Administration Dean's Office

Strategic Plan Final Draft

The final draft for publication of our Strategic Plan is now available for preview

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Executive Summary

In 2001/2002, the Stanford University Medical Center community - a diverse group of department chairs, senior faculty members, administrators and students - came together in a series of events to reflect and share ideas, all focused on a strategic plan for a bright future. The interaction culminated in a renewed vision of the Stanford University Medical Center as a place for collaboration and discovery, and it laid the groundwork to make that vision become a reality.

The transformation of Stanford's plan of action was inspired by a revolution in the biosciences. Previously unthinkable achievements, such as the sequencing of the human genome, and breakthrough discoveries have helped scientists in once distant fields recognize the benefits of working together.

The synergistic effect of this kind of multi-disciplinary exchange makes future prospects for discovery appear almost limitless. And the most promising research today - certain to yield dramatic improvements in human health in the 21st century - lies at the interstices between disciplines.

Stanford is an ideal place for the intensive multi-disciplinary collaborations called for by today's scientific and medical community. Its relatively small size and extraordinary faculty contribute to an inherently interactive place. At Stanford, engineers are already exchanging ideas and expertise with research scientists and clinicians to advance scientific understanding and translate new knowledge into novel medical treatments and patient care. However, the Medical Center leaders realize that change is required in order to foster an institutional environment that supports and encourages this type of interaction.

Though Stanford will undoubtedly face many challenges as the barriers to scientific exchange fall in favor of a more open and creative environment, some things will remain unchanged. As in the past, the Medical School's future strength depends on the dedication of its immediate community members - faculty, staff, and students - and the support of the broader community.

The Medical Center's new vision has grown out of conversations within and among eight work groups representative of the Stanford community. The groups met in the fall and winter of 2001 to develop strategic initiatives to address the opportunities and acknowledge the challenges presented by each component of the medical school's mission. They worked both individually and collaboratively to generate more than 100 strategic initiatives. These initiatives were then distilled to fewer than 20 key points for discussion at a planning retreat held in Carmel Valley. Department chairs, faculty leaders, medical and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, staff, trustees and the University provost attended the retreat.

Every aspect of the discussion was framed by the School's core mission - To be a premier research-intensive medical school that improves health through leadership and a collaborative approach to discovery and innovation in patient care, education, and research.

Institutional Characteristics

The following institutional characteristics were identified as most integral to an academic environment supportive of excellence in education and translational research and medicine.

Strategic Priorities

The Medical School's strategic initiatives are defined within two overarching strategic priorities:

Curriculum Reform and Educational Facilities

We will undertake a systematic review and reformation of the medical education curriculum to ensure that our medical graduates have fully explored their potential as students and scholars within a 21st century biomedical sciences curriculum. We will undertake a collaborative approach to the integration of our medical and graduate biosciences programs to ensure an institutional focus on the translation of knowledge between the laboratory and medical sciences. We will pursue the development of a new information and learning environment at Stanford reflecting these reformed curricula and the transforming roles of technology and information resources in academic medicine.

Translational Research and Medicine

We will promote the development of those interdisciplinary research collaborations most likely to lead to improved health through the exploitation of new knowledge of biosciences and disease mechanisms. We will pursue new configurations of research collaborations and remove existing barriers to innovation and collaborative discovery. We will pursue the development of the research facilities and infrastructure required to support the effective collaboration of bioscientists and clinical scholars.

Prioritized Initiatives

Through the strategic planning process, we further prioritized initiatives within the following strategic programs areas:

Medical Education

Our medical students will study within an exciting new curriculum in which clinical experience will start early and continue throughout their time at Stanford. They will also choose an area of scholarly focus for their study to prepare them for careers in the new sciences. These new aspects of the program, along with a renewed effort to support teaching, will allow Stanford to set the standard for educational excellence in the biosciences.

Graduate Education

In training our graduate students, we will prepare students from diverse backgrounds for careers in the traditional and emerging biosciences. Enhanced interdisciplinary opportunities and individualized support will give them the skills and knowledge to become leaders in the fields of biomedicine.

Postdoctoral Training

As professionals, our postdoctoral scholars deserve the freedom, respect, and recognition granted employees of the University. As trainees, however, they also require mentorship from our faculty. The proper balance between independence and guidance will allow our postdoctoral scholars to grow into independent investigators.



Our researchers and clinicians will continue to advance the frontiers of medicine by turning scientific insights into medical treatments that improve patients' lives. Students at all levels will be involved in translational and interdisciplinary research with leaders in the field. With the development of a more interactive and open funding practices, we expect research to flourish.

Facilitate interaction between undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars.

Clinical Care

New faculty practice organizations will set goals to fully integrate education, research, and clinical care. Faculty and staff will overcome barriers to cross-disciplinary collaboration, creating a synergy between clinicians and researchers that will put the newest medical treatments into practice, improving health in our community and the world.


Stanford brings a diverse and talented faculty of leaders in the biosciences together into a single community. Recognizing and responding to the needs of education, research, and clinical care will result in a more unified professoriate.

Finance and Administration

As the School embarks on a course of advancing translational research and medicine, new modes of resource allocation must be developed to bridge the traditional divides between programs. We are determined to provide a responsive and resourceful administration that supports our faculty, staff, and students in their work to advance the frontiers of medicine.


Information Resources and Technology

An innovative information technology and knowledge access environment will support and facilitate the successful pursuit of the medical school's mission by its faculty, staff and students. The implementation of a new Stanford biomedicine information technology and knowledge resources infrastructure will ensure the free flow of data and knowledge that powers patient care, research, and education.


Advocacy, Public Policy and Philanthropy

We will engage in public debate on health-related issues, thereby raising community awareness of the medical school's achievements and contributions to medical science. We will increase our presence in the local community through service, education, and a campaign for Stanford Medicine. Through these efforts we expect to generate continued excitement and increased philanthropic support for our mission to improve health.

Continuous assessment, the willingness to make difficult choices, and significant resources - not to mention effective communication and a commitment to moving forward - will be required to carry out these initiatives. As stewards of a great medical school, it is imperative that we do so.

To keep up with our progress, check the Strategic Planning website or the Dean's Newsletter, published biweekly.

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