Reports Detailing the Economic Benefits of Medical Research Unveiled During OHSU Symposium

06/26/00    Portland, Ore.

Media Alert


Funding First symposium hosted by Oregon Health Sciences University


Former U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield and OHSU President Peter Kohler, M.D., will host the symposium. Hatfield, a longtime supporter of medical research and Oregon's only medical school, serves as chairman of Funding First. Kohler serves on the executive committee of the organization. Portland State University economics professor Rajiv Sharma, Ph.D., will present a report detailing the economic impacts of medical research in the Northwest.


Tuesday, June 27, 1 - 3:45 p.m.


Hilton Hotel, 921 S.W. 6th Ave., Portland

Funding First, an initiative in support of medical research funded by the Mary Woodard Lasker Charitable Trust, releases two important reports detailing the economic benefits of medical research. The first report, called "Exceptional Returns: The Economic Value of America's Investment in Medical Research," attempts to economically quantify the benefits of medical research in terms of longer life and increased quality of life. The complete study can be viewed on the Web at

The second study, which was written by three regional economics professors, details the financial benefits of medical advancements in the Northwest. Rajiv Sharma of Portland State University, Robert Rosenman of Washington State University and James P. Ziliak of the University of Oregon wrote the report that focuses on the rewards of medical research conducted in Washington and Oregon.

The regional report found the following:

  • Increases in life expectancy between 1970 and 1990 benefited the state of Washington more than $55 billion per year. In Oregon, the yearly benefit was more than $24 billion.
  • The life expectancy gains from heart disease advancements alone were worth $26 billion annually to Washington and $9 billion annually to Oregon between 1970 and 1990.
  • In regard to the benefits of future advancements, medical breakthroughs that eliminated deaths from cancer would be worth $1.2 trillion in Washington and $574 billion in Oregon.

Sharma will present the complete report during Tuesday's symposium. Copies of the data also will be available.

Editors: Please contact Jim Newman in University News and Publications if you are planning to attend the symposium.