What can I tell you about our Department of Surgery in 64,000 bytes or less?
When you choose a surgical program you should seek answers to these three questions: What is the quality of the faculty? Are the residents happy? Does it rain every day in the Northwest?
Quality faculty must be judged from three perspectives, clinical activity, research accomplishment, and educational commitment. The 55 University faculty and equal number of clinical faculty in community hospitals provide a diversity of clinical experience that is second to none. While it would be hard to single out our clinical strengths, there is no doubt that OHSU has received its national reputation for excellence in trauma care, vascular surgery, minimally invasive surgery, urology and we are growing new programs in rural surgery, pediatric surgery, cardiovascular surgery, plastic surgery, and surgical oncology. Complex surgery on the main campus is well balanced with high volume, high quality general surgery in our five community affiliates. The Portland VA Medical Center is one of the best in the country, a tremendous anchor to our clinical and education efforts.
Research is part of the culture. While OHSU has traditionally had a smaller research program than our competitors to the north and south along the Pacific Coast, the recent growth in NIH funding has placed OHSU #1 in the country for growth in NIH funding. New investigators, and new investigations will continue to invigorate this program. Education is the core of an academic Department of Surgery. Topic focused conferences are augmented by vibrant grand rounds, mortality and morbidity conference, and bedside teaching.
Perhaps the best barometer of the health of a Department of Surgery, is the strength of the residents. While I can’t speak for the individual residents, I get a strong sense that integration of hard, meaningful work is combined with a sense of achievement in mastering clinical skills, presenting difficult topics, and performing cutting edge research. At the end of our program, we have sent residents in all directions, approximately 50% seek additional specialty training and 50% move directly into practice, either academic or private practice.
Lastly, it is rumored that it rains every day in the Northwest. We like to keep this rumor alive because it is the only thing limiting growth in this extremely desirable part of the world. Portland is a tremendous “little” city, with cultural attractions and RESTAURANTS equal to most cities twice our size. The “small town feel” and community involvement have contributed to Portland’s being ranked as the #1 city in the country to live by several national magazines in the last year. Of course, the real beauty of Oregon is best appreciated by the outdoors person. Mt. Hood has year round skiing and snowboarding, the Columbia River Gorge is a world renowned windsurfing Mecca, and the most beautiful seacoast sunsets in America are all within a 90-minute drive of downtown Portland. For the more contemplative outdoorsman, trout, salmon, and steelhead fishing are close by, and the wildflowers on Mt. Hood fill the mountain meadows throughout the summer. (And, by the way, most of the major eastern cities receive more rainfall annually than Portland – but please don’t tell anyone).
John G. Hunter, M.D.
Mackenzie Professor and Chairman
Department of Surgery
Oregon Health & Science University