Register for the Portland Metro HeartMap Challenge

Did you know? Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy to operate tool for anyone with little to no medical background.

Studies have shown that during a cardiac arrest if the victim receives defibrillation within three minutes, the chances of survival increase by as much as 25%!

There are more than 1.2 million AEDs in public places in the United States, and about 180,000 more are installed each year.  That’s great news, but it would be even better if 911 operators and members of the public could easily access a database of AED locations to get help for cardiac arrest victims faster.

That’s where the Portland Metro HeartMap Challenge comes in. Conducted by OHSU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, the Portland Metro HeartMap Challenge is a month-long community scavenger hunt encouraging citizens to map AEDs in the four metro area counties – Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington – so they can be found more quickly in an emergency.

The challenge runs November 15th to December 15th with registration now open, and we’re asking for your help to make it a success.

Register as a team or an individual and then report any AEDs you find in your community on the contest website for a chance to win cash prizes. We want to map them all in our database so make sure to report AEDs at your place of work, where you shop, in public buildings, at the airport, or anywhere you see them in the community. A $10,000 grand prize will be awarded to the individual or team that identifies the most unique AEDs!

And most importantly you will be helping to make your community safer by locating AEDs and raising awareness that anyone can use one safely. To participate—and for the complete set of rules—visit the Portland Metro HeartMap Challenge website.



Mohamud Daya, M.D., M.S. is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at OHSU. His specialty is emergency medical care with a focus on out-of-hospital care.

National Nurse Practitioner Week is November 9-14

It’s National Nurse Practitioner Week, a time to celebrate these exceptional health care providers!

What is a Nurse Practitioner?
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice nurse with master’s, post-master’s, or doctoral level education. The NP is a health care provider who delivers direct primary or specialty care to patients and families in a variety of settings. They provide high quality, cost-effective care that results in a high level of patient satisfaction.

Nurse practitioners are informed, in touch and involved, making them the health care providers of choice for millions and a solution to the primary care crisis in America. 

How can I support our Nurse Practitioners?
If you are visiting one of our clinics, be sure to thank them for their hard work! It is also important to remind lawmakers of the importance of removing outdated barriers to practice so that NP’s are allowed to practice to the full extent of their experience and education.

How do I become a Nurse Practitioner?
Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing has numerous nurse practitioner full-time faculty and clinical preceptors across the state. They deliver skilled and up-to-date instruction based on their experiences in a variety of clinical specialties and facilities.

For each of the specialties listed above, you can enter with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and exit with a master of nursing degree. For all of these specialties you can also enter with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and exit with the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree.

Applicants with an existing advanced practice license can achieve a post-master’s certificate in nurse-midwifery, psychiatric mental health or family nurse practice.

For more information, contact us at



Christi Richardson is the Web and Communications Specialist for the OHSU School of Nursing. She manages the School’s newsletter, maintains the website and manages all social media and communications.


Melanoma event to spotlight latest research and survivor stories

By Matt Wastradowski

Shon Ramey began his seven-year fight against skin cancer in 2007, when he was first diagnosed with melanoma. Growing up in Washington State, he never used sunscreen and admitted that his goal was to get tan as fast as possible. But after four surgeries in seven years, he understands more than ever the importance of proper skin care and remaining vigilant about the dangers of melanoma.

Ramey will be one of three featured panelists at the Melanoma Care Update and Patient Dialogue on Nov. 15, 2014. He discussed his experience with 96,000 Square Miles and stressed the importance of raising awareness about the deadly disease.

What have you learned about melanoma that has surprised you?

I’ve lived in Texas and in the Middle East, so I was surprised by the prevalence of melanoma in Oregon when I moved here in 2013. Oregon has the fifth highest rate of new melanoma cases in the nation, and scientists are unsure why.

I learned the importance of wearing appropriate clothing and applying sunscreen of 30-50 SPF regularly year-round. Even when the sun comes out on wintry days, it can do serious damage if we’re not careful.

You joined the Melanoma Community Registry, which formed earlier this year to bring together patients, friends and family to help researchers take on melanoma. What made you decide to join?

The medical establishment is getting better at keeping us alive, but there’s not always a focus on how to live—and rightly so. The registry creates this pool of meaningful resources for others dealing with melanoma, and we can help each other out. Every survivor’s story is unique, but there’s also a commonality; we can share those experiences and help others.

I don’t want to be defined as a survivor, but I have a cache of experience that I think will help other people in the same or similar situations. It’s not the highest and best use for people with medical degrees, but we all have a bachelor’s degree in cancer survivorship; how can we become a resource?

What do you hope attendees learn from your panel discussion?

Registration is now open for the Melanoma Care Update and Patient Dialogue. The free event is from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 15 at the Vey Auditorium in OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

It’s important to learn about the latest melanoma research from the experts, but it helps to hear stories from patients who have gone through it themselves.  I’m excited by the research happening and the enthusiasm generated by the registry so far, and I want to share that.

Shon Ramey, 53, is a father of two working for NAVEX Global, a software company in Lake Oswego.

Don’t be scared by Halloween treats!

The holiday season seems to get longer every year, with sweets, shopping, and stress threatening to derail your healthy lifestyle habits from Halloween to Valentine’s Day!

Hopefully you’re already following these tips to minimize temptations at home, but how do you deal with treats that show up at the office?

Follow these tips to help stay on track when Halloween candy begins making its spooky appearance this month.

1. Make a plan: If you don’t already, begin planning your meals and snacks for the week. Life gets extra busy during the holidays, so make good use of slow cookers, leftovers, and low-fat frozen entrées to help stop you from eating out or skipping meals. Have a long day coming up at work? That’s a perfect time to toss ingredients in the slow cooker before you leave in the morning!

2. Bring supplies: Now that you have a plan, make sure you’re bringing lunch and snacks to work each day. When the cupcakes call your name, it will be much easier to resist the temptation if you have healthy foods on hand. Stock up on protein- and fiber-filled snacks to help stop the sugar cravings, such as:

  • String cheese and fruit
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Trail mix or nuts (pre-portioned into ¼ cup servings)
  • Edamame
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Apple slices or celery sticks with 2 tablespoons peanut butter

3. Pay attention: Start tracking everything that goes in your mouth with a food log app such as MyFitnessPal. No smart phone? Pen and paper work just as well! It’s much easier to stay on track if you see the evidence of the candy!

4. Drink up! Stay hydrated with 64 ounces of calorie-free, caffeine-free fluids every day. Your body may mistake thirst for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking.

The Halloween Candy Buy Back program is going on again this year and is a great way to get leftover candy out of your house or office. Enter your zip code on their website to find a participating dentist office to “buy” your leftover Halloween candy—your waistline (and teeth!) will thank you.

Another cool campaign happening this year is the Food Allergy Research & Education’s (FARE) Teal Pumpkin Project, which aims to help make Halloween more inclusive for kids with food allergies. To participate, simply have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters, such as spider rings, bubbles, or glow sticks. Paint a pumpkin teal or print and post a sign from FARE to indicate you are participating (teal is the color of food allergy awareness).

Happy Halloween!


Tracy Severson is an outpatient clinical dietitian at OHSU. She moved to Portland from Tucson in 2010, and has worked at OHSU since 2011. Tracy works with the OHSU Surgical Weight Reduction clinic and Cardiac Rehab program, and also provides medical nutrition therapy for General Adult Outpatient Clinics at OHSU.

OHSU Recognized as 2014 LGBT Healthcare Equality Leader

We are proud to share that for the fourth year in a row, Oregon Health & Science University has been recognized as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. 

The findings were part of HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2014, a unique annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans and recognizes healthcare institutions doing the best work.

OHSU earned top marks in its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality health care and respect they deserve.

OHSU was one of a select group of 426 healthcare facilities nationwide – and one of only four in Oregon – to be named Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality.

OHSU is the largest employer in the Portland area that offers health coverage for employees and their dependents for care related to gender transition.

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion coordinates trainings and cultural competency lectures on patient-centered care.

OHSU Pride, the employee resource group for LGBTQ staff and their allies, promotes an inclusive workplace that provides opportunities for growth for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2014, or to download a free copy of the report, visit


Maileen Hamto is Communications Manager for the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, which leads and supports university-wide initiatives to create a culture of respect and inclusion for all people.

OHSU participating in Ebola drill Thursday, October 23

Although the odds of seeing a patient with Ebola virus here in Portland are low, OHSU continues to actively prepare for the possibility of a suspected or confirmed case.

On Thurday, Oct. 23, Multnomah County Emergency Medical Services will be running a full-scale practice drill, in collaboration with OHSU’s Emergency Department. The drill will include receiving, transporting and isolating someone roleplaying as a potentially infectious patient (an actor) from the Portland airport to OHSU.

The drill will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with ambulances, fire trucks and emergency and medical personnel in full protective gear on our Marquam Hill campus. Other hospitals will also be participating in drills with the MCEMS over the coming weeks.

Please remember, this is not a real Ebola patient, and this drill does not mean that OHSU has been designated as a hospital to receive Ebola patients.

We are working very hard to ensure that employees are protected while providing care for patients. If or when a patient with suspected Ebola virus disease is identified, we will deploy a highly trained and experienced team to care for the patient, thereby limiting exposure to others.

We are putting protocols in place to rapidly identify potentially infected individuals across OHSU, including the Emergency Department, inpatient services and clinics on and off campus.

Our multidisciplinary response plan allows us to provide the necessary medical care while minimizing the risk to health care workers and our community. We know from experience that good infection control practices can prevent the spread of viruses like Ebola.

OHSU has conducted tabletop emergency preparedness exercises and continues to participate in regional preparedness discussions with local, state and federal health officials, as well as peer hospitals and health systems citywide. Our collective goal is to ensure a collaborative, citywide response to Ebola virus.

Learn more:


John Townes, M.D. is the Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control at OHSU and Associate Professor of Medicine,
 Division of Infectious Diseases at OHSU and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Back to basics for women

In a recent National Institute of Health study on pain, nearly 1/3 of respondents listed low back pain as the most common type they experienced. Aside from being frustrating and costly to treat, back pain can also keep you from your favorite activities. Women, especially, can suffer in conjunction with other life events, including pregnancy and menopause.

So, how can women of all ages can benefit from easy ways to prevent or fight back pain?

In your teens: If it’s painful, stop. Pain can be a warning sign that you need to seek help. You don’t want something that happens in your teens to turn into a chronic injury lasting years.

Pregnant woman with backacheIn your 20s–40s: Pregnancy is an easy way women can injure their backs. Toward the end of pregnancy, ligaments and tendons loosen to help the birthing process. But that tightness is what helps prevent injury. Also, make sure to keep your core muscles tightened when you lift or carry a child.

50+: After menopause, estrogen production begins to wane, giving women a higher risk of conditions such as compression fractures. Try yoga or Pilates to keep core muscles strong and protect your back. If you garden, take breaks often: None of us are made to be hunched over for more than a few minutes, unless you’re a master yogi!

There is good news about back pain, though it may not seem that way when you’re going through it: It will often resolve on its own. Heat, ice, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and over-the-counter pain medications — taken as directed — can help.

But there is some back pain that does need urgent care: See a doctor if your pain is so acute you can’t walk or turn your body, if you feel numbness or weakness, or if you lose control of your bladder or bowels.

A leader in the latest techniques and technology, the OHSU Spine Center treats every back and spine condition, with a wide range of treatments, including physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, acupuncture, surgery, and more. To make an appointment, visit


Grace Chen, M.D., joined the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine in 2004. Her primary clinical interests are in the non-surgical treatment of back pain, spinal pain that is not alleviated by surgery, and non-opioid treatment of pain.



Join us for OHSU’s 5th annual “Night for Networking”

Wednesday, October 22nd, the OHSU community, along with local partners, employers and job seekers, will come together to celebrate the fifth annual Night for Networking.

This free event highlights job candidates with disabilities, introducing skilled, potential employees with Oregon-based employers and businesses that are truly committed to workforce diversity.

Organized by OHSU’s Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Department (AAEO), the event is expected to draw more than 400 people. Workforce diversity strategist Steve Hanamura and Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick will attend and speak to the importance of enhancing workplace diversity and inclusion to ensure success for people of all abilities.

Night for Networking V
October 22, 6-9 p.m.
Collaborative Life Sciences Building
2730 SW Moody Avenue
Portland, OR  97239

RSVP here by October 17

A big thanks to our executive sponsors: Kaiser Permanente, Diversity & Inclusion, Human Resources; Oregon Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Equity and Multicultural Services;  Oregon Health Authority, Office of Equity and Inclusion; Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Region; and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service.


Maileen Hamto is Communications Manager for the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, which leads and supports university-wide initiatives to create a culture of respect and inclusion for all people.

Your health questions answered: Cancer treatment and your heart

You ask. OHSU health experts answer. This month, our cardiology and pediatric specialists are on the hot seat.

Q. Can cancer treatments damage my heart?

A. While cancer treatments including radiation and chemotherapy may help fight the disease, they may have negative side effects on your heart. Although this is rare, treatment can weaken your heart muscle or affect your heart’s ability to pump blood.

Before you begin a cancer treatment that might affect the heart, you will have basic tests like anelectrocardiogram (ECG) or tests to measure your heart function like a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram). By finding heart problems before starting treatment, and by monitoring them during carefully, we can help to prevent heart issues. Make sure to talk to your oncologist if you have a pre-existing heart condition or if heart disease runs in your family.

Prepare your child for surgery

Q. How can I help my child prepare for surgery?

A.  Although specific details will depend on your child’s age and the surgical procedure, it’s always best to be clear and honest, as well as reassuring. In other words, don’t baby your child—explain what the surgery is for, what’s going to happen during it, and how he or she might feel after waking up.

You don’t need to explain every potential complication, but you do need to be truthful so your child knows what to expect: Kids are tougher than we sometimes give them credit for.

If you are concerned about your child’s fear or apprehension regarding surgery, our OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s Child Life program specialists use age-specific approaches to help lessen a child’s anxiety about any aspect of a hospital or surgery.


Maros Ferencik, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Maros Ferencik, M.D., Ph.D. sees patients at the OHSU Beaverton Cardiology Clinic, where he specializes in cardio-oncology (treatment of the cardiovascular side effects of cancer therapy) and general cardiology. U.S. News & World Report ranks the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute as the top cardiology and heart surgery hospital in Oregon.



Dr. Kenneth Azarow, M.D. specializes in pediatric surgery and is the surgeon-in-chief at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Doernbecher has the most pediatric specialists in Oregon and ranks among the nation’s best children’s hospitals.

Celebrating National Nurse-Midwifery Week

The term Midwife means “with woman,” and each year we celebrate Midwifery Week by recognizing the contributions of midwives and the experiences of the women they serve.

This year, OHSU School of Nursing and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) invite you to learn more about midwifery and its rich 80-year history here in the United States.

At OHSU, we have a thriving faculty midwifery practice. Our midwifery graduate program was ranked number one by U.S. News and World Report consistently since 2004.

Since 1975, students and staff have educated the community on a broad range of women’s health issues, including nutrition, sexual health, menopause and osteoporosis. OHSU midwives also offer a water birth program, established in 1997.

To learn more about becoming a Nurse-Midwife, please take a look at the OHSU School of nursing program pages. Or to learn how to receive care from one of the OHSU midwives take a look at these web pages.

National Midwifery Week is supported by ACNM, its members, physicians, and women’s health organizations across the nation.


Christi Richardson is the Web and Communications Specialist for the OHSU School of Nursing. She manages the School’s newsletter, maintains the website and manages all social media and communications.


OHSU Health Fair at Pioneer Square.

Why 96,000 Square Miles?

President Robertson is fond of saying that OHSU has a 96,000 square mile campus, serving Oregonians “from Enterprise to Coos Bay, from Portland to Klamath Falls.”

This blog aims to highlight that breadth. 96,000 Square Miles (96K for short) will focus on the people of OHSU, the Oregonians we serve and the ripple effect of our work in Oregon and beyond.

Read more

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