, with the ultimate goal of producing a detailed metabolic profile of every patient seen at the hospital or clinics. The metabolites, indicators of what the body’s cells are busy doing, will include nearly 800 individual lipids and an additional 700 nonlipid chemicals. The team plans to have their first 1,000 metabolic profiles completed by the end of 2019.