Hailing Stanford Medicine as “the epicenter of biomedical discovery for the world,” Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, encouraged audience members gathered Sept. 17 at the State of Stanford Medicine event to strive to make sure that statement remains true decades from now.
Discussing the basic sciences, Minor said the goal is “to maintain a vibrant and world-class, leading discovery engine here at Stanford.”
The event drew about 500 people to Berg Hall, in the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, to listen to the three leaders of Stanford Medicine — Minor, Stanford Health Care CEO David Entwistle and Stanford Children’s Health interim CEO Dennis Lund, MD — share their insights on the progress and priorities of the three institutions. Hundreds more watched a livestream of the event.
Minor opened the event with a discussion of the integrated strategic plan, which unites Stanford Medicine’s three entities in a shared vision of the future that is both human-centered and discovery-led. He announced a new awards program, the Integrated Strategic Plan Star Awards, to recognize Stanford employees who contribute to the success of the plan. He also encouraged more feedback about the plan itself. “Moving forward, we’re really looking to you for engagement, feedback and involvement in the execution of the plan,” he said.
Working together with families
Minor welcomed technology entrepreneur Matthew Wilsey to join Lund and Entwistle onstage. Wilsey’s young daughter, Grace, was born with a rare genetic disease —NGLY1 deficiency — which only 36 other people are known to have, and which is associated with movement disorders, delayed growth, seizures and liver problems. Wilsey told the audience how, after physicians at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford had helped to diagnose their daughter’s illness, he and his wife, Kristen, partnered with their daughter’s physicians and others at Stanford Medicine and around the world to initiate a model for biomedical research into rare genetic diseases. Wilsey praised the collaborative spirit of the Stanford Medicine team he worked with to identify his daughter’s disease.
“The team at Stanford was definitely ahead of the wave on this receptivity in working together with patients,” he said.
Enwistle asked Wilsey what advice he had for the many researchers, physicians and students in the room. “We often hear, ‘Well, this is how it’s done,’” Wilsey said. “And if it was done so well before, we’d have a lot more breakthroughs and cures. So, fight that mantra of ‘this is how it’s done.’ Push people and challenge that, and try to find new solutions.”
Progress, priorities and challenges
In a panel discussion moderated by Leslee Subak, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, Minor, Entwistle and Lund discussed a variety of topics that detailed Stanford Medicine’s progress, including both the opening of the new main building for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at the end of 2017 and the opening of the new Stanford Hospital, which, Entwistle said, is just 14 months away. “This will be the most technologically sophisticated hospital in the world,” he said.