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Our Values

Academic medicine is entrusted with human health.

Academic medicine is entrusted with improving the health of individuals, communities, and populations. And in academic psychiatry and the behavioral sciences, we have a special responsibility to advance understanding of the nature of the brain and of behavior and to explore the role of personal meaning and the therapeutic relationship in human health -- not only to lessen the burden of disease in the world but also to foster wellbeing, resilience, and strengths for generation to come.

We take on the hardest problems.

We aim to cure mental illness. We advance understanding of the body’s most complex organ, the brain: its biological underpinnings and connections with other systems in the human body, its functions, its development, its plasticity, its regulation, its dysfunction, its vulnerabilities, its aging, and its resilience. We study cognition, behavior, emotion, and relationships. We use this knowledge to develop evidence-based treatments, and with compassion and expertise we care for individuals living with prevalent, severe, and often highly challenging conditions. We see how human health and planetary health are tied together and we work collaboratively to clarify these connections and address challenges in climate mental health.  We do not turn away from the hardest problems. Instead we move toward them. We understand that resolving the hardest problems will make the greatest difference.

We are dedicated professionals in all that we do.

At the heart of our work is our commitment to being the ultimate professionals. As physicians, psychologists, clinicians, and administrators, we adhere to the highest standards of our respective professions. This means setting the expectations for ethical conduct in all aspects of our work at the highest bar and setting an example for our one another and our students and trainees This professionalism is what allows our patients, students, and colleagues to trust in us and join us in the important work we are doing. 

We are committed to respectful inclusion and advancing equity for all.

The Department represents a community of people who share a sense of purpose and who demonstrate deep regard for the dignity and rights of all people. We are a community defined by our commitment to respect and to inclusiveness. Our department embraces diversity for its intrinsic value, not merely accepting differences among us but cherishing them as the opportunity for greater mutualism, deepening of authentic regard, and growth of our community. Our department values a diverse academic community – diverse with respect to gender, culture, race, sexual orientation and identity, and age, certainly, as well as diverse with respect to intellectual commitments, disciplines, developmental stages, and collaborations. Our leadership has an absolute commitment to diversity for reasons of social justice, certainly, but also as an imperative in relation to creativity and intellectual excellence. Our work in the Department is evolving to emphasize inclusiveness and to address disparities, in an effort to operationalize more fully the intent of diversity. Individually and together, we can be clear that racism, discrimination, and bias are not tolerable - and that they are not someone else’s problems to address.

We are dedicated to wellbeing throughout the developmental lifespan: purpose, resilience, and belonging.

It is not enough to focus only on mental illness. We must also find ways to improve and sustain mental health. This means not only preventing mental illness, but also understanding and promoting ways to enhance mental health starting in early childhood, through the adolescent and young adult period, and in later adulthood. This means understanding the many biological, psychological, and social influences of emotional health and resilience to identify ways to nurture and protect these processes and to develop interventions that foster wellbeing. For our department, these include exploring the role of mindfulness, art and humanities, and spiritual pursuits in the service of personal mental health and fulfillment. Wellbeing adds inspiration and creativity to the advancement of science, meaning and purpose to clinical innovation and service, and enduring integrity to educational  excellence.

We are inspired.

Each of us, whether faculty, learner, or staff, is passionate about our work because we recognize its vital importance to humanity -- to all of our health and futures. We see that the path to health is enabled by creating and applying new knowledge, by engaging in innovation, and by preparing future generations of scientists and clinicians. We are a community dedicated to transformational change and social good. We understand the impact of mental illnesses, which are the second leading cause of disability and premature mortality globally, and we are deeply affected by the immense suffering and social injustices associated with these conditions.

We are innovating non-stop and creativity is everywhere in our work.

Our scientists develop highly innovative approaches to discovery at every level in the clinical and behavioral neurosciences, thereby exerting scientific leadership throughout the world. In our laboratories, the molecular, cellular, and circuit mechanisms of mental disorders are being decrypted with leading-edge technologies like optogenetics, patient-derived pluripotent stem cells, neurocomputational- imaging models, e-health inventions, and more. Breakthroughs are translated to clinics, communities, and populations and accelerated by the latest approaches using big data analytics, design thinking, implementation science, and wisdom.

We are a community.

We are a community defined by our commitment to respect and to inclusiveness. We embrace diversity for its intrinsic value, not merely accepting differences among us but embracing them as the opportunity for greater mutualism, demonstrations of authentic regard, and growth of our community. We are present and compassionate in our work, helping others, whether in our neighborhood or around the world, to bear the suffering that comes with illness, loss, and trauma. We engage in work that fosters health and a sense of belonging, even for those who are most marginalized in society.

We work shoulder to shoulder.

We are a network of scientists, clinicians, educators, trainees, and staff with the shared intent to make a difference through our efforts in science, clinical care, education, the community, and leadership. We form research collaborations across the Stanford campus, we participate in and lead professional organizations, we teach at every level in the university, and we lecture internationally. We provide care in all parts of Stanford Medicine, with its continuum of care, outreach activities, and civic responsibilities. We join public health efforts in Palo Alto and across the globe.  

We take care of each other.

Our mission to improve the health of individuals, families, communities, and populations begins with attention to our own wellbeing. With every endeavor we engage in collectively to support the wellbeing of our colleagues and team members, we invest in our collective capacity that multiplies our contributions to our patients, our community, and the world. Sustained commitment to our own wellbeing enables us to fully engage in preventing and relieving suffering and solving societal problems that deeply affect humanity.  

We are all touched by mental illness.

Every one of us, no matter our circumstance, is touched by the personal and societal impact of mental illness. The leaders, innovators, and learners of our department understand this. We envision a better world -- a world of improved health and lessened burdens of mental illness. We imagine a future in which children, adults, and elders live each day well and encounter life’s inevitable challenges with strength. And we are creating the path to this better future.