OHSU

Message from Dean Richardson: Our global community

01/01/10  Portland, OR

Dean RichardsonDear School of Medicine community:

Last Saturday, I attended a bilingual health fair during which dozens of people facing socioeconomic and cultural barriers to health care received vision, hearing, blood pressure, blood glucose and reflexes testing, as well as screening and other educational materials. Held here in Portland, our OHSU Chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association helped organize this effort, partnering with the Milagro Theatre Group. From the School of Medicine, Drs. Loriaux, Jacoby, Gupta and Nemecek, and 20 of our medical students, OHSU interpreters and other volunteers pitched in, alongside local health care and advocacy groups.

One of our MD/PhD students who helped organize the event, Dominic Siler, suggested I volunteer, and I was happy to do so. It was rewarding, and emblematic of the exceptional commitment of our students, staff and faculty to serving our community. And as we recently were tragically reminded by events in Haiti, this community extends across the globe.

The international scope of our commitment is evident in the School of Medicine response to the terrible crisis caused by the earthquake. Several of our clinical faculty members are already on the ground, including Nick Gideonse and Corinne Cohen (Family Medicine), Karen Kwong (Surgery), and Dana Braner (Pediatrics). An MD student, Corey Rood, with financial support generously donated by his fellow students in the Class of 2010, is joining a relief mission this week. Other faculty and students are readying to leave. 

However, not all of us can (or even should) travel to Haiti. But there are other ways to be supportive. For example, physicians here are picking up additional clinical duties and covering responsibilities to support their colleagues who are working in Haiti. And our students are collecting supplies and fundraising to support the work of experts in disaster response and relief efforts. As of this writing, the School of Medicine community has raised $6,770 for Partners in Health and Portland-based Mercy Corps. I am sure this does not fully capture other support efforts at the department, unit and individual level.

It is important to work together so our efforts to help Haiti are well coordinated and communicated, and so we can be as effective as possible. Please let the Office of the Dean (somdeansoffice@ohsu.edu) know what you are doing, what you have planned and, if possible, how we can help you. I also want to be sure this information is shared across the School of Medicine and OHSU. We'll post it on the School of Medicine Facebook page and please share your own ideas, activities and information there too.

I'm proud of the role all of us have in delivering health to Oregon, our region and globally. Thank you for all you do. 

Best regards,
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Mark Richardson, MD, MBA
Dean, OHSU School of Medicine