Dr. Fortmann received his undergraduate education at Stanford University and attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the Stanford Medical School faculty in 1983 in the Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Program (later and currently the Stanford Prevention Research Center or SPRC). His research focus is on cardiovascular disease prevention at the population and individual levels. He was director of the Stanford Five-City Project (Dr. John W. Farquhar, Principal Investigator) from 1981 to 1997. He became the C. F. Rehnborg Professor in Disease Prevention and Director of the SPRC in 1998. He retired from the Stanford Medical Faculty in 2010 and is now continuing his research program at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.