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Stanford Medical School dean shares vision for leading biomedical revolution

At the third senate meeting of fall quarter, Medical School Dean Lloyd Minor said the focus of the Campaign for Stanford Medicine is to fuel innovation, transform patient care and empower future leaders.

L.A. Cicero School of Medicine Dean Lloyd Minor speaking to the Faculty Senate.

School of Medicine Dean Lloyd Minor speaking to the Faculty Senate.

In his first presentation to Stanford's Faculty Senate, Dr. Lloyd B. Minor, dean of the School of Medicine, said the goal of the Campaign for Stanford Medicine is to "lead the biomedical revolution" by promoting fundamental, clinical and translational discovery, by transforming patient care and by training future leaders.

"We are the epicenter of innovation," Minor said in a Thursday presentation. Minor became dean of the Medical School in December 2012.

"We are drawn to the difficult problems, not the problems that can be solved with incremental solutions or approaches, but the problems that no one else tackles. The problems that, at first, we don't even know how to conceptualize and approach to solve them. And we develop the platforms and the paradigms that change the future."

As an example, Minor cited the work of Stanford Professor Karl Deisseroth, a professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who led the multidisciplinary team that combined neuroscience and chemical engineering and developed a process that renders a mouse brain transparent.

Under the Campaign for Stanford Medicine, which President John Hennessy launched last May, Stanford is building a new hospital on the Palo Alto site.

During his 15-minute presentation using many facts and figures, Minor provided an overview of the Stanford School of Medicine.

Currently, the Medical School has 411 students studying to become doctors, 937 residents and clinical fellows being trained in Stanford hospitals by faculty, 713 PhD candidates and 1,277 postdoctoral research scholars.

Emphasizing the excellence of the school's faculty, Minor noted that its ranks include six living Nobel Laureates.

Turning to undergraduate education, he said that 19 percent of Medical School courses are open to undergraduate students. Some of most popular are Sleep and Dreams, Genetic Analysis, Cell and Developmental Biology and Economics of Health and Medical Care.

Regarding patient care initiatives with Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Minor noted that the hospital developed the new Stanford HealthCare Alliance, a low-cost, high-quality health care plan that will be available to Stanford employees and postdoctoral scholars in 2014.

Minor compared Stanford to 20 of its peer medical schools by looking at the number of faculty, medical students, residents and fellows, and hospital beds.

"Across the board, we're small, and that is one of our greatest strengths," he said. "Because we're small, we're nimble. We can respond. We can react. We can plan. We can organize in ways that much larger institutions have a great deal of difficulty doing."

Following the presentation, faculty members asked questions about the quality of patient care in teaching hospitals, the challenges facing the Medical School and the quest to derive meaningful information about individuals and populations from massive databases.

The full minutes of the Nov. 7 meeting will be available on the Faculty Senate website next week. The minutes will include the question-and-answer session that followed Minor's presentation. The next senate meeting will be held Dec. 5.