Five facts about frostbite

Winter is upon us, and it’s important to keep your family safe in dropping temperatures. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or just working outside around the house, be sure know these five facts about frostbite:

  1. Frostbite is caused by freezing injury usually to the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes, parts of the body frequently exposed to the cold and whose circulation is easily impaired due to the cold. Prevention includes keeping these body parts covered with insulation, not going out in extreme cold, and keeping the whole body warm with adequate insulation, food and hydration and avoiding smoking and alcohol.
  2. The early signs of frostbite are loss of feeling and color in these exposed Hands holding a mugareas. The skin becomes white or grayish-yellow in color and it feels firm or waxy. Do not ignore these early signs, otherwise frostbite can lead to blistering and permanent loss of tissue including amputation of fingers, toes, ears and nose. Be vigilant with your fellow adventurers outside to look for signs of frostbite on each other.
  3. At the first signs of frostbite immediately stop what you are doing and take measures to warm up affected area. This may be as simple as putting on extra clothing or warming up fingers by blowing on them or putting them in your armpits. If this does not help then get into a warm environment, change out of wet clothing and put on new dry clothing.
  4. Further measures include putting frostbitten extremities in warm water (heated to 100-105⁰F, have companion test warmth with their hands). Always try to warm up affected areas before attempting evacuation. Do not use fires, heating pads or stoves to directly warm up skin, this can lead to further injury.
  5. Do not walk on frostbitten feet unless absolutely necessary to evacuate to safety. Once affected areas are re-warmed do not let them get frozen again. This will lead to even more injury. If you are an outdoor adventurer, take a wilderness first aid course to help prevent and treat all kinds of outdoor emergencies.


CCOM_02-17-09Dr. Craig Warden is a Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at OHSU. He currently serves as the Medical Director of the Global Mission Readiness in Clackamas, the Oregon State Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 1, Clackamas County Emergency Medical Dispatch and Clackamas County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council.

A big step for our tiniest patients: Oregon, Portland have nation’s lowest premature birth rates

In a new report from the March of Dimes, the national non-profit dedicated to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, infant mortality and premature birth, Oregon, Portland and Vancouver have the lowest rates of premature babies.

According to the March of Dimes, “preterm births are defined as births before 37 weeks of pregnancy and are a leading cause of infant mortality.”

In their 2015 Premature Birth Report Card, Oregon’s preterm birth rate of 7.7 percent is the lowest among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. We also received an A for exceeding the group’s 2020 national goal of 8.1 percent.

At OHSU, we’re dedicated to helping babies begin healthy lives. Dr. Aaron Caughey, chair of department of obstetrics and gynecology, has a special interest in preventing preterm births. As chairman of the Oregon Perinatal Collaborative, he leads a group of healthcare providers who work to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes.

He believes that this recognition was achieved in large part because people, programs and legislation in Oregon are actively coming together (more so than in other places) to serve the same mission: improving the lives of women and children in Oregon.

And while this is wonderful news for growing families across the state, there is still work to do to improve the national premature birth rate of 9.6 percent and to close the gaps in the March of Dimes’ disparity index, which looked at preterm birth rates across racial and ethnic groups within a geographic area. In those rankings, Oregon came in 13th.

To read more about Oregon’s report card or to review all the rankings, visit the March of Dimes website.


March of Dimes: 2015 Premature Birth Report Cards

March of Dimes: 2015 Premature Birth Report Cards


Dr. Sanjiv Kaul first in Oregon to receive prestigious national cardiology award

Congratulations to Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., Director of the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute, who received the American Heart Association’s highest clinical honor, the James B. Herrick Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cardiology.Cardio-9456

Dr. Kaul is the only cardiologist in Oregon to receive this distinction.

He was recognized “in grateful recognition of his highly significant discoveries expanding the field of cardiovascular diagnostic imaging and greatly enhancing the care of patients with heart and blood vessel disease,” according to the American Heart Association.

Dr. Kaul is known for developing a better way to detect heart attacks through Myocardial Contrast Echocardiography (MCE).

In MCE, doctors inject tiny bubbles the size of red blood cells into your veins that travel to your heart. The bubbles follow the movements of your heart and give doctors an accurate view of your heart’s blood flow.

Today more than five million people around the world have undergone MCE. It finds heart attacks other methods miss, and saves lives every day.

OHSU is one of only a few hospitals in the country using this technique.

Congratulations Dr. Kaul!

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The evolving human: Will our kids be another species?

We live very differently than our ancestors did several hundred years ago – we have more food, have indoor plumbing and are generally more clean. We also hve more scientific knowledge to combat illnesses. Three hundred years ago, almost no one with a serious nut allergy lived long enough to reproduce.

Today, despite an environment in which food allergies have increased by 50 percent in just over a decade, 17 million Americans who suffer from food allergies survive, thrive and pass their genes onto the next generation.  We are living more comfortably, and we’re living longer.

Life may seem easier, but is it safer? 

As we began using antibiotics, bathing and living a more sanitary lifestyle, the bacteria in our bodies changed, thus making humans much less diverse. Food is more readily available and far more processed and the rate of human obesity has nearly doubled in just the last 35 years.  The rate of autism rose 131 percent from 2001 to 2010.

Modern day advances have not only changed our lifestyle and lifespan but also how our brains operate. We process more information in a day than our ancestors did in a lifetime. What do all these things mean with regard to how humans and the rest of the planet will evolve?

Meet Juan Enriquez, 2015 Tanabe Address speaker 

Best-selling author Juan Enriquez doesn’t just believe we will evolve into a different species, but that we are evolving now. Evolution used to take thousands of years and could occur because of one minute change. Mr. Enriquez believes the number of large scale changes that have taken place in just the last few hundred years is speeding up the rate of human evolution.

Though changes like these may seem unsettling, we live in a time of tremendous opportunity: New advances in biotechnology help alleviate the cruel forces of natural selection, from saving premature babies to developing gene therapies for various health conditions.

If technology can help us control our genes, what’s next? Future generations could become great caretakers of the planet, as well as a more diverse, resilient and intelligent species – but only if we make the right choices now.

Join futurist Juan Enriquez at the Newmark Theatre on Wednesday, November 4, at 7 p.m. as he conducts a sweeping tour of how humans are changing the course of evolution – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

Get a sneak peek by checking out these top three Juan Enriquez talks:
Are we evolving into a different species?” (via NPR)
The life code that will reshape the future” (TED Talk)
Will our kids be a different species?” (TED Talk)

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit
Students (with ID): $10
OHSU employees (with ID): $20
General admission: $25*

*Use promo code “OHSU20″ to receive 20 percent off general admission tickets. 


About The Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Address
The Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Address was established in 2014 to offer differing perspectives on important topics. Each year a speaker is selected to bring diverse ideas to the community and encourage a free exchange of ideas.

Go Green with OHSU: Join the EcoChallenge

How does protecting the environment matter for human health? That’s something I think about a lot, along with my fellow Green Team members.

Public health and environmental protection are deeply intertwined, so it makes sense that one of the ways OHSU promotes healing is through sustainable practices.

LEEDThe Green Team is a group of employees who are committed to sustainability and the environment, and work together, many of them on a volunteer basis, to advance green initiatives at the institution.

Our members have implemented programs ranging from recycling plastics in the operating room to purchasing meat raised without added antibiotics, to the big obvious ones you can see like our energy and water efficient LEED buildings and infrastructure for public transit, biking, and walking.

Currently, we are focusing on making our sustainability agenda even more coordinated, strategic, and robust. Our goal is to help OHSU continue to promote healing throughout our region and beyond.

One way we like to show our commitment to sustainability is through the Northwest Earth Institute’s EcoChallenge. We have an OHSU team and we would love it if you joined us! For two weeks, October 15-29th, we challenge you (and ourselves) to change one habit that benefits both you and the planet.

The EcoChallenge website has many suggestions for habits to start. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • I’ll wash my clothes using cold water and air dry them.
  • I’ll disable screen savers — they use 28% more energy; I will put the computer to sleep instead.
  • I plan to check for leaks: dripping faucets can waste 20 gallons of water per day.

Remember: start small, from wherever you are, and don’t let perfect get in the way of good. Change is hard – but rewarding – and any progress helps. Thanks for all you do to protect the environment and advance public health! The OHSU Green Team salutes you.


Orly headshot (2)Orly Stampfer is the OHSU Sustainability Coordinator. Along with her fellow Green Team members, she promotes sustainable initiatives at OHSU which advance environmental health for our patients, our staff, and our larger community.

The Tragedy in Roseburg

The awful events at Umpqua Community College have profoundly affected the nation and amplify the fear and foreboding of other tragedies too close to home. The rapidity, intensity and repetitiveness with which the news about these events has been spread is symptomatic of the deep wounds inflicted by this senseless violence.

The families that have lost their children and loved ones, the traumatized friends, townspeople, police, and health care personnel are burdened with the unbearable. Others who have experienced tragic losses struggle with re-awakened pain.  And parents, sometimes overwhelmed with a sense of dread, try to reassure their children as they send them off to school while their heart’s desire is to keep them home and safe.

What can anyone do in such tragic circumstances?

Photo via

Photo via

First, we can help the victims.  

And we need to recognize that the victims of such events are not only local.  The genius of our capacity for imagination and empathy carries with it a dark side, our ability to suffer emotionally when confronted with the suffering of others. This guide, from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, can be a help to physicians dealing with patients and parents helping their children.  Those who have been more severely affected should not hesitate to ask for help.

Second, we can seek to understand. 

It helps us, in dealing with tragedy, to understand why and how it occurred. The focus we see in the media on the law enforcement investigation of the event, the search for background information on the shooter, the multiple radio and television interviews of psychiatrists and psychologists represent this deep need to understand and explain.

In part, our desire for explanation helps with a sense of control. We know from studies of the victims of disasters, abductions and assaults that people will often blame themselves rather than accept the alternative that they were actually helpless to control what happened to them. The acknowledgement of helplessness and blamelessness is essential in resolving the guilt that survivors of an attack or disaster often feel.

It is also helpful to understand that our sense of vulnerability is not an accurate reflection of objective risks.  Typically we substantially overestimate the risks of events like shootings and plane crashes while underestimating the risk events that are much commoner such as automobile accidents.  This realization can help to reestablish a sense of safety and trust in the environment.

Third, we can seek to prevent such tragedies. 

There is much to be done in this regard, some of it politically controversial, and much of it a question of societal priorities. But that is a discussion for another day. For now, we must grieve the dead, comfort the living and tend to our own emotional health.

Find additional guidance for parents on our Healthy Families blog to help children understand and process tragedy.


KeepersGeorge96Dr. George A. Keepers is a Carruthers Professor and Chair of OHSU’s Department of Psychiatry.

A healing duo: Meet Hunter and Belinda

Belinda and HunterWhen Belinda and Sean McCully went to adopt a dog, they knew Hunter was the one.

“We instinctively knew he was going to be a good dog,” Belinda said.

Hunter, a 6-year-old Labrador/hound mix, has proven to be much more than a gentle, loyal pet. He and Belinda, a Research Assistant Professor with the Division of Trauma in the Surgery Department at OHSU, team up to provide animal-assisted therapy to Cardiovascular ICU patients, families, faculty and staff.Hunter

“He’s very intuitive,” Belinda said. “This is true for a lot of animals – they go straight for a person who needs some love. He’s definitely the kind of dog who loves to please and he knows that he can help.”

Before they began volunteering, Hunter and Belinda completed a 6-week animal therapy course through Pet Partners. The course included general obedience training and various scenarios designed to demonstrate Hunter’s ability to avoid distractions and keep calm in busy environments. As Hunter’s handler, Belinda also learned how to assess situations and instruct Hunter to respond appropriately.

Belinda and Hunter volunteer every other Friday, checking in with care teams to see if there are patients who might benefit from a visit. It’s difficult to make it down a hallway without being stopped by curious visitors and staff, Belinda said. The three things she hears most often from friendly passersby are “He’s so soft,” “I love his badge!” and “Can I take him home with me?”

One of the most important kinds of support Hunter and Belinda provide for patients is a sense of normalcy for patients missing their home routines.

“The patients who really love to see him are the ones who have pets at home they can’t be with,” Belinda said.

Faculty and staff (including Sean, who is a surgical resident) also cherish their time with Hunter, often stooping down next to him for a few moments of peace with the surprisingly soft dog.

“These visits are just as beneficial for staff as they are for patients,” Belinda said. “Families, too, are able to have a few moments of relief and detach from the situation a bit.”

Seeing relief on people’s faces – even if it’s just for five minutes – makes the volunteer work well worth it.

Paying it forward on the Casey Outreach Van

I came to the United States from Korea when I was 14 years old. I did not come from a wealthy family, and frequently needed a place to stay during school breaks. When people kindly opened their homes to me, I asked how I could repay them. Their answer always was, “Help others in need when you can.”park-casey

Fast forward to 2014, when I became a resident at OHSU Casey Eye Institute. Casey’s commitment to community service was one of the reasons I was attracted to its residency program.

For example, Casey operates an outreach van that travels across Oregon to provide free dilated eye exams to medically underserved adults.

When I was given the opportunity to have an elective rotation on the Casey van, I jumped at the chance to be part of this effort.

In August, a team that included Casey outreach medical director Mitchell Brinks, M.D., M.P.H., my wife, sister, and three other volunteers spent a week traveling to three tribal health clinics in remote areas where the van had never before visited.

DSC08015Each tribal health center partnered with the Casey team and worked hard to gather event participants, organize logistics and help out with the screenings.

The team was met with enthusiasm and gratitude. One woman, when asked what the van meant to her, began to cry and said, “Tears of joy.”

Another patient considered us a godsend. Despite blurry vision, she had not seen an eye doctor in 15 years because she could not afford the cost of an eye exam or eyeglasses.

The word “godsend” means a lot to me. It reminds me of when people helped me in times of desperation. I believe they were literally sent to me by God.  And I feel very privileged that I can pay that generosity forward.

Yet many may not realize how much we gain from the experience. The van is literally a vehicle for Casey and its volunteers to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals and the health of their communities.

It’s truly an honor and privilege to be part of Casey, which has empowered me to make my dream and passion become reality!



Dong-Wouk Park, M.D., is a second-year ophthalmology resident at OHSU Casey Eye Institute.

Three Common Misconceptions about Melanoma

Former President Jimmy Carter shared recently that he is being treated for four spots of melanoma on his brain, sparking a national conversation and revealing some misconceptions that persist about melanoma.

In light of this conversation, we asked renowned melanoma researcher Dr. Sancy Leachman to dispel some of the most common myths she hears about this disease.

Myth #1: Brain cancer starts in the brain.

Fact: Often, people think that cancers that are in the brain start in the brain, but many cancers, especially melanoma, start on the skin but spread to the brain or the liver or other organs. The way that cancer kills you is through the metastasis that keeps vital organs from performing life-critical functions.

Myth #2: Men are diagnosed with melanoma more frequently than women.

Fact: Because melanoma rates are highest in men over 55, like Jimmy Carter, many people don’t realize that the rates of melanoma are increasing in young women and that melanoma is the leading cancer in women aged 26-29.

Myth #3: Sun exposure from my past doesn’t put me at risk for melanoma.

Fact: Just because sun exposure happened many years ago doesn’t mean your overall risk of developing melanoma is less, your cumulative sun damage and genetic risk (red hair, light skin, family history, etc) hasn’t changed.

Interested in helping researchers figure out how to best prevent, treat and detect melanoma? Join the new Melanoma Community Registry.


CHErFRCUYAAXaYmSancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-scientist who chairs the Department of Dermatology and is the director of the Melanoma Research Program at the Knight Cancer Institute. She is a dermatologist using basic science research and state-of-the-art technology to combat skin cancer.



Intel & OHSU Announce Collaborative Cancer Cloud at Intel Developer Forum

Each year millions of people all over the world, including more than 1 million patients in the United States, learn that they have a cancer diagnosis. Instead of going through painful chemotherapy that can kill healthy cells along with cancerous cells, what would happen if those patients were able to be treated as individuals based on their specific genome sequencing, and a precision treatment plan could be tailored specifically for their disease? And what if it could happen within 24 hours?

Today, I announced at the Intel Developer Forum that we are setting our sights on making this scenario a reality through an ambitious, open Platform-as-a-Service solution called the Collaborative Cancer Cloud.

The Collaborative Cancer Cloud is a precision medicine analytics platform that allows institutions to securely share patient genomic, imaging and clinical data for potentially lifesaving discoveries. It will enable large amounts of data from sites all around the world to be analyzed in a distributed way, while preserving the privacy and security of that patient data at each site.

The end goal is to empower researchers and doctors to help patients receive a diagnosis based on their genome and potentially arm clinicians with the data needed for a targeted treatment plan. By 2020, we envision this happening in 24 hours — All in One Day. The focus is to help cancer centers worldwide—and eventually centers for other diseases—securely share their private clinical and research data with one another to generate larger datasets to benefit research and inform the specific treatment of their individual patients.

The Rise of Precision Medicine                        

Precision medicine – taking into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles – is one of the biggest of the big data problems and is on the cusp of a remarkable transformation in medicine. We view genomics as the first wave of precision medicine, and we’re working with our partners to drive adoption of genomic sequencers, genomic appliances, and cloud-based genomic analytics. With the Collaborative Cancer Cloud, we are combining next generation Intel technologies and bio-science advancements to enable solutions that make it easier, faster, and more affordable for developers, researchers, and clinicians to understand any disease that has a genetic component, starting with Cancer.

Initially, Intel and the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) will launch the Collaborative Cancer Cloud. We expect two new institutions will be on board by 2016, addressing the critical need for larger patient pools and practitioner awareness. And from there, we can open up this federated, secure Collaborative Cancer Cloud network to dozens of others institutions—or let them create their own–to accelerate the science and the precision treatment options for clinicians to share with their patients. They can also apply it to advance personalized research in other diseases that are known to have a genetic component, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, autism, and more.

In the same timeframe, we also intend to deliver open source code contributions to ensure the broadest developer base possible is working on delivering interoperable solutions. Open sourcing this code will drive both interoperability across different clouds, and allow analytics across a broader set of data – resulting in better insights for personalized care.

A Complementary Effort

You may be asking, “Haven’t we seen efforts like this before?” There have been numerous multi-institution partnerships formed to utilize big data analytics to look for insights about cancer and its treatment. Our focus on the federation/distribution of private datasets is complementary to the exciting work that’s happening to make public data sets more accessible to research. In CCC, each partner will maintain control of its patients’ data, while the shareable cancer treatment knowledgebase grows in availability and in impact. We want to help harness the power of that data — in a way that benefits clinicians, researchers and patients with a better knowledgebase and preserves security and privacy. By securely sharing clinical and research data amongst many institutions while maintaining patient privacy, the entire research community can benefit from insights revealed in large data cohorts.

In the end, precision medicine will only be as precise as available data allows. To better understand complex diseases like cancer, the medical and technology industries must collaborate to make the growing wealth of insights resulting from secure analysis of public and private genetic datasets accessible for the patient’s benefit. And if we do, we can turn an agonizing and uncertain process for the patient into a personalized process that occurs all in one day.

We encourage you to view the links below to learn more about our work with OHSU:

OHSU’s Exacloud

Collaborative Analytics for Personalized Cancer Care

Learn more about precision medicine and genomic code research at these resources:


profile-image-display.jspaEric Dishman is the Director of Proactive Health Research at Intel Corporation. This post originally appeared on Intel’s Health & Life Sciences blog.

Why 96,000 Square Miles?

OHSU Health Fair at Pioneer Square.

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.

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