Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community


Aiming for the Super Bowl of hospitals

Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young is an advocate of Stanford Hospital’s renovation plans.


Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion, has been a member of the Stanford Hospital & Clinics Board of Directors for the past 10 years. He is also the founder of Forever Young, a nonprofit that serves children who face significant physical, emotional and financial challenges. Through the foundation, Young has been a major benefactor to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. He recently spoke at a reception for Stanford Hospital Partners, an organization whose financial support helps sustain the excellence and innovation of patient care at Stanford. Young talked about his personal experience with Stanford Hospital and the need for a new state-of-the-art facility.

OK, I’m sure you’re saying, “What’s the gimmick? Why Young? What has he got to do with this?” Well, at the end of my career a lot of people knew that I was suffering some trauma from concussions. When I was going through some of the meat of that, I was sent to Dr. Gary Steinberg at Stanford Hospital, at the Neuroscience Clinic. I learned that we have one of the world’s foremost neuroscience clinics, right here in Palo Alto.

And then I got to see that not only do we have world-class neuroscience, we also have a lot of other world-class clinical departments.

Through a series of events, I was asked to join the Board of Directors at Stanford Hospital. I don’t think the board wanted tips on throwing the ball or anything. I think they sensed that I was a guy living in the community who had some association with Stanford and a real interest in what was going on at the hospital.

I remember my first board meeting, and people were saying, “Well, we should probably work to be, maybe, one of the top 10 or top 15 hospitals,” and I said, “Well, wait a second. As a 49er, I never went into the season and didn’t go for the Super Bowl. If we’re not going to be the best hospital in the country, I’d rather leave the board.” That was 10 years ago. Since then, we have seen the hospital, under Martha Marsh’s leadership, accomplish some amazing things.

Now we are looking toward a transformational event—building a new hospital. I can tell you that we are in the midst of some really heavy lifting in getting this hospital under way, and I hope that you recognize what it is going to mean to you.

As a resident of Palo Alto, I look at the hospital as my hospital. It is not solely Stanford University’s hospital. The university is a great friend of the hospital, but the hospital stands alone. It rises and falls on its own merits. And I think it’s important that we, as members of the commu-nity, recognize that this has to be our hospital.

What it means to you personally, to your family, is the same as what it means to me and to my own kids when I need to take them to the emergency room every once in a while. Do I want a world-class emergency room? Do I want an emergency room that services my community? I absolutely do. Do I want to drive 10, 20 or 30 miles for an emergency room? No, I do not. That’s just one of the simple things that this hospital will offer—not to mention the more complex services it will provide as I age and need more care. Hopefully, Dr. Steinberg, I won’t need too much help with my head!

I’m going to be able to go down the street to one of the world’s greatest hospitals. And I think that we’re looking for people to join us, and, more than anything, I want you to see that.

I don’t believe that I am a gimmick in coming up and representing the hospital. I have deep roots now with the Stanford community, and Stanford Hospital in particular. I don’t know if you’ve been seeing the mailings from the hospital or getting information on how to get involved with the fund drive for the new hospital. But I’m going to be part of that, and I welcome it as part of my duty in the community, as a part of my community outreach.

For more information and updates on the Medical Center Renewal Project, visit the project’s Web site,

To learn more about Stanford Hospital Partners, please contact Cliff Harris at 650-721-5659 or

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