Message From The Chief

Dr Sang-ick Chang, MD, MPH

Stanford Medicine has an unprecedented opportunity to help fix an American health care system that is in crisis.  Costs are rising faster than society’s ability to keep pace, and while our per capita expenditure is nearly double that of the average industrialized nation, we are 37th in the World Health Organization’s ranking of nations in health care system performance.  While we have the most advanced medicines and technology in the world, we have created a health landscape that is bewildering for most people to navigate, with fragmentation of care and insufficient guidance in the face of more and more complex choices.  And especially, our care for frail seniors and those facing the end of life is still tragically missing the mark: over-treating but under-caring.   In order to be able to pay for the genuinely life-extending and enhancing advances in medicine -  many of which are being discovered daily at Stanford Medicine - we must find ways to eliminate unnecessary or uncoordinated care and find ways to provide better quality and experience for the same or less cost, at all stages of life.  We must focus on better understanding our patients’ personal health goals and empowering them and their families to achieve them.  Being in Silicon Valley, the integration of technology – home monitoring, wearables, app-based health coaching and reminders, - and partnering with innovative start-ups, is a key opportunity for us in achieving these goals, as is leveraging Big Data to help predict and prevent illness and guide therapies.  Stanford Medicine’s vision of precision health is to develop care that is preventive, predictive, and precise.  For our division, we are pursuing this vision through a variety of transformation efforts you can read about on our website, most notably our advanced Medical Home model known as Primary Care 2.0, but also in our ambulatory ICU clinic, the Stanford Coordinated Care clinic, our Employer-Based Clinics, our Concierge and Personalized Wellness Center, in our Comprehensive Senior Care strategic plan, and our burgeoning Palliative Care program.


Dr. Robert Harrington, our Department Chair,  created our division from a precursor,  General Medical Disciplines, whose very name hinted at the diversity of expertise within: General Internal Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Family Medicine, Geriatrics, Palliative Care, Occupational Medicine, Global Health, and a variety of renown research centers, including the Clinical Excellence Research Center, the Center for Population Health Research, the VA Center for Innovation to Implementation, and multiple outstanding division-based research and educational programs.  With the rapid growth of faculty and the spawning of a separate Hospital Medicine division, we took the opportunity to rebrand ourselves in 2016 as the Division of Primary Care and Population Health. While it is uncommon to have a single academic home for both family medicine and general internal medicine, as well as geriatrics and palliative care, I believe we have much more synergy together than apart. Our shared mission is to serve our community through caring, learning, and innovation for the whole person through all stages of life, and our vision is to reinvent health care by innovating higher value care for our patients and their families, to be national leaders in disseminating what we learn, and to inspire the next generation of primary care and population health scholars and leaders.