Frontiers in Medicine



Meeting the Moment

Thank you for your interest in Frontiers in Medicine.

The 2020 program has now concluded. The program replay will be available shortly.

Event Overview

This special 2020 edition of Frontiers in Medicine will bring us together virtually to explore the power of translational science and medicine over disease during this unprecedented moment in American history—a moment where we battle both a pandemic and the public health crisis of inequality.


Hear from our frontline leaders about the global effort to meet the challenge of COVID-19, and the accelerated pace of medical discovery that emerged from this shared effort. The multidisciplinary strength, culture of collaboration, and preeminence in fundamental science that Stanford Medicine brings to meeting the COVID-19 challenge, and so many of humanity’s other public health threats, will be the focus of this year’s event.

Event Program

Date | September 16, 2020

Virtual Program | 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. PDT

Virtual “Close-Up Conversations” | 6:00 – 6:30 p.m. PDT

Join a Stanford Medicine faculty member or healthcare worker along with a small group of fellow guests for a “Close-Up Conversation” – a 30-minute, intimate conversation about the evening’s presentations, themes, and exciting breakthroughs occurring throughout Stanford Medicine.


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WELCOME TO FRONTIERS IN MEDICINE | Join David Entwistle in honoring the staff, faculty, and volunteers of Stanford Health Care and Stanford Medicine who came together to provide compassionate care for our patients and each other during this moment of challenge in our world.

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A NEW ERA OF DISCOVERY | Today, the world faces two public health crises—the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racial injustice. Dean Minor will share how Stanford Medicine is meeting the moment on both fronts, with a renewed sense of purpose and collaboration in accelerating scientific discovery and an awakened sense of responsibility for improving the health inequities that exist in our communities.

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IMMUNITY IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS | The COVID-19 pandemic represents the greatest global health crisis of our times and is revealing many deep mysteries about our human immune system. In the few short months since its emergence, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has radically transformed virtually every dimension of our lives and fueled an urgent global health imperative to develop a safe and effective vaccine. While that process typically takes up to 15 years, this crisis has revolutionized vaccinology, creating unprecedented collaborations between industry, government, and academia, and preparing us for future emerging global pandemics.

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DECODING DISEASE USING GENOMICS | Genome sequencing has the power to improve precision in medicine. The ability to understand who’s most at risk for disease and why it can radically alter our approaches to patient care. How is genome sequencing being applied to help inform the worldwide fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and in managing our response to this and future disease threats? Beyond this pandemic, how is Stanford partnering with industry to accelerate the process of developing and scaling groundbreaking discoveries into world-changing solutions for COVID-19 and beyond?

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CONVERGENCE  OF CRISES: CONFRONTING SIMULTANEOUS EPIDEMICS | COVID-19 is both an unprecedented national public health crisis and a catalyst for laying bare a long history of inequities in medical care and research. Zip code, not genetic code, remains the single greatest indicator of long-term health and life expectancy for many Americans. What is Stanford doing to confront racial disparities in health-care delivery and research and how is equity being considered in the development and trial of various promising new therapeutics for COVID-19?

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THE STORY AFTER THE STORY: HUMANISM AND MEDICINE POST COVID | We are living through a profound moment in history. Lessons from previous plagues eerily echo and predict our reactions as individuals and as institutions. This pandemic, like those before it, lays bare the unevenness of health care, the inequities related to race, geography, and access. As health care providers caring for patients in such challenging times, how do we connect when we are hidden behind barriers of personal protective equipment? How do we create trust during a virtual on-screen visit? Unexpectedly, telemedicine has opened a window into patients’ homes and lives, revealing opportunities to see them more clearly as individuals. These insights will be valuable long after the pandemic subsides. To prepare for future outbreaks, medicine will need not just science but the humanities to better predict and influence societal behavior, to correct health-care inequities, to address racial injustice. Our success in doing so will determine the way history records our story.

Close-Up Conversation Hosts

Join a Stanford Medicine faculty member or healthcare worker along with a small group of fellow guests for a “Close-Up Conversation” – a 30-minute, intimate conversation about the evening’s presentations, themes, and exciting breakthroughs occurring throughout Stanford Medicine.

  • Neera Ahuja, MD | BIO
  • Steven Artandi, MD, PhD | BIO
  • Euan Ashley, MB ChB, DPhil, FRCP | BIO
  • Andra Blomkalns, MD | BIO
  • Victor Carrion, MD | BIO
  • Jennifer Cochran, PhD | BIO
  • Andrew Fire, PhD | BIO
  • Christopher Gardner, PhD | BIO
  • Neil Gesundheit, MD | BIO
  • Iris Gibbs, MD, FACR, FASTRO | BIO
  • Jeffery Goldberg, MD, PhD | BIO
  • Robert Harrington, MD | BIO
  • Mary Hawn, MD, FACS | BIO
  • Robert Jackler, MD | BIO
  • Paul Khavari, MD, PhD | BIO
  • Chaitan Khosla, PhD | BIO
  • Sheri Krams, MD, PhD | BIO
  • Michael Lim, MD | BIO
  • Eldrin Lewis, MD, MPH | BIO
  • Ravi Majeti, MD, PhD | BIO
  • Yvonne Maldonado, MD | BIO
  • Doug Owens, MD | BIO
  • Karen Parker, PhD | BIO
  • Bali Pulendran, PhD | BIO
  • Tait Shanafelt, MD | BIO
  • Upinder Singh, MD | BIO
  • Eila Skinner, MD | BIO
  • Michael Snyder, MD, FACS | BIO
  • Justin Sonnenburg, PhD | BIO
  • Aaron Straight, PhD | BIO
  • Leslee Subak, MD | BIO
  • Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP | BIO
  • Irving Weissman, MD | BIO
  • Joseph Woo, MD | BIO

For the past four years, David Entwistle has led Stanford Health Care through the opening of its new hospital, the expansion of its clinical care enterprise across the Bay Area, and most recently through its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a passionate advocate for precision health, and is committed to combining the highest levels of quality with outstanding patient experience. Learn more >

Scientist, surgeon, academic leader, Lloyd Minor, MD, has helped position Stanford Medicine to lead the biomedical revolution in precision health. During his eight-year tenure, he has led the integration of the three entities that comprise Stanford Medicine—Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care, and Stanford Children’s Health—around a single vision to predict, prevent, and cure precisely. Learn more>

Dr. Pulendran has pioneered the use of systems biology to identify molecular signatures that can predict the efficacy of vaccines. His research is focused on the body’s innate immune system, an ancient, evolutionary system of host defense that represents the first response to pathogens, and on using this knowledge to design novel vaccines for HIV, malaria, and now COVID-19. Dr. Pulendran’s research is frequently published in frontline journals such as Nature, Science, and Cell. He is the recipient of numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, and from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is ranked among the top 1 percent of immunologists cited on Thomson Reuter’s list of Highly Cited Researchers. Learn more >

As a physician, geneticist, and data scientist, Dr. Euan Ashley seeks to transform the practice of medicine through genomics. His lab uses data derived from whole-genome sequencing to improve disease diagnosis and the precision of medicine. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ashley lab took to sequencing the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and hosts to help inform the global response to this and future viral threats. In 2013, Dr. Ashley was recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for his contributions to personalized medicine. He is a recipient of the National Innovation Award from the American Heart Association as well as a Director’s New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health. Learn more >

Dr. Maldonado wears two hats at Stanford. As an infectious disease expert focused on the epidemiologic aspects of viral vaccine development, she has been the face of Stanford Medicine throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, managing multiple therapeutic and epidemiologic trials. She is also a leader in Stanford Medicine’s efforts to improve racial disparities in health-care delivery and research. A pioneer in epidemiology, Dr. Maldonado started her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has also served on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee through the United States Department of Health and Human Services and as a member of Governor Gavin Newsom’s California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine Advisory Council. She is currently chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases.  Learn more >

Physician, internationally-recognized author, and celebrated speaker, Abraham Verghese is first and foremost a teacher. He has spent decades dedicated to preserving the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. This led to the creation of Stanford Medicine 25, a global movement that teaches the power of physical examination and observation to diagnose illness. This work has been enhanced with the creation of the Stanford Presence Center, focused on a variety of initiatives related to fostering research, dialogue, and multidisciplinary collaboration to enhance the physician-patient encounter. Most recently, he has addressed the additional challenges faced during the pandemic by stressing the need for presence during physician-patient encounters, in particular telemedicine visits. Dr. Verghese received the National Humanities Medal in 2015 and his TED talk entitled “A Doctors Touch” has nearly two million views. Learn more >