The Power of Integration

March 18, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

As winter gives way to spring, I feel a heightened sense of enthusiasm for our collective vision and a renewed gratitude for the work that you—our faculty, trainees, students, and staff—do every day to improve human health. With new collaborations and increased coordination, we are continually unleashing the power of integration to help us achieve more together than we ever could alone.

Through increased synergy, we in Stanford Medicine are creating a whole that is greater than the sum of our parts—bringing together our organizations and mission areas to transform cancer care, translate biomedical breakthroughs, and lead the biomedical revolution in Precision Health. We still have a lot of work to do, but I am pleased at our progress in breaking down the barriers that stand between us and our potential.

One of the ways that Mariann Byerwalter, Christopher Dawes, and I are working toward our shared priorities is through the Integrated Clinical Strategy Committee. Focused on fostering innovation, the committee meets regularly to explore ways to enhance the preeminence of our clinical enterprise. Among the models we look to is Intermountain Healthcare, an integrated healthcare system based in Utah that is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and efficient care delivery. Earlier this year we were pleased to formalize a collaboration agreement with Intermountain that will lead to higher quality care and improved value for patients at Stanford and Intermountain.

In addition to bringing together our constituent organizations, integration also means bridging the components of our tripartite mission. One example of this will be on display on March 23 as clinical and basic scientists gather for a symposium on frontiers in diabetes and metabolism research. It’s the first in a series of events intended to give faculty, trainees, and students across Stanford Medicine an opportunity to build the relationships and make the connections that will enhance the impact of their work. The symposia are open to all members of the Stanford Medicine community. 

Collectively, our efforts at enhancing collaboration and alignment took a considerable step forward last year when we developed a unifying vision to lead the biomedical revolution in Precision Health. To develop this theme, we came together: basic scientists and clinicians; hospital leaders and faculty; community physicians and clinician scientists on our campus; faculty from other schools at Stanford and our 2,105 faculty in the School of Medicine; leaders of our boards; and leaders of our university.

Our Precision Health vision is not an incremental step. It’s a bold concept that promises a transformation in how we approach health. Instead of a frantic race to cure disease after the fact, we can increasingly prevent disease before it strikes. Our vision is not static, either. It’s a living and evolving set of motivating goals and principles that will enable us to have a profound impact on biomedical science and human health.

Unified by a culture of relentless creativity, we are poised to lead this revolution. Our work on Precision Health has already delivered new solutions for some of medicine’s toughest challenges: diagnostics that detect diseases at their earliest, most curable stages; a device that can predict a pediatric asthma attack days before it strikes; new approaches to eliminating food allergies; and partnerships with companies such as Apple to allow patients to monitor their health and share information to improve the health of others.

This is just the beginning. We in Stanford Medicine have a responsibility to see the Precision Health revolution succeed, but it won’t be easy. We must come together across boundaries to devise new approaches to old problems and to rally a global community that will join us in creating healthcare focused on treating people rather than treating disease.

Though our individual parts may seem small and simple, together we can transform human health. That’s the power of integration.


Lloyd Minor

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