I am honored to serve as the founding executive director of the Stanford Center for Health Education, a university-wide program supported by Stanford Medicine and the Office of the Vice Provost for Technology and Learning. Through the center, we engage and support Stanford faculty and students in the creation of educational programs relevant to maintaining wellness and managing disease. Based upon the belief that education empowers and health education saves lives, our hope is to extend the impact of Stanford’s broad and deep research and education expertise around the world.
In the next decade, technology will continue to advance while the world’s most vulnerable populations struggle with access to educational opportunities. The Stanford Center for Health Education accelerates access to education worldwide using our experiences in technology and digital learning to scale impact. Our focus is on the production of relevant, engaging, accessible, and scalable digital health content. This content is deployed as part of a disruptive solution to extend health education to learners across the globe. The ultimate benefits of the center’s efforts is a more informed public, better-trained healthcare professionals, and improved health outcomes in some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, allowing Stanford University to extend its reach far beyond the walls of our campus.
There is a pressing need for our center’s efforts, underscored by the current critical deficit in the number of health professionals being trained, especially in under-resourced areas of the world. The World Health Organization estimated that 83 countries had a collective shortage of 7.2 million health care professionals in 2013. That number is projected to increase to a shortage of nearly 13 million by 2035. In addition, new scientific knowledge and medical advances are not efficiently shared across the global medical community so that they can be translated into improved health outcomes. We believe that Stanford has a social responsibility to address the global deficiencies in the number of health professionals and inequalities in access to research findings and medical education.
We embarked on this journey with the establishment of our philanthropically-funded Digital Medical Education International Collaborative (Digital Medic) in 2016. We have established collaborations with private and public medical schools, non-government organizations, and government agencies in India and South Africa.
The Stanford Center for Health Education can have a substantial impact as medical schools, health professionals, and learners around the world use our growing library of health education content. Access to high quality health education will improve global health outcomes over time. Through the Stanford Center for Health Education, Stanford University can provide innovative solutions to address the most pressing health and wellness concerns around the world.