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Randall Stafford


Stanford School of Medicine

Public health, disease prevention, and the failure of our health care system.


Although the United States pays more for medical care than any other country, problems abound in our health care system. Unsustainable costs, poor outcomes, frequent medical errors, poor patient satisfaction, and worsening health disparities all point to a need for transformative change. Simultaneously, we face epidemics of obesity and chronic disease. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes now cause 70% of U.S. deaths and account for nearly 75% of health care expenditures. Unfortunately, many modifiable risk factors for chronic diseases are not being addressed adequately. A prevention model, focused on forestalling the development of disease before symptoms or life-threatening events occur, is the best solution to the current crisis. The hope that technological advances will solve our health care problems is understandable, but ultimately misplaced. We currently possess the knowledge and strategies needed to address our chronic disease epidemic, but several features of our health care system hamper successful implementation.

Meet the Speaker:

RANDALL S. STAFFORD, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine and the Director of the Program on Prevention Outcomes and Practices. His training includes a master’s degree in health administration, a PhD in public health (epidemiology), and an MD with subsequent residency training in internal medicine. Professor Stafford and his research team focus on investigating physician and patient practices to create effective healthcare models that emphasize prevention and wellness, rather than treatment of disease symptoms. His mission is to improve population health outcomes through research that facilitates the development and broad dissemination of effective, efficient, innovative, and evidence-based prevention strategies. In addition to his research focus, Dr. Stafford is a primary care physician in the Stanford Internal Medicine Clinic where he emphasizes chronic disease prevention and treatment.

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