Defining the principles of Stanford Medicine

The Principles of Stanford Medicine describes how the School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford work together.

Excellence in research, teaching and clinical care is what defines Stanford Medicine, but each of these components is dependent on the others for its world-class standing.

The research in the School of Medicine informs the leading-edge clinical care at Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. The physician-scientists take what they learn from caring for patients back to their labs to inform their research into new diagnostics and treatments. And the students and residents depend on the excellence of faculty and staff both in the classrooms, hospitals and clinics to become the next generation of leaders in biomedical research and clinical care.

In other words, an academic medical center is more than the sum of its parts. University leaders want to convey this idea with “Stanford Medicine,” the master brand for the medical center’s three-part mission of education, research and clinical care (which includes inpatient care, local and regional outpatient health centers, physicians’ offices, virtual care, navigation services, benefits advocacy services, and accountable care and health plan offerings).

“The Stanford Medicine brand broadcasts the unity in identity and purpose of the medical center components, and their joint commitment to excellence,” according to the “Principles of Stanford Medicine,” a memorandum recently issued by the university. Together, the components of Stanford Medicine share a common aspiration to improve human health.

The memo is available here.

Established at a time of expanding services and rebranding efforts among the various entities of Stanford Medicine, the principles help clarify how the parts function as a whole — that is, how the medical school and hospitals, along with their growing number of clinics and clinical partnerships, align with one another and work together. In this way, the principles are also kind of a charter.

It spells out, for example, that Stanford Medicine is a partnership among the dean and the CEOs of the hospitals, who are responsible for collaborating on strategic decisions and working together “to achieve clinical excellence and effectiveness” of clinical operations.

 It also explains who is responsible for vetting the doctors at all of the new off-campus clinics: “The dean and those faculty designated by the dean must have the primary responsibility for oversight of selection and quality of all physicians employed by medical groups contracted with University HealthCare Alliance or Packard Children’s Health Alliance, as well as physicians employed by the School of Medicine.”

“The Principles of Stanford Medicine helps explain the interconnected relationships among the various entities and the responsibilities of each,” explained Debra Zumwalt, university vice president and general counsel.

The memo is also clear that Stanford Medicine is the overarching brand: “All branding involving Stanford Health Care, Stanford Children’s Health, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, UHA and PCHA will use those names in conjunction with the broader enterprise master brand of Stanford Medicine.”

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at

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