Reena Thomas appointed new senior associate dean for medical education

Reena Thomas, MD, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences
Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education

Dear Colleagues, 

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Reena Thomas, MD, PhD, our associate dean of diversity in medical education, as Stanford School of Medicine’s next senior associate dean for medical education. Neil Gesundheit, MD, will step down as senior associate dean for medical education on July 31 and continue at the School of Medicine as a senior advisor overseeing major projects, including some he is actively leading. 

Thomas came to Stanford in 2010 as a neurology resident and joined our faculty in 2014. Over the past decade, she has established herself as a clear-eyed and effective leader. Her contributions to medical education, innovative work as a highly productive clinician-scientist, and expansive knowledge of Stanford Medicine and our trainees uniquely qualify her for this new leadership role.

Thomas is nationally recognized for her excellence in medical education, including through her roles as fellowship program director of neuro oncology and subsequently as associate dean of diversity in medical education. Through her oversight of the Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance (SUMMA) and other efforts, she has helped diversify student recruitment and create an educational environment centered on belonging. She has also established herself as a leader in education program development, sitting on the steering committee of Stanford Medicine’s Racial Equity to Advance a Community of Health (REACH) initiative, a multi-faceted program launched last year to empower diverse cohorts of students to attend medical school at Stanford, advance health equity, and increase diversity in the academic research pipeline.

As a clinician-scientist, Thomas is recognized for her groundbreaking translational research in immune-based therapy for cancer. Among her many accomplishments, she recently secured a $12 million award to spearhead CAR-T cell therapy innovation for glioblastoma brain tumors, working with her team to revolutionize treatment possibilities and outcomes for patients.

I want to express my immense gratitude to Gesundheit for his inspiring leadership and dedication to our students. Over seven years as our senior associate dean for medical education, he has cultivated rigorous training environments that integrate biomedical research, attracted talented and diverse student bodies, and helped advance our commitment to health equity – all while fostering strong and meaningful relationships with our students. He was also instrumental in navigating the LCME accreditation process. His many efforts have elevated our school of medicine and launched the careers of hundreds of health care leaders. 

Gesundheit is wholly supportive of Thomas assuming the senior associate dean role. I am grateful that he will work with her to ensure a smooth transition for our school and for our medical students.

Please join me in congratulating Thomas on her appointment that will begin on August 1 and in thanking Gesundheit for all he has and continues to do for our School of Medicine.


Lloyd Minor, MD
Dean of the School of Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Stanford University