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At second finance town hall, a more detailed look at medical school revenue sources, expenses

Among other things, the School of Medicine meeting focused on the costs of facilities maintenance and the formula for funding departments, programs and support for faculty.

(From left) Samuel Zelch, Marcia Cohen and Lloyd Minor answer questions at the Feb. 14 town hall.
John Sanford

Of the $115 million the School of Medicine spent on operating and maintaining the buildings it occupied in fiscal year 2017, $41 million went toward rent, and $25 million went toward utilities — things like electricity and water. The medical school also finished that year with a consolidated budget surplus of $116 million.

These are just a few of the many facts Samuel Zelch, MBA, chief financial officer and associate dean for fiscal affairs at the school, shared Feb. 14 during a lunchtime presentation. The event, held at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, was the second of a three-part series of town hall meetings aimed at giving school employees the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the school’s finances.

In introductory remarks at the first meeting, which was held in the fall, Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, said, “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.” 

At the first meeting, Zelch gave a broad overview of the school’s finances; this time, he briefly recapped that overview before focusing on the revenues and expenses of units funded through the Dean’s Office; university cost recovery; the costs of facilities maintenance, capital projects and debt service; and the revenue-sharing formula used to fund departments, programs and support for faculty. Among other takeaways:

  • The school covers all of its own expenses and also pays a percentage on most of its revenue — 5.68 percent on about $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2017 — for services provided by the university. This fee is called the university cost recovery.
  • Over the next decade, most of the school’s capital expenditures will go toward three major building projects: the first of two Biomedical Innovation Buildings, the first of two Centers for Academic Medicine, and the Cancer Research and Precision Health Building.
  • Total funding from the Dean’s Office to departments, programs and faculty support was more than $103 million in fiscal year 2017.

The capital project plan through 2036 totals $2.3 billion.

Minor, Zelch and Marcia Cohen, MBA, senior associate dean for finance and administration, also fielded questions from the audience following the presentation.

For more information about the topics discussed at the meeting, the slide presentation can be viewed online (SUnet ID required).

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 the third finance town hall meeting, which is scheduled for April 3.

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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