Dr. Phillip Pizzo School of Medicine Dean 2001-2012

The Dean's Newsletter:
August 29, 2011

Table of Contents

v A New School Year Begins: Welcome to the 2011 Incoming Class of Stanford MD Students
v The Stanford Society of Physician Scholars Celebrates its First Anniversary
v The More Formal Beginning of a Different Transition
v Another Warning on Violations of Privacy
v The Economy and Case for Supporting Research and Innovation
v The Faces of the Stanford Medicine Community
v New Regulations from the NIH on Conflict of Interest
v Dedication of "The Universal Woman"
v Honoring Richard Hoppe, MD
v Progress on Bike Safety -- Hopefully
v Announcement About the Seventh Sino-US Conference
v Awards and Honors
v Appointments and Promotions

A New School Year Begins: Welcome to the 2011 Incoming Class of Stanford MD Students

Today, August 29th, is the first day of classes for our 86 incoming MD students and five Masters in Medicine graduate students. It follows a week of preparation, bonding, transition, introductions and celebration -- as well as enthusiasm and excitement (and of course some anxiety).

Last week these students began their introduction to medical school with backpacking and hiking in the Sierras in the SWEAT (Stanford Wilderness Experience Active Trip) program. They returned to campus to begin the "Transition to Medical School" on August 23rd. Special thanks to Lizzy George (SMS 2) and James Xie (SMS 2) who, along with nearly 30 other classmates, led this year's SWEAT program -- said to be one of the best ever. The "Transitions" program included a combination of informational sessions, shared experiences, moments of inspiration, social gatherings and new acquisitions. An important feature of the program addressed "Promoting Personal Wellness" and included two students, Marico Howe (SMS 5) and Danica Lomeli (SMS 4). In addition, for the first time, students visited various local health and community organizations to give evidence of our commitment to serving our communities. Special thanks to students James Xie (SMS 2) and Moises Gallegos (SMS 2) for their work in making these visits so successful. In addition to a lot of new information, our new students also received two "tools of the trade circa 2011": an iPad and a stethoscope. Appropriately, there was considerable emphasis on how students should foster and support wellness in themselves and others and constant reminders of the central place of patients -- and the role of doctors -- in guiding the future of medicine, individually and collectively.

We are honored to welcome this stellar group of MD students, who were selected from a pool of 6,301 applicants. The overall demographic profile mirrors past years and reflects diversity and depth. Women comprise 53% of the class, and 19% of the incoming MD students are "underrepresented in medicine" minorities. Reflecting our global community, 15% of students were born outside the US, but the majority of their homes are on either the east or west coasts!

As evidence of their past accomplishments, 14 of our incoming MD students have a Masters degree in addition to a baccalaureate degree and four (4) have a PhD (one each in biomedical engineering, chemistry, neuroscience and music). Seven (7) students are entering the MSTP (MD/PhD) program, and I am confident that others will seek additional advanced degrees in the years ahead. Further evidence of the accomplishments of our new students is that 31% already have one or more peer-reviewed publications, 23% have conducted research or service in countries outside of the US, 14% participated in NCAA athletics and many have experience in performing arts as well. Quite a lot of talent! Most importantly, the commitment of our new students to embarking on a life journey in medicine and science gives hope for the future.

Special thanks to Char Hamada, Zera Murphy, Cindy Irvine, Suzanne Bethard, and all of our wonderful staff who worked so hard to welcome our incoming 2011 MD class and prepare them for the work they are now beginning.

| Back to Contents |

The Stanford Society of Physician Scholars Celebrates its First Anniversary

This month marks the first anniversary of the Stanford Society of Physician Scholars (SSPS), a new program created and directed by Charles G. Prober, Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education, and organized by Dr. Robert S. Ohgami (see: http://ssps.stanford.edu/). SSPS focuses on the scholarly development of residents and clinical fellows. The Society now includes 85 Scholars from 14 of our clinical departments -- and we are hoping more will join over the course of this next year.

One of the goals of SSPS is to enhance partnership opportunities between medical students and Scholars. With that in mind SSPS is awarding $5,000 research grants submitted by Scholars who have partnered with a medical student collaborator. The recipients of the first five of these grants are:

Congratulations to these Residents, Fellows and students on beginning what we all hope will become increasingly fruitful interactions and collaborations between our undergraduate and graduate medical education programs.

| Back to Contents |

The More Formal Beginning of a Different Transition

A year ago, in the August 30, 2010 issue of the Dean's Newsletter, I announced my intention to transition from my role as Dean at the end of the 2013 school year (see: http://deansnewsletter.stanford.edu/archive/08_30_10.html#9). At that time I quipped that this meant about 68 more Newsletters. Since then 21 have been published (including this one) so we are down to 47 (or less, depending on timing!). More seriously, I want to say what an honor and privilege it has been to serve the School of Medicine, the Medical Center and University over the now nearly 10-½ years. I have always done my best to put the future of the School and its missions in education, research, and patient care first and foremost. And I do believe that we have together accomplished a tremendous amount over the past decade.

Now, with approximately two years remaining, I wanted to let you know that the Provost will be launching the search for my successor in the next weeks. On a national level searches and appointments for senior leaders (chairs and deans) take about 1 ½ - 2 years to complete.

While this will be an important transition for the School (and of course me) I am totally committed to doing everything I can to further our shared success -- especially during these very challenging times. So you can count on my total commitment, energy -- and additional Newsletters.

| Back to Contents |

Another Warning on Violations of Privacy

Our Office of the General Counsel and our IT Services group in the School of Medicine have asked me to share the following statement with you -- based on a recent apparent infraction of our privacy policy.

It is critical for each of us to remember that access to a patient's record is allowed solely for specific job-related need.  Accessing for curiosity is a violation of federal and state law and will result in serious disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as well as possible government-imposed penalties.  The State of California and the federal government are very actively enforcing privacy rights; as an example, in July UCLA paid $865,000 to settle claims of employee snooping into celebrity and other patient records, according to a Department of Health and Human Services press release and related national media coverage (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/07/20110707a.html). Both the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH) and Stanford Hospital & Clinics (SHC) proactively monitor access to patient records, investigate any suspicious access, and, in coordination with the School, take strong actions in response to inappropriate access to such records. Please be advised about the seriousness of these policies and the penalties associated with violations

This is a topic others and I have commented on frequently and while there is ever increasing attention to privacy policies, violations still occur. When that happens the consequences will be severe -- especially since these violations are clear  - and unnecessary.

| Back to Contents |

The Economy and Case for Supporting Research and Innovation

The now persistent economic downturn and the furious debates over our nation's debt and fiscal health have raised serious (and appropriate) worries about future investments in science and innovation. While these concerns impact all federal agencies supporting research, medical schools are particularly vulnerable to changes in funding from the National Institutes of Health. Indeed, we witnessed this vulnerability specifically from 2003 (the final year of the "NIH doubling") through 2009 -- when NIH funding grew by less than inflation and the purchasing power of NIH grants declined significantly. While the pattern of declining support was altered temporarily by the stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, these two years of additional support have now ended, and future funding from the NIH appears likely to be flat for the foreseeable future. And of course this could get much worse depending on how the issues regarding the federal debt are resolved. Even though the NIH is one of the few federal agencies that have enjoyed bipartisan support, it is not immune to "across the board cuts" or to the current politics surrounding discretionary federal spending.

Even forgetting for a moment the impact of NIH support on our faculty and trainees, it is important to underscore how vital innovation and discovery are to jobs and economic recovery. A recent report from United for Medical Research notes that nearly a half-million jobs across the US are directly and indirectly supported by NIH funding. Overall, NIH funding produced nearly 70 billion dollars in new economic activity in 2010 -- with impacts in all 50 states. Equally if not more importantly, over the past decades NIH funding has made the US the leader in biomedical research and has contributed to extraordinary progress in treating and improving the outcomes of nearly all major diseases impacting both adults and children.

In addition to our continued advocacy for NIH funding, there is another issue that warrants our concern. With increasing frequency leaders at the NIH and academic centers are focusing on the need for research funding to result in new treatments or cures. There is no question that this is an outcome we all desire. But the shift to link funding to defined outcomes is shortsighted and dangerous. Virtually every major advance in medicine has been built on basic research that had no clear application when it was conducted. Indeed the foundation of excellence in basic research is the very reason why our clinical and translational research portfolio exists today. We must do all we can to make certain that the pipeline of basic research -- not linked to defined outcomes -- is sustained and supported. From my perspective this advocacy is as important as that for research funding per se -- and both are linked to the future of academic medicine and, in fact, the long-term success of the US in innovation, discovery and economic well being.

| Back to Contents |

The Faces of the Stanford Medicine Community

Since moving to the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge in 2010, we have had numerous visitors to our offices. I appreciate the sensitivity and observations of several of those visitors who pointed out something that was clearly unintended -- but nonetheless still striking. Specifically, the photo wall of the past deans of the School of Medicine displayed in the sitting area of the lobby on the third floor, while highlighting notable leaders in the history of Stanford Medicine, is also clearly defined by its lack of diversity. I won't offer excuses since this is part of our history, for better or worse, and I hope that it will be remedied over time by the diversity of future leaders of the School of Medicine. That said, we are also very proud of the fact that we have one of the most diverse student populations and increasingly we celebrate the diversity of our faculty and staff. So, to demonstrate this breadth we have done some rearranging in the Dean's suite and now have a continuous photo show highlighting faculty, students and staff from throughout the School of Medicine. This photo show -- which uses existing pictures and portraits -- went live on August 26th and demonstrates the variety and depth of our extraordinary community.  The photo library is a work-in-progress and new pictures will be added over time. I think it reflects our community more vibrantly and appropriately, and I am grateful to the individuals who offered comments to me.

I want to thank several individuals who have worked very hard to bring this project to fruition. In particular, Kristin Goldthorpe, Project Manager in Dean's Office, and Pam Lowney, Web Editor (Information Resources & Technology), as well as Traudi Sedelmayr (Facilities Planning and Management), Trent Tanaka and Brian Tobin (Simulation and Educational Technology), and John Stafford (Communications and Public Affairs), have done wonderful jobs -- and I am most appreciative for their efforts.

| Back to Contents |

New Regulations from the NIH on Conflict of Interest

On August 23rd, the Department of Health and Human Services released the "Final Rule" on changes to conflict of interest regulations regarding research. We are processing all of that it contains -- but it is clear that the new regulations will place additional reporting requirements on faculty and institutions. While our systems at Stanford for managing, monitoring and reporting conflicts of interest are among the best in the nation, it is also clear that we will need to make further changes over the next year -- when the rules become fully effective.

The new rules will mandate that all investigators supported by NIH have training on conflicts of interest. Institutions will need to ensure that information about financial conflict of interests is publicly accessible. Importantly, the new rules will require institutions to provide the NIH details about the nature of the conflict and the key features of the institutions management plan.

The Final Rules on the "Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which Public Health Service Funding is Sought and Responsible Prospective Contractors" is available in the Federal Register at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-08-25/pdf/2011-21633.pdf and a table summarizing the major changes between those in 2011 and those of 1995 is available through the NIH at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi/.  We will be sharing more specific information in the future.

| Back to Contents |

Dedication of "The Universal Woman"

Thanks to the vision and advocacy of Dr. Irv Weissman, Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Virginia and DK Ludwig Professor, and a generous gift from Marlene and Duane Dunwoodie, longtime friends of the Institute, the dedication of "The Universal Woman", a sculpture by Nathan Oliveira, was held in the lobby of the Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Research Building on August 25th. It was a deeply moving and meaningful event thanks to the thoughtful comments of Joe Oliviera, son of Nathan Oliveria, who died in 2010, and the remarks of Marlene Dunwoodie.

As noted by Irv Weissman, and poignantly described by Marlene Dunwoodie at the unveiling of "The Universal Woman", the sculpture seems to represent a woman with a serious disorder whose outstretched arms beckon for help, care and support. This large bronze sculpture, which will be prominently visible to all who enter the Lokey Building, serves as a reminder of our mission -- to discover and to cure.

| Back to Contents |

Honoring Richard Hoppe, MD

On Friday evening August 26th, faculty, staff, friends and colleagues from the Medical School, hospitals and university -- and from across the country -- attended a special event honoring Dr. Richard Hoppe for his nearly 20 years as chair (including time as interim chair) of the Department of Radiation Oncology. The deep respect, admiration and gratitude of our community for the many contributions of Dr. Hoppe were evident and abundant -- and very well-deserved.

Even though Radiation Oncology is a relatively small clinical department, its history and that of its leaders in advancing cancer research, education and patient care -- and in advancing the mission of the medical school and medical centers -- are well known internationally and highly respected. This history began with Dr. Henry Kaplan, who began as chair of the Department of Radiology in 1948 and who led the department (which combined diagnostic and therapeutic radiology) until 1972. He was followed by Dr. Malcolm Bagshaw, who continued this tradition and then participated in the separation of radiation oncology in 1986. Dr. Bagshaw served as the first chair of the new Department of Radiation Oncology. In 1992 Dr. Hoppe succeed Dr. Bagshaw, first as interim chair and then, in 1994 as permanent chair. Over the past 19 years Richard Hoppe, the Henry S. Kaplan-Harry Lebeson Professor of Cancer Biology, has had a highly distinguished career at Stanford -- as an outstanding clinician, thoughtful mentor and teacher and accomplished investigator. His leadership has not only been applicable to the Department -- but also to the School and Hospitals, continuing the tradition established by Henry Kaplan.

Dr. Hoppe has been a faculty member of the School of Medicine for 35 years and he returns to the faculty on September 1st when Dr. Quynh Le, whom he helped train and mentor, succeeds him as Chair of Radiation Oncology.  This is another success for Dr. Hoppe -- and for the School, Medical Center and University.

Thanks and congratulations to Rich Hoppe -- who we know will continue to contribute to Stanford for many more years to come.

| Back to Contents |

Progress on Bike Safety -- Hopefully

SoM ICU logo

The importance of bike safety was highlighted by making it part of orientation for our new medical students this past week. This was championed by three now second year students, Anthony Kaveh, Sneha Shrestha and Nancy Yerkes -- who have worked with Ariadne Scott (Parking and Transportation) to promote the use of helmets and lights by students in the medical school (see: http://deansnewsletter.stanford.edu/archive/05_09_11.html#10). Making the case even more relevant was a presentation by Dr. Mark Welton, Professor of Medicine, who recounted his own very serious bike accident and how his life was saved by wearing a bike helmet.

To promote bike safety, our new incoming students were invited to sign the Bike Safety Pledge for the School of Medicine. If you haven't done so already, visit the website (http://transportation.stanford.edu/bikesafetypledge-som/), sign the pledge and serve as a role model for bike safety. Dr. Welton's story makes it abundantly clear why this is so important.

The new insignia for Bike Safety from our medical students leaders is shown below and says it all!

| Back to Contents |

Announcement About the Seventh Sino-US Conference

Dr. William Brody, President of the Salk Institute and Member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, asked that we share the following announcement of the 7th Sino-US Conference on Medicine that will be will be held September 21-23, 2011 at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA (see: http://sino-us-symposium2011.org/). This meeting brings together experts in clinical medicine, basic science, hospital operations, and public health and policy around topics of mutual interest to the United States and China.  This year's theme will focus on chronic illness and will cover topics from basic science to state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment, as well as how to best organize healthcare delivery systems that are effective and affordable.

| Back to Contents |

Awards and Honors

Congratulations to all.

| Back to Contents |

Appointments and Promotions

| Back to Contents |

A downloadable Microsoft Word version of the newsletter is available. If clicking on this following link does not initiate a download, right-click (Windows) or click-and-hold (Mac), then use the command most similar to "Download Link To Disk" or "Save This Link As" and save the Word file to your disk.

Microsoft Word version: DeanNews08-29-11.doc

| Back to Contents |

Footer Links: