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Stanford Report, February 12, 2003

Retreat kicks off year two of school’s strategic plan


Seeds planted more than a year ago in the School of Medicine’s plan to transform its future — as well as the face of academic medicine — have begun bearing fruit, and leaders throughout the medical center are enjoying the taste of early success.

At a retreat Jan. 30-Feb. 2 in Carmel, Calif., a group of 76 department chairs, students, postdocs, executives and staff representing the school, the medical center’s two hospitals and the university gathered to discuss the medical school’s strategic planning effort. A similar group assembled a year ago to prioritize goals and establish a road map for the project.

Norman W. Rizk (left) and Philip Pizzo take a breather at the School of Medicine’s retreat earlier this month. The meeting focused on reinforcing the school’s goal of changing the face of academic medicine. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MARY LAKE POLAN

"I think many people were very pleased to see that what had begun a year ago was being acted on," said David O’Brien, institutional planning director who is managing the process. "There was a tremendous sense of community. In every area; the group found many opportunities to support what we’re doing."

Philip Pizzo, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, who has led the strategic planning effort, said he felt the retreat "helped secure and significantly amplify our commitment to changing the ‘culture of medicine’ and to working together so that Stanford can transform the future of academic medicine."

Pizzo will hold two town-hall meetings, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and Feb. 27 at noon, at Fairchild Auditorium to share information from the retreat with all interested staff, students and faculty members.

O’Brien noted there was broad agreement last year that the school should become a leader in translational research and medicine, requiring close collaborations between basic scientists and clinicians to develop treatments and therapies to improve lives. While it proved a bit difficult at the time to define the "translational" concept, "everyone this year expressed a better understanding of what it means and how it manifests itself in the activities of our faculty," O’Brien said.

He pointed to a recent effort by Judith Swain, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, and Lucy Shapiro, PhD, director of the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, to jointly fund and support collaborations between physician-investigators and scientists conducting basic or applied research.

Accomplishments of the past year linked to the strategic plan include:

• A revamped first-year curriculum for medical students is expected to be in place by this fall. The curriculum for subsequent years will be rolled out sequentially in the following years. The new curriculum will feature scholarly tracks in which students will engage in in-depth study of a particular aspect of medicine. It will also better integrate courses in basic and clinical sciences.

• The appointment and promotion criteria for the medical school professoriate were clarified, and principal-investigator status was granted to faculty in the Medical Center Line.

• A higher salary schedule and enhanced benefits package were established for postdoctoral scholars.

• Coordination was strengthened between the school, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital to maintain and enhance the high quality of patient care.

• A comprehensive plan addressing the school’s technology needs is being developed. The plan is focused on such issues as greater access to information, better security and privacy protections, developing Lane Library as a "knowledge-management center" and developing a clinical informatics center.

• Planning is under way for a new library and instructional facility. Additionally, a comprehensive facilities plan is being developed.

• Finance officials are working on new funding formulas involving the school, the university and the two hospitals to clarify funding expectations.

• A communications strategy has been developed to ensure that a variety of audiences locally, nationally and worldwide understand Stanford’s role in transforming academic medicine.

• A fund-raising campaign to address the school’s facility and equipment needs is scheduled for launch this year.

O’Brien said retreat participants were enthusiastic about continuing the work, although they recognized the challenges inherent in making significant changes. "Everyone was united in their support for the school’s agenda," he said.

Strategic planning retreat blends individuality, unity (2/20/02)

Postdoctoral scholars receive new professional recognition for research efforts (11/6/02)