Update on Diversity and Societal Citizenship

July 2, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Like many of you, I am looking forward to the July Fourth weekend, and not just for the fireworks and barbecues. Our national celebration of civil rights and civil liberties will have special meaning this year in light of last week’s historic Supreme Court rulings.

As we celebrate these milestones and the progress we as a nation are making towards a more just and equal society, we must not forget our own role in fostering a culture of inclusivity and openness.

I recently received the report of the Task Force on Diversity and Societal Citizenship, and I wish to offer my sincere appreciation to deans Terrance Mayes and Fernando Mendoza, who co-chaired the task force, and to the students and trainees who served as its members, for their many valuable insights.

The report outlined four broad recommendations: increase diversity and promote inclusion; enhance curriculum to promote societal citizenship, and increase awareness of societal determinants of health; promote education of, and refection about, current society issues impacting health and ways of advocating for change; and ensure accountability for diversity across all levels of leadership. I fully endorse these objectives and have charged the Stanford Medicine Diversity Cabinet and Senior Associate Dean Bonnie Maldonado with implementing the recommendations that will allow us to achieve these most worthy goals.

I am pleased that reducing financial barriers for economically disadvantaged students is among the recommendations that have already been implemented. This year, for the first time, the Stanford University School of Medicine provided 12 full-tuition, need-based scholarships to entering medical students. We also gave cost of living stipends to nine of these students.

In part because of this enhanced financial aid, our entering MD class will be among our most diverse yet, with a record 22 percent underrepresented minorities and 57 percent women. Our entering biosciences PhD students will also have a record representation of underrepresented minorities at 28 percent.

The task force report is only the beginning of our collective efforts to create a more inclusive community at Stanford Medicine where the voices of the underrepresented, disadvantaged, and marginalized are heard.

As we acknowledge victories in our national progress towards a more just society, we know that much work remains to be done, particularly in promoting racial and socioeconomic equality. I am grateful for the vital role you each play in working toward this vision and in meeting the diverse needs of the society we serve.

Enjoy the long weekend, and let the dialogue continue.


Lloyd Minor

Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery 
Professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy