Up and Running

June 17 2021 — Presence for Racial Justice in Healthcare

Racial disparities observed during the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn renewed attention to health-care inequities in the United States and around the world. Since its inception, the Presence Center at Stanford Medicine has made addressing racial justice in health care a priority.

Attendees joined Drs. Abraham Verghese, Hannah Valantine, and other distinguished leaders to learn about the contributions the Presence Center is making to deepen clinician-patient relationships within diverse populations, address racial biases and racism in clinical care, and develop partnerships with historically Black universities and colleges and clinics serving predominantly Black patients.

Meharrian Farewell 2021

Presence for Racial Justice 

Under the Presence Center, the Department of Medicine built on existing programs focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Here are three such initiatives under the Presence for Racial Justice Lab effort, spearheaded by Presence leaders Abraham Verghese, MD, vice chair of education for the Department of Medicine and the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor of Medicine, and Sonoo Thadaney Israni, MBA, executive director for Presence and for the Program in Bedside Medicine.

Stanford Medicine 25

Dr. Verghese and team originally created Stanford Medicine 25 to teach thorough physical examination skills to our trainees. Over the years, this desire to teach Presence at the bedside has evolved into a global movement which includes Stanford based training, our annual symposium, training videos with global reach, and more. The annual Report showcasing S25.

Stanford Presence 5

With initial funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and under the co-leadership of Donna Zulman MD and Abraham Verghese, MD, our goal is to develop the Stanford Presence 5.

Innovative Health Care Leaders Program

Presence- GSB Partnership innovation. Leadership, Resilence. Today's successful health care leaders must demonstrate all three. In this extraordinary one-week program, you’ll learn how design thinking and personal leadership skills can help you develop innovative solutions to the specific challenges facing health care leaders — from improving patient care and prioritizing physician wellness to developing negotiation skills and anticipating health care reform.

The 2021 Program takes place June 7–11, 2021. Application deadline is May 17, 2021.


Presence Restorative Justice (RJ) Lab Partnership with the Stanford Early Life Stress and Pediatric Anxiety Program (ELSPAP)-Tipping Point Community Wellness Program

The Presence Restorative Justice (RJ) Lab Partnership with the Stanford Early Life Stress and Pediatric Anxiety Program (ELSPAP) Tipping Point Community Wellness Program focuses on the human experience of care, bringing restorative justice practices, and conflict- and decision coaching skills to the team, further strengthening their impact.  RJ practices are incorporated into Wellness Program services, providing CBOs (Community Based Organizations) with a framework and skillset for building community, cohesion, and equity while addressing experiences of distress and conflict. 


Society of Bedside Medicine

Evidence Based Psycho-Social Factors in Health with Stanford's Mind Body Lab

FRAMILY (Friends and Family) Role and Empowerment

The caregivers in a patient’s world include their friends and family. This "framily" is currently an untapped gold mine that the medical system must proactively and productively engage for better patient outcomes. Presence is incubating research to better understand what works and how best to leverage it.

In partnership with Stanford HealthCare, Presence and the Trivedi Lab seeked to empower and engage the unpaid family and friends who are integral partners with patients and their healing. Presence advises the Caregiver Initiative, under the Patient Experience team of Stanford Healthcare. Our efforts including exploring education, community engagement, peer-mentoring, expert guidance, and resource brokering to assist Framily as caregivers.


Presence - CASBS Fellowship (on hiatus for 2020-21)

A fellowship with the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) has supported one fellow who was engaged in nudging forward the strategic focus of Presence.

Applicants have been able to articulate how their fellowship has contributed to the Presence mission and strategic direction.

Presence Fellow- Andrew Elder

Awarded a CASBS-Presence Fellowship at Stanford University in 2018-19, he worked on a book project outlining the challenges that we face in the provision of care for increasing numbers of older, frailer, multimorbid patients in our health systems and broader society. Appointed as a Presence Scholar in 2019 he continues to support the work of the Presence initiative, particularly with regard to the care of older people.

Equity, AI Inclusion in Health Care with AI Technology 

Stanford Medicine’s new center, Presence (The Art and Science of Human Connection in Medicine), is partnering with centers campus-wide to explore a thoughtful, equitable, and inclusive development and deployment of Artificial Intelligence solutions for human health and well-being.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that the lack of presence in the medical encounter impacts those who lack privilege the most.  When the system or individuals delivering healthcare are not or cannot be present to address the needs of the patients and their framilies (family and friends), the privileged demand it and receive it. Those who lack privilege typically do not question authority and pay the heaviest price when concerns or questions remain unspoken due to inadequate self-advocacy.


Presence – Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign Partnership 

We added Presence curriculum, criteria, and mentorship to the highly successful Center, whose goal is to "create an ecosystem of training and support for Stanford University students, fellows, and faculty with the talent and ambition to become health technology innovators.” Presence brings an added focus around human impact, inclusion, and equity.

The Byers Center is committed to “looking beyond research and discovery to provide the knowledge, skills, mentoring, and networking required to deliver meaningful and valuable innovations to patients everywhere."

Cybergrant Winter 2015

The mission of the Stanford Cyber Initiative was to produce research and frame debates on the future of cyber-social systems.

Presence-Biomedical Ontology Fellow

Design Thinking for Presence Impact

IDEO , Presence & The Human Experience in Medicine was developed in partnership with IDEO with the goal of bringing design thinking to address the challenges of diagnostic error in medicine.