Help Wanted: OHSU Hires More Than 100 New Employees Due to Federal Stimulus Funding; Additional Hires Expected

10/19/09  Portland, Ore

Oregon Health & Science University has thus far attracted $51.5 million in federal stimulus funding (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, dollars) this year. The funding has and will continue to stimulate Oregon's economy by supporting new job creation.

The funds support local businesses that provide goods and services to the university, such as construction and lab supplies. The stimulus dollars also will continue to expand research discoveries at OHSU that impact the health of all Oregonians in the form of new treatments and through increased access to cutting-edge therapies offered via clinical trials.

"So far, ARRA funds have created 116 full-time and part-time jobs at OHSU, with more hires expected in the future," said Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., president of OHSU. "As Portland's largest employer, we realize that we are a significant economic engine for the region. We are pleased that these federal funds will assist us in growing Oregon's work force and supporting other local businesses during these tough economic times."

The funds will pay for a variety of new jobs at OHSU, such as study coordinators, research assistants, lab technicians and scientists. For example, in a lab run by OHSU researcher Jennifer Loftis, Ph.D, $944,000 in stimulus funds over the next two years will support new research and result in the addition of a study coordinator, research assistant and medical lab technician. Together, the research team will work to test new methods to treat methamphetamine addiction, a serious health issue in the Northwest and at various other locations across the country.

In another lab across campus, Paul Flint, M.D., an OHSU physician/researcher and chairman of the OHSU Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, will use a portion of the $654,000 ARRA grant he received to hire a researcher/clinician who specializes in cochlear implants. The researcher, named Lina Reiss, Ph.D., is looking for new methods to improve the effectiveness of cochlear implants by preserving the limited hearing that exists prior to receiving an implant. The position is one of five in the lab that is being funded by Dr. Flint's ARRA grant. The lab will also hire a computer programmer, audiologist, lab technician and post-doctoral researcher.

To date, more than 100 research projects have been funded by ARRA funds, increasing the number of lab employees to be hired and accelerating medical advancements. Projects that have been funded with ARRA grants thus far include:

     Research aimed at restoring limb movement to stroke victims who have suffered paralysis.

     Research aimed at providing new testing tools that accelerate the time it takes a physician to diagnose leukemia.

     Studies geared toward producing wearable sensors that can assess a patient's balance and assist in the treatment of diseases that cause balance disorders, such as Parkinson's.

     Research aimed at improving the health and wellness of children and adults undergoing chemotherapy, a treatment that while often successful, causes severe sickness and exhaustion.

     Studies to accelerate the use of personalized medicine in the treatment of several diseases through high-speed analysis of the human genome to determine the best therapy for each patient. 

     A database of gene information to help researchers better understand the genetic influence of alcoholism.

     Developing new ways to study and treat brain tumors.

     Funding for a newly established regional biodefense center aimed at combating infectious disease epidemics.

     Studies aimed at improving alcohol treatment for American Indians. 

 "One of the exciting aspects of the receipt of ARRA funds is that they are allowing our investigators to explore new ideas and technologies," added Dan Dorsa, Ph.D., vice president for research at OHSU.  "These funds aren't just creating temporary jobs. They are creating new careers. They are opening entirely new avenues of research, research that will accelerate discovery, and facilitate our ability to use that knowledge in the Clinical arena– ultimately improving care for Oregonians."   

About ARRA funding

The activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). More information about NIH's ARRA grant funding opportunities can be found at To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit To track all federal funds provided through the ARRA, visit