Our program feels strongly that diversity of ethnic, religious, and gender identity is critical to creating an environment of truly collaborative learning and teamwork. Cultural competence is a necessity for physicians to deliver the best possible care for patients, and we believe that this principle begins with diversity within our residency. To that end, recruiting trainees from underrepresented backgrounds, locales, and regions is a major priority for our leadership, as we hope this brings a wealth of experiences and perspectives to our program. Indeed, our residents claim hometowns all over the world, from Alaska to Thailand, and identify as Latinx, South Asian, African-American, East-Asian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern. The Bay Area is home to one of the most diverse populations in California, which is evident in the patient population we serve. We recognize that diversity is a continuous cultural ambition, and welcome everyone to participate. We organize activities through our Medicine Diversity Council, which focuses on community-building, networking, career development, and mentoring for underrepresented populations. Medicine residents of all backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to join. Mentorship and speaking opportunities exist with high school students, college students and our medical school minority associations, and we encourage our residents to become involved in these projects.
Stanford has a long history in impacting the diversity of the healthcare workforce through the efforts of the Center of Excellence (COE) in Diversity in Medical Education and the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity. The COE is committed to increasing the diversity of physician leaders pursuing careers in clinical practice, research, medical education, advocacy and health policy. They partner with our residency to foster such initiatives with an aim to eliminate the nation’s health inequities. Moreover, we are committed to providing support for residents seeking mentorship for projects related to research in healthcare disparities. The Office of Faculty Development and Diversity develops various programs and sponsors events to foster a generation that can continue to reflect excellence through diversity in medicine and science.
Our Community of Patients
We aim to expose our housestaff to a variety of clinical environments during their training, with the goal of preparing our trainees to be among the most culturally competent doctors in the nation. The Bay Area is home to one of the most diverse communities in the country, with large populations from Latin America, South/Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific Islands. As a tertiary care center, Stanford serves large local underserved populations throughout Northern California. For example, the Bay Area is home to the largest group of Tongans outside of Tonga, particularly in East Palo Alto. Similarly, San Jose has the largest population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. In fact, Santa Clara County is among the most ethnically diverse in the country, with 44% of census respondents identifying as people of color and over 150 languages spoken.
The program leadership believes that academic medicine has a key role to play in addressing health disparities and providing care for the underserved, and has created a number of clinical opportunities to this end. Each of our three continuity clinic sites involves our trainees in the treatment of vulnerable populations, and one of the sites (Fair Oaks Health Center) serves as the safety net county clinic for San Mateo County. Our residents also rotate through the inpatient wards at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, the county hospital for Santa Clara County, which almost exclusively serves the underserved in the regions of San Jose and surrounding cities, one of the largest hospital county systems in California.
Housestaff can also request elective outpatient rotations in HIV medicine, TB clinic, and social medicine at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. In addition, the Palo Alto VA serves a large homeless population with a dedicated resident rotation in Homeless Outreach clinic, which brings care via mobile centers to rural Californian towns. Every member of our housestaff also volunteers at the resident/medical student-run free clinics in addition to their work in our three teaching hospitals. Looking internationally, our residents have the unique chance to spend a 6-week rotation overseas as part of the Stanford/Yale Johnson & Johnson Global Health Scholars program, and over two-thirds of our trainees are granted a fully-funded opportunity to travel to Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, or South Asia to care for the global poor.