Updates from the Chair
The latest from Department of Medicine Chair Bob Harrington
December 9, 2020
A Holiday Message
"Today I want to share this video which celebrates some of our brightest moments and highlights all the things that you, our community members, have accomplished"
December 9, 2020
This holiday season comes at the end of a year like no other. But I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve managed to accomplish together. When I look around, I see a community that is becoming even kinder and more united.
So today I want to share this video which celebrates some of our brightest moments and highlights all the things that you, our community members, have accomplished.
I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from each and every one of you this year. Thank you for your resilience and your deep commitment to our mission. I wish everyone a safe, joyous, and well-earned holiday break.
October 22, 2020
Diversity and Inclusion Roles
"In January, during our first Diversity and Inclusion week, we announced two new initiatives intended to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in our department"
November 13, 2020
In January, during our first Diversity and Inclusion week, we announced two new initiatives intended to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in our department. The first was the Diversity Chair Investigator Awards program, which provides early career faculty investigators funding for diversity and disparity research. The second was the creation of two new leadership positions, associate chair – diversity and inclusion, and associate chair – women in medicine.
Today, I’m excited to introduce you to our two new associate chairs for diversity and inclusion: Wendy Caceres, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine (primary care and population health, and Tamara Dunn, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine (hematology).
We began our internal search for only one associate chair in this area, but quickly realized it wasn’t enough. Given our size, the breadth of our initiatives, and our desire to focus on the department’s Black community, we made the decision to appoint two people.
Wendy and Tamara are uniquely suited to these roles. They co-chair the Diversity and Inclusion Committee alongside Vinicio de Jesus Perez, MD, associate professor of medicine (pulmonary, allergy, and critical care), and have been instrumental in reshaping the DOM’s priorities and culture. They are also emerging as trusted sources of advice and counsel for me and Cathy as we think about how best to advance the department’s goals in this mission critical area.
As associate chairs, they will represent the DOM institutionally, and will help us develop strategies and metrics that move us closer to our diversity and inclusion goals. They will also continue to contribute to our educational mission: Wendy will retain her role as associate program director of our residency program, and Tamara will continue as program director of hematology fellowship. Their deep commitment to education is one important reason why they are so well suited to these new leadership roles. We need to increase our diversity training pipeline if we are to increase the diversity of our faculty.
I hope to have information on the appointment of an associate chair for women in medicine very soon.
I also have one more exciting leadership announcement to share. In order to fulfill his new role of Associate Chair – Fellowship Programs, Glenn Chertow, MD, will step down as nephrology chief on February 1, 2021. He will be ably replaced by Tara Chang, MD, MS, an associate professor of medicine (nephrology) who has been a long time member of the department and who has developed her own nationally-respected clinical research program which focuses on studying cardiovascular disease in chronic kidney disease patients.
Please join me in congratulating and thanking these talented faculty members for taking on these important leadership roles.
November 11, 2020
Celebrating Veteran's Day
"There are more than nineteen million military veterans in the United States. They are our colleagues, family members, and friends. They are our leaders and teachers. And they make our communities better"
November 11, 2020
There are more than nineteen million military veterans in the United States. They are our colleagues, family members, and friends. They are our leaders and teachers. And they make our Stanford community better.
This Veteran’s Day follows a divisive presidential race, which has been a source of stress and anxiety for all of us across the country. Let’s look to veterans to remind us of our highest shared values: a commitment to service, freedom, progress, each other, and a higher purpose.
Paul Heidenreich, MD, chief of medicine at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, has an update on the various ways we’re improving and expanding care for our former service members:
The VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) treats patients across all of North-Central California. In 2019, we cared for 125,374 unique veterans. Much like the rest of Stanford, we at the VA have continued to add and implement new programs and initiatives to improve and expand health care during a challenging year.
Expanding the Scope of Care
One challenge for many veterans is physical access to care. We’ve worked on expanding care coverage in various ways.
First, geographically. Primary care and mental health care have been co-located at several of our sites to promote primary care and mental health integration. And we’ve also focused on improving local access to care with the recent groundbreaking of new clinic space at our Stockton Community-Based Outpatient Clinic.
We’ve also implemented and continue to expand our state-of-the-art Mobile Medical Units, vans which provide outreach to homeless veterans and others unable to travel or conduct phone or video visits.
Second, technologically. Our Community Care Integration team has implemented a new system which helps provide veterans with more information about local community providers by displaying a map of community providers in the Tri-West network along with their current wait times. Innovations like these allow veterans to find community care closer to home.
We also continue to expand telehealth, as well as partnerships with community providers to improve access. And we’ve increased the number of video visits while also using encrypted video to ensure privacy and security, allowing veterans to see and talk to their health care team from anywhere and everywhere.
Looking to the Future
We’re aware, however, that the importance of veteran care extends beyond health care to their future lives and livelihoods. To that end, we’re partnering with the Department of Defense, Veterans Benefits Administration, and VA Central Office to pilot the DoD SkillBridge Program, which trains active duty service members to become Intermediate Care Technicians. In these roles, they can leverage their expertise to become an integral part of VA medical centers’ medical teams even after their terms of service have ended.
In addition, we’re investing in new technologies to aid Veteran health care in the future. Our Clinical Informatics Section, led by Chief Medical Informatics Officer Thomas Osborne, MD, is driving multiple modernization and innovation programs. As a result of extensive work, VAPAHCS was recently established as one of the first 5G hospitals in the world. We’re also bringing other advanced tools to enhance veteran care, including augmented reality, virtual reality, sensor technology, cloud technology, and artificial intelligence.
And finally, a word on diversity. Among other initiatives, our Women’s Health group has focused on implementing program changes to meet gender disparity, including a partnership with the Office of Public Affairs to send flu vaccination information to female Veterans and outreach to women veterans without assigned Women’s Health Primary Care Providers.
It has been a difficult year for many, and the VAPACHS is no exception. But our expansive vision for the future and our current projects leave us both proud and hopeful.
Thank you, Paul, for your leadership and for all of this important work. Our veterans care for us, and, as a community, we need to remain committed to making sure they get the care they need.
And to all veterans: thank you for your service.
Stay safe, Happy Veteran’s Day.
October 22, 2020
Our Broad Reach
As I wrote this week’s note, I found myself reflecting on the various ways that our faculty, staff, and trainees engage with – and impact – local, national, and global communities. It’s clear that our work here in the department has never been more important"
October 22, 2020
On Wednesday morning, I received the good news that three of our faculty members, Steven Goodman, MD, MHS, PhD, associate dean for clinical and translational research and professor of medicine (primary care and population health) and epidemiology; Hannah Valantine, MD, MRCP, MBBS, professor of medicine (cardiovascular medicine); and Laurence Baker, PhD, professor of medicine (primary care and outcomes research) and Bing Professor of Human Biology, were elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in health and medicine.
It was also a good reminder of the broad impact that our community has on national conversations around health, medicine, and science. Academy members address critical, complex public health challenges and make recommendations that inform policy decisions. We need innovative, influential, and compassionate leaders like Steve, Hannah, and Loren, and I am thrilled that they will have the opportunity to envision and shape the future of medicine.
I also learned that Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, professor of medicine (oncology) and pathology, received the National Cancer Institute’s 2020 Outstanding Investigator Award, which recognizes accomplished leaders in cancer research. Dean will use this multi-year grant to further his investigation of oncogenes, specifically focusing on the MYC oncogene pathway. Please join me in congratulating Dean! This award is a testament to his record and will enable him to make even greater research contributions.
And finally, I want to direct you to a recording of our recent All Staff Townhall by Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor. Abraham’s presentation acknowledged the sacrifice of health care workers, and explored our current crisis through the lens of storytelling, touching on archetypal texts like Camus’ The Plague, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera, and even the movie Jaws. “We are living through the story of our lives – the story of the cell, of our own personal risk, of our families, of our futures, and our worries about our communities and our country,” he said, “and the heroes and heroines of this story are all of you.”
As I wrote this week’s note, I found myself reflecting on the various ways that our faculty, staff, and trainees engage with – and impact – local, national, and global communities. It’s clear that our work here in the department has never been more important. Thank you for helping us fulfill our missions of delivering exceptional care, producing innovative research, and training tomorrow’s leaders, especially at this critical time. Many thanks to each and every one of you. Your work, sacrifices, and contributions are noted and appreciated.
Stay safe, be well.
October 5, 2020
"I launched this letter as a way to acknowledge and celebrate all of the positive things that we have accomplished, in the hope that it helps to instill a sense of new possibility and gives you a glimpse of where we’re headed"
October 5, 2020
I want to reflect and thank you for the amazing work you have been doing every day in caring for our patients, leading research, and educating our students and trainees. The coronavirus pandemic began seven months ago, in March. Now it’s October. And the stressors and complexities continue to grow. Many of you are feeling burnt out as you continue to manage challenging work while caring for others, teaching your children, finding balance between work and home, and juggling the responsibilities of everyday life. Please know that your efforts are noticed and appreciated, and that I’m very proud to call each of you my colleagues.
I launched this letter as a way to acknowledge and celebrate all of the positive things that we have accomplished together across the DOM, in the hope that it helps to instill a sense of new possibility and gives you a glimpse of where we’re headed. Today, I’m excited to share the names of several faculty who have agreed to take on new leadership roles.
Glenn Chertow, MD, chief of nephrology, has agreed to serve as associate chair – fellowship programs, effective October 1. Glenn will bring his passion and expertise to this newly created position, in which he will work with all of our divisions to create best practices for recruiting diverse fellows. Glenn will also mentor and identify excellent fellowship candidates for future faculty roles and connect current fellows to research experiences and mentors.
Upi Singh, MD, chief of infectious diseases, will be taking on an additional role as associate chair – faculty development. In this role, which begins October 1, Upi will develop formal mentorship, sponsorship, and development opportunities for our more junior clinician-scientists. Upi has done an exceptional job recruiting and building a talented faculty across all three missions in her division, and we hope to implement her strategies across the department.
Joy Wu, MD, PhD associate professor of medicine (endocrinology), will assume the role of vice chair – basic science, on October 1. Joy is a remarkable scientist who directs a broad basic and translational research program. Joy has been an invaluable leader during these last 7+ months, working to ensure that the DOM basic science labs have been able to close down, and then restart, in a safe and effective manner. We look forward to Joy’s ongoing contributions to our basic science mission.
I’m also pleased to announce that Hannah Valantine, MD, will be returning to Stanford on October 1 as the director of team science initiatives for the division of cardiovascular medicine.
Hannah has spent the last several years serving as the chief officer for scientific diversity at the NIH. Here at Stanford, she will join a community of colleagues, including Connie Weyand, MD, professor of medicine (immunology and rheumatology), and Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, professor of medicine (oncology), who are working to build a strong team science portfolio over the next few years. I anticipate that Hannah will also collaborate with Glenn and Upi to mentor our junior faculty, including our inaugural group of Chair Diversity investigators.
And finally, after much discussion with many of you about how best to support our faculty, we have established a CE Advisory Council consisting of 16 members. The Council will meet with me regularly throughout the year and will advise on initiatives and programs that will improve the experience of our CE faculty and continue to build our excellent DOM community.
Please join me in congratulating this talented group! I look forward to working closely with these outstanding leaders as they begin the important work of helping us build a more inclusive, supportive, and diverse community.
June 3, 2020
A Message to our Community