Stanford Medicine magazine reports on precision health

The winter issue of the magazine details work at Stanford advancing precision health. Also included is a Q&A with Tom Brokaw and an excerpt from neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi’s best-selling memoir When Breath Becomes Air.

- By Rosanne Spector

Harry Campbell

New tools and technology are leading medical researchers at Stanford Medicine to think big. Really big.

“For as long as people have been caring for the sick, we have been playing a frantic game of catch-up, working to cure illness after the fact,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, in the new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine.

“Now, for the first time in our history, we are starting to see the possibility to not just win the race against the clock, but to win it before it even begins — to prevent disease before it strikes and cure it decisively if it does. This is the power of precision health.”

In the special report in Stanford Medicine magazine’s winter issue, you’ll read how Stanford researchers and clinicians are working toward this goal.

“Our vision,” said Minor, “is that a doctor can tailor every therapy specifically to what’s known about a patient: their genetics, their metabolomics, all their -omics, their imaging, everything about them. At Stanford, we want to live in a world where health-care providers aren’t left on their own to somehow aggregate all that information. Instead, information technology helps a doctor to confidently tell the patient, ‘You are going to benefit most from doing the following.’ We know it will take a sea change in training the doctors of the future, but the benefits will be massive.”

The magazine also includes an excerpt from the best-selling memoir When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, MD, in which the author reflects on life in light of his impending demise. At 35, the Stanford neurosurgeon faced terminal cancer.

Special report highlights

Highlights of the special report include:

The magazine is available online. Print copies are being sent to subscribers. Others can request a copy at (650) 723-6911 or by sending an email to

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

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