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, physical ability, 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
What is DxD?
By bringing forward innovative new solutions to important unmet clinical needs, the health technology industry saves lives, improves patient outcomes, and helps professionals deliver high quality care. There is no place in this effort for inequality, racism, or discrimination of any kind. Diversity by Doing, or DxD HealthTech is an industry-wide initiative formed to raise awareness of inequity, help individuals take action to create a more just and inclusive environment, and share the results over time.
DxD's mission is to empower diversity change agents by providing education, expert voices, and practical resources. These goals reflect the academic and hands-on industry expertise of our founders, Stanford Biodesign, The Fogarty Institute for Innovation, and medtech CEO Maria Sainz. DxD is led by a steering committee of individuals in health technology.
The DxD Vision
To be a leading, transformational force for diversity within health technology. We are inspired in this vision by our brand archetype, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who fought for equality in a way that inspired others to join her, and recognized that real, enduring change happens one step at a time.
Where We Started
Our preliminary focus was on gender diversity. Our goal was to learn and create replicable models of change we could then apply to race and other dimensions of diversity.
What We've Done
In March 2019, we convened a summit to explore gender diversity in health technology innovation. In parallel, we conducted a survey of more than 400 men and women in our industry to better understand leadership representation and perceptions of workplace equality, job satisfaction, and work life balance. These two efforts identified numerous inequalities in the workplace that negatively affect women’s experiences and have the potential to drive them out of the field. For example, the survey found that male respondents believe that the work environment is meritocratic, that they fit in and are part of the team at work, 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 they were considering leaving their jobs based on dissatisfaction with management and a desire to advance.
Focus on Mentoring
In response to these findings, we launched our first Annual Diversity Focus on Mentoring to help members of the health technology industry take action to improve gender equality.
Mentoring has been shown to help women rise and succeed in the workplace. In addition to sharing resources to help people get involved in mentoring, we've launched a series of virtual speed mentoring events that bring together seasoned industry executives and a cohort of more junior women to introduce the concept of mentoring and how it can help in career development and personal growth. In addition to motivating the participants to seek mentors, the connections made during the event are meaningful - in fact one mentee who participated in our pilot event is now in a new job because of the contacts she made.
Interested in participating in the next speed mentoring event as either a mentee or a mentor? Fill out this form to be added to the list!
“I believe DxD is doing something that shouldn't be groundbreaking but feels like it might be. I often hear/read about research conducted to understand inequity in the workplace. However, I have not heard of many programs developed as a direct result of the findings. It gives me hope, not only for my future in healthtech, but for other motivated women who want to broaden their networks and gain guidance on how to navigate corporate waters.”
--Toni-Moi Prince, Mentee
“I thought the event was exceptional, both the mentors who gave talks as well as the 1:1 breakout sessions. Each mentor provided great food for thought. Of course, not by providing 'the answer,' but in the insightful questions they asked and left for future consideration.”
--Ashley Elinson, Mentee
COVID-19 and Gender Survey
We’ve teamed up with industry survey partners including MDMA, MedtechWomen, Medtech Strategist, and the Stanford Biodesign Alumni Association to look at how COVID-19 is affecting gender equality in our industry over time.
We’re developing plans for how we can take action to improve racial equality and inclusiveness. The first step is listening and learning, so we’re gathering input from our academic, industry, and community stakeholders that we’ll use to shape our direction. We are committed to Doing. Please stay tuned.
Are You a Doer? Join the List of Participants in DxD HealthTech
These people are taking action to improve diversity 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
- Stacy Feld, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, West North America, Australia, New Zealand
- Janene Fuerch, Assistant Director, Faculty Fellowship, Stanford Biodesign
- Julie Haeger, Director of Talent Management, Edwards Lifesciences
- Uday Kumar, Founder and CEO, Element Science
- Mark Leahey, President and CEO, Medical Device Manufacturers Association
- 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
- Emily Pang, MD Candidate, Stanford University School of Medicine
- Mike Regan, Chief Innovation Officer, Fogarty Institute for Innovation
- Garrett Schwab, Consultant
- Raje Srinivasan, Software Engineering Manager, Intuitive Surgical
- Angela Vanscoy, Partner, Bay Area Life Sciences, Deloitte
- 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.