Stars of Stanford Medicine

Beth Duff-Brown


Stanford Health Policy

A former globetrotting journalist,
Beth Duff-Brown now promotes the innovative research of Stanford’s health policy experts.

Health policy has never been more important to the everyday lives of Americans. It provides a roadmap for advancing our nation’s health care system. It defines a vision for the future, outlines evidence-based priorities and builds consensus.

Stanford’s health policy researchers are scattered across the university’s seven schools, and three years ago, Beth Duff-Brown was hired to create a unified communications platform for them. Her mission: to better disseminate their research, make it easier for government officials and the media to leverage their expertise and to educate the public on issues.

“There are proposals that would change the face of Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act that everyone needs to better understand,” said Beth. “And our faculty and researchers are doing such important health policy work around the world.”

On a day-to-day basis, Beth runs Stanford Health Policy’s social media channels, produces videos and curates its website. She also writes explanatory stories, both short and long, about the faculty’s research.

Beth Duff-Brown’s story about her relationship with a small village in the Democratic Republic of Congo was nominated for a Pulitzer prize.

Before coming to Stanford, Beth was an international journalist. She worked in Africa and Asia as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press, where she served as bureau chief for South Asia in New Delhi and the Deputy Asia Editor in Bangkok. She was a 2010-2011 Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford, where she developed a digital platform to tell stories about women and girls in the developing world. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and in 1996, her story about her relationship with a small village in the Democratic Republic of Congo was nominated for a Pulitzer prize.

Despite her “old school” journalism background, Beth has been quick to leverage emerging social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Exposure, Vimeo and Storify. Since she launched the StanfordHealthPolicy Twitter feed, she’s sent out almost 14,000 tweets and has garnered more than 4,000 followers.

 “She has revolutionized our media outreach, communication and website.” Doug Owens, MD, director of Stanford’s Center for Health Policy.

One of the things that she loves the most about being at Stanford is being able to immerse herself into stories and issues that really matter.

“My passion has always been to write about people who are changing the world,” said Beth. “And one of beauties of working with Stanford policy experts is that they really understand and appreciate how hard it is to put their work into language that people can understand.”