Updates from the Chair

The latest from Department of Medicine Chair Bob Harrington

2023 Updates

January 19, 2023

A video update from DoM Chair Bob Harrington

Chair Bob Harrington debuts a video series where he shares what’s on his mind, including current department priorities, what lies ahead, and news highlights.

Click the image above to watch the first DoM chair’s update of 2023.

He’s also taking your questions for consideration in future video updates. Curious about an aspect of the department? Interested in Bob’s perspective on a department-related topic? Send your question to DoMchairupdates@stanford.edu.

2021 Updates

March 19, 2021

Condemning Anti-Asian Hate and Reflecting on the Pandemic

"We stand – and grieve – with our Asian American family, friends, colleagues, and communities, and we will continue to do our part to dismantle racism and xenophobia"

March 19, 2021

Colleagues –

This week began with the horrifying news that eight people, including six Asian American women, had been murdered in Atlanta.

This crime is impossible to ignore. But it’s not new. This violence has a long history, and over the past year we’ve seen an alarming increase in assaults and harassment against the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities.

We stand – and grieve – with our Asian American family, friends, colleagues, and communities, and we will continue to do our part to dismantle racism and xenophobia. We are all reeling from this tragedy. For those who may benefit from counseling or additional support, Stanford’s Asian American Activities Center has compiled a comprehensive list of resources.

One Year of COVID-19

This week also brings the one year anniversary of the coronavirus crisis. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared the virus a pandemic. The announcement upended every aspect of our lives. States issued lockdown measures and stay-at-home orders. Schools emptied out. Businesses shuttered. Hospitals rushed to prepare triage centers and secure PPE. Advisory groups assembled. Employees moved from offices to computer screens.

This year has tested our resilience and challenged basic assumptions about work, care, and connection. It’s been a year of loss – of loved ones, human contact, and the comfortable rituals of daily life. But it’s also been a year of innovation, creation, and strength.

To mark this unusual anniversary, we asked some members of our department to share what has helped them during this past year and what they’re grateful for in their own lives. Some have been buoyed by more quality time with family; others have discovered the simple pleasure of meditation or free yoga videos. Here’s a selection of their responses:

Daily huddles have improved my connections. I appreciate getting to know my colleagues in a different way.

I have learned to really appreciate everything after this last year, and to stop worrying about small things and even big things that are out of my control.

Developing a daily exercise and meditation habit has helped me cope with everything over the last year.

I’m personally thankful for collaboration tools like Box, Slack, and Google Drive. These tools have been amazing and important for connection.

All the free Yoga videos on YouTube!

Eliminating the commute! My time can be used for work or for exercise or for caring for family.

I’ve learned to reach out to people if I sense they need a call or connection and I also learned how to reach out to trusted friends to share when I’m feeling a bit fragile. 

While last year has been a test, I see it as one of many challenges I will face over my lifetime. I have sought to increase my resilience by: increasing mental strength – contemplative practices (meditation), reading inspirational books (ex: Can’t Hurt Me and Grit);  increasing physical strength (I got back into running after nearly 30 years!); increasing my sense of joy and gratitude for each day, and following a mantra – be brave and be bold!

I’d also like to add my own response to the list: I’m grateful for all the faculty, staff, and trainees of our community, who have shown incredible strength during a challenging year. Our staff has gone above and beyond in their efforts to support our mission. Our educators found new ways to teach and mentor. Our clinicians made swift treatment decisions while keeping up with new research that seemed to be published every few days about this new disease. Our trainees rushed to the frontlines to care for patients. And our basic and clinical scientific community developed countless COVID-19-related projects.

We’re not through this pandemic yet, but I see hopeful signs as we look to the months ahead. 

Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do. 

Bob Harrington

2020 Updates