June Letter from the Dean

June 14, 2013

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,


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