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 Teaching and Learning. Through the Center, we will engage and support faculty and students from across our University 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 will accelerate access to education worldwide using our experiences in technology and digital learning to scale our impact. Our focus is on the production of relevant, engaging, accessible, and scalable digital 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 will be 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 wall’s 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 University has a social responsibility to address the global deficiencies in health professionals and inequalities in access to research findings and medical education.
We have just embarked on this journey with the establishment of our philanthropically-funded Digital Medical Education International Collaborative (Digital MEdIC) in 2016. We have established partnerships with private and public medical schools, non-government organizations, and government agencies in India and South Africa.
We expect the Stanford Center for Health Education to have a substantial impact even in our early stages of development 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 Center for Health Education, Stanford University can provide innovative solutions to address the most pressing health and wellness concerns around the world.