2017 Annual Report

Welcome. Just about a year ago, you received the “2016 Report to Our Community.” Because that was warmly welcomed and often complimented, we undertook another one. Now with a second report in two years, it’s probably safe to refer to these as “annual reports.” I’m happy, therefore, to share our 2017 annual report with you.

To select topics to include, I asked the vice chairs, division chiefs and various program heads to make nominations. This resulted in much more to write about than we had space for, so we culled until we reached a representative swath of the department, its people and the many outstanding programs.

Choosing a theme can take some time, but this year collaboration came quickly to mind. We are blessed with ideal geography, which makes it easy to find someone in another division or department or school on campus to work with. We have terrific colleagues to listen to our ideas who often find synergies between what we need and what they do. Collaboration is integral to our makeup.

Glenn Chertow proposed that we write about several members of his nephrology division who are married to Stanford physicians. This became our centerpiece article because it shows how critical continuous collaboration is to running four households, each headed by two doctors.

Several articles focus on the next generation of physicians. Faculty mentoring is one way our trainees learn the value of collaboration in academic research. Some residents take advantage of the Center for Innovation in Global Health’s program to spend a rotation outside the United States. Ten residents are being trained in both internal medicine and anesthesia. The Capstone Experience is a weeklong program for senior medical students to help them make a smooth transition to residency.

Quite a few articles focus on individual researchers. Purvesh Khatri talks about how he explores potential clinical applications of his Big Data discoveries thanks to helpful colleagues with wet labs. Julie Parsonnet praises her research collaborators, while working with undergraduates in her role as a resident fellow in Robinson House – an entirely different level of collaboration. Donna Zulman describes the array of people and services she counts on to help her very high-risk VA patients. Kavitha Ramchandran talks about two different collaborative themes in palliative care.

Haruko Akatsu’s writing about her U.S. medical education evolved into a well-received book and an invitation to help design an innovative medical school curriculum in Japan.

Jason Gotlib’s study of idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome began in 2002 with a single patient and progressed through dramatic discoveries, to clinical trials, to successful treatment of patients with other diseases. Walter Park’s research involves a 10-site consortium that researchers expect will help them learn much about diseases of the pancreas. Mark Genovese’s research into inflammatory diseases has been improving options for patients since the 1990s. Crystal Mackall aims to make Stanford a leader in all facets of cell therapy. Mark Nicolls took advantage of the SPARK program to advance a discovery from his lab into clinical trials for pulmonary hypertension. Research from PCOR led by Jonathan Chen shows that over-prescribers of opioids are not just bad actors operating out of backroom pill mills.

Stanford Coordinated Care epitomizes team collaboration overseeing the health of university employees with multiple medical issues. A new master’s degree in community health and prevention research has already stimulated collaborations among several schools and programs on campus. With Presence: The Art and Science of Human Connection, clinicians aim to collaborate among the seven schools on campus to ease the fractious relationship between physicians and technology. The new Center for Digital Health provides opportunities to collaborate with entities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere that crave creative medical input into their processes and products. And Stanford unveils its master of science program for physician assistants.

The collaborative spirit is evident across the spectrum of the Department of Medicine – in our research, when treating patients, with our trainees, overseas and at home, here in Palo Alto.


Robert Harrington, MD
Chair, Department of Medicine



Department of Medicine in Numbers

Collaboration is a key feature of the Department of Medicine. It is visible at home, in research, treating patients, with trainees, and overseas.

  • 15 Divisions
  • 493 Faculty (101 University Tenured and Nontenured Line, 101 Medical Center Line, 264 Clinical Educators, 27 Instructors)
  • 29 Endowed Professors
  • 998 Staff & Research Associates (542 Staff, 95 Research Associates, 361 Temporary Staff)
  • 438 Trainees (125 Residents, 154 MD Fellows, 159 Post-docs)
  • $124M Sponsored Research ($83 million in federal grants, $24 million in non-federal grants, $17 million in clinical grants)
  • 477 Grants (3 Program Projects, 58 R-01s, 35 Ks, 21 Us, 11 Training, 349 Non-Fed & Clinical Trials)

How We Collaborate

At Home

In Research

Treating Patients

With Trainees



At Home

We write about a faculty member who blurs, blends and ignores a line of demarcation between home and work, and four two-doctor families who strive to find balance between work life and home life.

  • The Lives and Times of Two-Doctor Familes

    Dual doctor couples are not a novelty: A 2014 survey by AMA Insurance puts that number at 26 percent for physicians under 40 and at 18 percent for physicians 40 to 59.



In Research

Our research topics are numerous and range from repurposing other people’s data to begin to understand immune diseases, to teasing out the possible association between diabetes and cancer of the pancreas, to taking a new therapy for a dread disease from the lab to the clinic. We present a broad effort across Stanford to become a leader in cell therapies for cancer, the inauguration of a new campus resource for capitalizing on digital health tools, and the exposure of the truth about a matter of national concern: overprescribing.

  • Adventures of a Proud Data Parasite

    After several career turns, Purvesh Khatri, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (biomedical informatics research–Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection), finds himself a bioinformatician on a quest to improve diagnostics and therapies for infectious diseases.

  • Sometimes Diabetes Means Cancer

    Walter Park, MD, an assistant professor of gastroenterology & hepatology, acknowledges that it will be many years before he recognizes the fruits of two of his current projects.

  • From Bench to Bedside for Pulmonary Hypertension

    By collaborating with Stanford’s SPARK program as well as those outside the university, Stanford clinician-scientist Mark Nicolls has moved a drug into clinical trials.



Treating Patients

Here we include articles about ways to improve our care around the world for patients who are dying, and the great success that follows when the care of complex local patients is meticulously coordinated. Veterans who access the VA system have a broad array of services to help them with their physical and mental health care. Two articles tell the story of how a career-long focus on a disease, one in rheumatology and one in hematology, reaps enormous benefits for patients. Finally, Presence: The Art and Science of Human Connection aims to apply campus-wide wisdom to solving the problems that arose when technology imposed itself between the doctor and the patient.

  • The Doctor Is Present

    It’s a common complaint from contemporary patients: “During routine visits to my doctors, they never make eye contact with me. It feels like we aren’t in the same room."…

  • From One Patient to the World

    A single case during fellowship spurred hematologist Jason Gotlib to develop a drug that’s now helping patients around the world.

  • New Days for Rheumatology

    Over the past two decades, Mark Genovese, MD, has helped establish Stanford’s bench-to-bedside translational medicine program for chronic inflammatory diseases.



With Trainees

Knowing that our trainees are our future, we celebrate two brand new degree-granting programs: an MS in Physician Assistant Studies and another in Community Health and Prevention Research. We also demonstrate the range of faculty mentors for trainees who have a month in which to do research. Two programs aim to help current and future residents, one designed for those interested in a career in both anesthesiology and internal medicine and the other aimed at easing the transition from learning about doctoring to actually doing it.




Our presence beyond the borders of the United States is significant, and two articles explore that vista. Recently, Stanford’s global impact touched communities in Zimbabwe, Borneo and Ecuador. One of our faculty made such an impact on her native Japan that she helped design an innovative curriculum for a new medical school and then joined its faculty.

  • Across the Pacific

    During her medical school days at Brown University and residency at Stanford, Haruko Akatsu, MD, who was born, raised and educated in Japan, got to thinking about the differences between medical education in the two countries.


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In Lasting Memory

With deep regret, we note the passing of Norbert von der Groeben as this report was at press.

Norbert’s remarkable talents are visible in every photograph in this report. Since 2014 he contributed to the Department of Medicine not only through his artistry, but also through his kindness and generosity.

The Department of Medicine will miss him and his warm presence.