Commitment to Diversity
"Innovators from different backgrounds bring unique and important perspectives to understanding and addressing healthcare needs – and that is at the core of the Biodesign innovation process."
-Paul Yock, Director, Stanford Biodesign
Diversity Mission Statement
Stanford Biodesign is committed to providing an inclusive and respectful work environment. Our training approach depends on bringing together individuals with different academic and professional experiences who share a passion for health technology innovation. We believe that diversity across multiple dimensions, including gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic backgrounds, provides a breadth of perspectives that inspires creativity and helps us innovate for different patient populations. We rely on all of our fellows, students, staff, and faculty to contribute to the diversity and inclusiveness of our workplace and to honor these essential aspects of our culture.
Our ongoing efforts to strengthen diversity at Stanford Biodesign include:
- Recruiting students, fellows, staff, and faculty with varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, while promoting our programs to diverse populations.
- Regularly communicating to students, fellows, staff, and faculty why we value a diverse workplace and how they can help foster an inclusive environment.
- Establishing and upholding policies that support an inclusive and respectful work environment, as well as clear processes for identifying and resolving workplace issues in a timely manner.
- Engaging a “working group” of current and alumni fellows, staff, and faculty to monitor progress against our diversity and culture goals and help us advance in these important areas with integrated initiatives across Stanford Biodesign's programs and other offerings.
- Connecting with relevant organizations at Stanford University and across Silicon Valley to better understand the state of diversity in the health technology industry and collaborate on ways to improve equity and inclusion in the field.
- Engaging speakers, subject matter experts, and industry executives to speak on diversity and inclusion topics and share their experiences in creating positive workplace environments.
These actions are the responsibility of the entire Stanford Biodesign leadership team, with help from our D&I Working Group. The Working Group, which is made up of current and alumni Innovation Fellows, staff, and faculty, is charged with helping us optimize and expand our diversity and inclusion practices across our programs. It is led by Carolyn Heller, our Director of Operations and Finance.
Programs and Resources
Stanford Biodesign has initiated a number of activities to help us foster a diverse and inclusive culture, as well as equal opportunities for our applicants and trainees. These programs include:
Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
This working group is responsible for developing and directing current and future inclusion activities in support of Stanford Biodesign's diversity mission. The group, which includes representatives from Stanford Biodesign's current and alumni fellows, faculty, staff, meets on a monthly basis.
Quarterly Diversity and Inclusion Offsites
Every quarter, the diversity council hosts an offsite meeting for those in our community interested in promoting diversity and inclusion efforts at Stanford Biodesign. During these working sessions, we gather feedback, discuss potential issues, and share past experiences on this topic in a supportive environment.
We recently convened leaders across the health technology industry to discuss how we can work together to help improve gender diversity in our field. At the meeting, 50 executives, investors, and entrepreneurs collaborated to more deeply understand unmet gender-related needs related to hiring, promotion, work schedules, company events, and fundraising. Then they brainstormed preliminary solutions to help increase gender diversity and improve work practices for all health tech employees.
As a next step, a steering committee of summit participants developed the Annual Diversity Challenge as a way for individuals take action to positively affect some of these inequalities and share the results over time. Our first challenge runs from December 2019 through September 2020 and our focus is on mentorship. You can sign up at any time - visit the link to learn more. And don't miss these “small wins” that we can all undertake to begin working toward a more diverse workplace.
On Campus Resources
Like Stanford Biodesign, Stanford University has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Individuals who come to train with us are encouraged to take advantage of the many resources and programs available across the university. Explore the following links for some examples:
Stanford Biodesign believes in sharing these metrics as one mechanism for holding us accountable to our goal of achieving a more diverse and inclusive community. We are tracking our progress in these (and other) areas and working hard to improve our results.
2019-20 Innovation Fellows
Innovation Fellows Trained Since 2001
Stanford Biodesign Management/Staff/Faculty as of 2019
“Many women in our industry experience a non-meritocratic workplace in which their ability to rise is hampered by exclusion, stereotyping, and bias.”
— Maria Sainz
In 2019, Stanford Biodesign and The Fogarty Institute for Innovation convened a summit to explore gender diversity in health technology innovation. The summit, as well as an industry survey conducted in parallel, identified numerous inequalities in the workplace that negatively affect women’s experiences and have the potential to drive them out of the field. Following the summit, a steering committee of participants launched DxD Healthtech, an industry-wide initiative to raise awareness of gender inequality, help individuals take action to create a more inclusive environment, and share the results over time.
A survey of more than 400 men and women in health technology revealed that women are significantly underrepresented in senior leadership and that there is major perception gap in the way men and women experience the workplace. Male respondents believe that the work environment is meritocratic, that they fit in and are part of the team at work, that diversity and inclusion efforts are sufficient, and that promotion criteria are equitable. Women respondents reported a less-inclusive workplace in which their ability to rise is hampered by exclusion from influential communication networks, stereotyping, and bias. More than one-third of female respondents said that they are considering leaving their jobs based on dissatisfaction with management and a desire to advance.
Annual Diversity Challenge
DxD launched the Annual Diversity Challege as a way for members of the health technology industry to take action to improve gender equality. The first challenge runs through September 2020 and is focused on mentorship. Mentoring has been shown to help women rise and succeed in the workplace, and also to positively impact recruiting, job satisfaction, retention, promotion, and business growth.
To participate as an individual or a company, commit to getting more involved in mentoring women during this time. This can mean organizing a mentoring circle, planning a speed mentoring event, or offering to become a mentor on a particular topic of expertise. To help, we've compiled resources including a reference list of mentorship models, and articles from health technology industry peers who are already deeply committed to mentoring.
No matter which approach to mentoring you choose, all of these activities add up to meaningful change, especially when many of us get involved. As Stanford sociologist Shelley Correll, PhD, points out in her small wins model, the changes we can realistically make in any one instance are often small and imperfect, but they lead to bigger ones. We have to start somewhere.
Success stories and lessons learned from this challenge will be shared with participants throughout the year. We will also discuss and build on the results at the next Summit on Gender in Health Technology Innovation on October 26, 2020. Learn more about the inaugural summit.
- Mentorship Models
- Articles from Industry Peers
- Tips for Starting Any Mentoring Program
- Other Resources
Are You a Doer? Join the List of Participants in DxD HealthTech
These people are taking action to improve gender equality in health technology. Join us!
- Maria Sainz, President and CEO, Aegea Medical
- Dan Azagury, Director for Education, Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship
- Annette Ewanich, Executive Assistant, Stanford Biodesign
- Uday Kumar, Founder and CEO, Element Science
- Mark Leahey, President and CEO, Medical Device Manufacturers Association
- Mika Reiner Mayer, Partner, Cooley LLP
- Tejas Mazmudar, Principal R&D Engineer, Minerva Surgical, Inc.
- Christine McCauley, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources, Edwards Lifesciences
- Stacey McCutcheon, Communications Manager, Stanford Biodesign
- Andy McGibbon, Managing Partner, Sonder Capital
- Marga Ortigas-Wedekind, Chief Commercial Strategy Officer, Fogarty Institute for Innovation
- Mike Regan, Chief Innovation Officer, Fogarty Institute for Innovation
- Garrett Schwab, Consultant
- Raje Srinivasan, Software Engineering Manager, Intuitive Surgical
- James Wall, Director for Program Development, Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship
- Paul Yock, Founder and Director, Stanford Biodesign
A special thank you to DiD Agency, an independent healthcare advertising firm, for donating their time and expertise to help capture and articulate our mission, vision, logo, and brand. We couldn't have done this without you!
More About Us
From the story of our founding and growth to our promise for the future of health technology innovation, there’s so much to discover about Stanford Biodesign.