Cancer Specialist Selected As New Physician Leader for Doernbecher Children's Hospital

07/15/04    Portland, Ore.

Several new changes in leadership help build on Doernbecher's expertise

OHSU recently named F. Leonard Johnson, M.D., chairman of pediatrics at the OHSU School of Medicine and physician in chief at Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

Highly regarded for his work as a pediatric cancer specialist, Johnson came to OHSU from the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1995.

"Dr. Johnson is extremely accomplished in every aspect of OHSU's mission, including teaching, research and patient care," said Joseph Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the OHSU School of Medicine. "Over the past two years he has demonstrated great proficiencies in managing the Department of Pediatrics as its interim chairman, and he is an outstanding spokesman for us in communicating with the community."

Johnson is determined to see Doernbecher continue to advance on all fronts.

"I want Doernbecher Children's Hospital to always be synonymous with the very best care possible for a sick child," he said. "I also want to be sure the community understands that we have an essential mission in training physicians, nurses and other pediatric professionals, that we're doing cutting-edge research that's vital to future care for children, and that we'll always be unflagging advocates for children and their families."

With nationally recognized programs in pediatric heart surgery, neurosurgery and cancer, Doernbecher cares for nearly 40,000 patients a year from Oregon, southwest Washington and beyond.

"We're not only a local hospital," Johnson added, "we're also committed to assuming an ever increasing role as a leader in pediatric health care nationally and to advancing children's health worldwide through our accomplishments in research and care."

Johnson earned his medical degree from the University of Sydney. He trained in pediatrics at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Sydney, and then he undertook specialized training in pediatric hematology/oncology at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the University of Washington in Seattle.

New medical director of Kenneth W. Ford Northwest Children's Cancer Center named
Johnson recently appointed H. Stacy Nicholson, M.D., M.P.H., as the new medical director for the Kenneth W. Ford Northwest Children's Cancer Center and head of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Nicholson founded Doernbecher's Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program soon after he arrived at OHSU in 1997. In 2002 he was instrumental in helping The Children's Oncology Group select Doernbecher's hematology/oncology division as one of only 20 pediatric cancer programs in the United States to perform Phase I clinical trails.

"We've only scratched the surface in terms of our potential as a pediatric hematology/oncology program," said Nicholson, professor of pediatrics (pediatric hematology/oncology) in the OHSU School of Medicine. "We have a superb group of clinical investigators and nurses as well as tremendous community support. We plan to increase the number of clinical trials and services that we offer our patients, and we plan to recruit several additional physician-scientists to study the causes and treatment of childhood cancers."

Nicholson serves as program leader of the OHSU Cancer Institutes Cancer Prevention and Control Program and co-director of Doernbecher's Comprehensive Brain Tumor clinic. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia, he trained in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and then he pursued additional training in cancer epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute. His research interests include late complications of therapy and quality of life in survivors of childhood cancer, treatments for children with brain tumors and the development of new therapies for children with cancer.

New head of pediatric gastroenterology named as well
Johnson has also appointed Glenn R. Gourley, M.D., head of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

"Our plan in the OHSU Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology is to increase in size to be able to provide more clinical service and research opportunities while continuing our commitment to training health care professionals," said Gourley, a professor of pediatrics in the OHSU School of Medicine. "As we continue to grow we aim to provide faster access for pediatric GI medical care and to support new research endeavors -- both clinical research and basic science research - in such areas as inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease and proteomics."

Gourley's own research concerns neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, involving jaundice in babies. A 1976 graduate of the Stanford School of Medicine, he has been the co-recipient of three patents in the past eight years and is a member of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition, the American Gastroenterological Association and the Society for Pediatric Research.

The pediatric gastroenterology staff at Doernbecher offers consultation, diagnostic evaluation and treatment for infants and children with gastrointestinal problems such as chronic diarrhea, chronic abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, vomiting and pediatric liver disease, including pre- and post-transplant evaluations.

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