Town hall meeting offers financial overview of medical school

The event was an opportunity for employees to learn more about the financial state of the School of Medicine, as well as to ask questions about it.

Marcia Cohen, Lloyd Minor and Samuel Zelch answer questions from School of Medicine faculty and staff at a Nov. 13 town hall meeting about the school's finances.
Paul Sakuma

The School of Medicine is on solid financial ground.

That was a key message from Samuel Zelch, MBA, chief financial officer and associate dean, during his presentation Nov. 13 at a town hall meeting on the school’s finances. For the hundreds of employees who attended the event in Berg Hall, at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, it was an opportunity to learn more about the financial state of the school, as well as to ask questions about it. Two more town halls on the subject are scheduled for 2018 — one in the winter and another in the spring.

“We’ll all be able to do a better job of stewarding and managing our resources responsibly if we understand where those resources are coming from and where they sit and what they’re intended for,” Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, said in introductory remarks. He, Zelch and Marcia Cohen, MBA, senior associate dean for finance and administration, later fielded questions from the audience.

Zelch said that financial troubles had not prompted the meeting.

“In fact, we’re doing very well,” Zelch said. “We have significant resources, and we’re quite fortunate compared to many of our peer schools.”

Rather, the town hall was an effort to promote greater financial transparency, he said.

Big revenue growth

The school’s revenue for fiscal year 2017 was $2.4 billion — an increase of 46 percent from four years ago, Zelch said. Payments to the school from Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health accounted for 43 percent of that figure, and another 28 percent came from sponsored research, such as grants from the National Institutes of Health. The rest came from student tuition, endowment income, gifts and other sources.

Overall, Stanford Medicine, which includes the medical school, Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health, generated 69 percent of the university’s total revenue of $9.8 billion for fiscal year 2017. This is largely due to the strong revenue growth at Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health: It totaled $5.9 billion, up 53 percent from four years ago.

On its website, the school’s Office of Fiscal Affairs has posted a link where employees can pose questions or suggest topics they would like to see covered at a future finance town hall event.

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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