Celebrating 40 Years of Service

Dr. Ronald Garcia has provided 40 years of service to the Stanford University community.  As an educator, administrator, and advocate for students, he has created a legacy that has and will continue to impact the School of Medicine and its surrounding community in the area of diversity. His accomplishments have garnered respect and recognition not only from his colleagues locally, regionally, and nationally, but most important from all of the students his work has touched.

Since 1992, Dr. Ronald Garcia has been Director of the Center of Excellence for Diversity in Medical Education (COE).  In collaboration with Dr. Fernando Mendoza, he has led the Center’s efforts to improve the pipeline for diversity into the health professions, and concurrently develop educational programs that improve students training in cultural competency, an important curricular task during a time of growing population diversity. The excellence of his leadership has produced sustained funding since 1992 for the COE through federal grants: the Center of Excellence and Health Careers Opportunity Program grants. These grants provide the resources for the Stanford University School of Medicine to develop pipeline programs for minority and other disadvantaged students, and to develop retention and educational programs for medical students, fellows, and faculty.  His last HCOP grant was only one of three in the nation, and provided a Bay Area educational network that linked Stanford University School of Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, and San Francisco State College.  This was the first program to develop a Bay Area wide pipeline focus on diversity students from community colleges, as well as four-year institutions.  One component of this program, the Stanford HCOP Summer Program, involved 320 minority and educationally disadvantaged students over 10 years, with follow-up data showing that 100% graduated from college, 41% entered medical school, and another 46% entered master's or doctoral degree programs.  For this work, he was awarded the “Champion for Diversity” from the California Wellness Foundation, and was noted to be among the 100 most influential Latinos in Silicon Valley by the Mexican-American Community Service Agency.

Beyond his administration and advocacy for students, Dr. Garcia has remained an educator. As a Senior Lecturer, he has been for more than two decades a core component of the Stanford Center for Education in Family and Community Medicine. His role as Associate Director and Director of Admissions of the Primary Care Associate Program, a physician assistant training program, has been one of the reasons that this program has achieved its excellence in the field. Recognition of his contribution to this area of health professions education led to his election as President of the Association of Physician Assistant Programs.  His work for the program in curriculum development, grant writing, and advising is one reason that the program is now moving to the next level and exploring the development of a Masters program.  Lastly, this focus on helping students understand the value of providing cultural competent care has been a training force for his teaching. He developed and has taught courses on cultural competency and understanding the relationship between health and ethnicity and race. These courses have prepared the next generation of health providers with skills that will empower them to better serve all in our society.

This is the forty-year legacy of Dr. Ronald Garcia.