Issue 19 June 2007
The purpose of this newsletter is to share news and updates within the OHSU School of Medicine community and beyond. Please forward, copy or otherwise re-distribute this newsletter freely. Please also share with us ( your news and ideas for future editions.

  • Message from the Dean
  • Faculty Feedback
  • "Learners at Every Level" committee report
  • Faculty "exit interviews" begin in July
  • Stenzel-Poore appointed interim chair of MMI
  • HHMI grant connects SOM with local schools
  • Internal search for Associate Dean
  • Congratulations Class of 2007
  • Lockart appointed Assistant Dean
  • Viewpoint: Professionalism in medical education
  • Discovery Spotlight: Stephen Back
  • Opportunity: Healthcare Leadership for the 21st Century
  • Hersh wins Faculty Senate Teaching Award
  • Becker receives APTR award
  • Valiyaveetil selected as a Pew Scholar
  • Adamus serving on NIH study section
  • Little, Christensen named to Oregon Educators Benefits Board
  • OMPH "Outstanding Student Awards"
  • 2007 Emeritus faculty awards
  • SOM new faculty
  • June News

    Message from Dean Richardson: Mirroring Oregon's healthcare needs in our admissions process

    Greetings and welcome to the June newsletter.

    The School of Medicine's Office of Admissions has completed the challenging work of admitting next year's class. For the 120 positions in the entering MD class, the School received over 4,500 applications, a record number. I commend the effort of our faculty and staff in carefully considering this enormous amount of information.

    This year, 70 percent of the entering medical school class is Oregon residents. This is no accident. Oregonians are given preference in the admissions process because of the demonstrated linkage between where a student attends medical school or completes their residency and where he or she ends up practicing.

    As Oregon's only medical school, we have an obligation to do whatever we can to ensure that Oregonians now and in the future have access to a robust, high quality, demographically representative healthcare workforce. This is an essential aspect of both the School's strategic plan and OHSU Vision 2020.

    We have made an effort to increase the number of Oregonians in our class by restricting the number of non-residents who are considered for admission. Opportunities for Oregonians to pursue medical education have also increased as we have expanded our class size from 100 to 120 students. We are also dedicated to better capturing our goal of increasing diversity of all types - ethnic, disadvantaged, and rural, for instance - in our admissions process and related pipeline programs.

    I am pleased by this current diversity focus, by the class size and by the larger number of Oregon residents. But can we do more? How else can our admissions process mirror Oregon's healthcare needs?

    I recently was asked to submit written testimony to Oregon Senators Bates and Westlund on Senate Bill 329, also known as the "Oregon Better Health Act," - a reform proposal that may, over time, restructure healthcare finance in Oregon. The policy goal is to fix the inequitable access now ingrained in our healthcare system. The Senators asked me to respond to a specific question: how can healthcare reform policy ensure an adequate number of primary and rural physicians in Oregon?

    My comments on SB 329 focused generally on the role of provider education in healthcare reform, including a discussion of how increasing our statewide network of clinical settings for medical education in Oregon would place more students in rural communities, potentially increasing the probability they may return there to practice.

    While our School's admissions process was not explicitly part of this testimony, considering their question reinforced my thinking on the need for its continual refinement. It is clear we want to educate more Oregonian physicians, but what kind of physicians?

    For instance, the federal government designates nearly all Oregon counties as full or partial "Health Professional Shortage Areas" for primary care. If the state is in need of primary care physicians, is there a way to address this need in our admissions strategy? Alternatively, in years to come, if Oregon needs a focus on specialty medicine, can we reflect this priority?

    Our admissions process could also consider emerging delivery care models. Provider shortages are not limited to physicians, and many healthcare access issues, especially in rural areas, are likely to be addressed with a focus on interdisciplinary healthcare teams. Over time, we may want to find ways that our admissions and educational programs can strengthen team-based medicine.

    Similarly, with the increasing national focus on translational medicine and research, how will we inculcate the demand for clinician scientists into the admissions process of our graduate programs, as well as the MD/PhD and MD/MPH joint degree programs?

    Undoubtedly, these considerations present challenges, including the fact that a student committed to primary care, for example, in his or her first year may be intellectually engaged elsewhere by graduation. Graduate medical education plays a crucial role too.

    In the coming years, I look forward to transparently considering (and then reconsidering) our admissions process as one tool of many to meet both our strategic goals and the healthcare needs of Oregon.

    Best regards,

    Mark Richardson

    Faculty Feedback: Who evaluates the Dean?

    The Office of the Dean regularly receives questions and comments from faculty on a variety of topics. Last month's "Faculty Feedback" about new policies regarding required annual evaluations for all faculty elicited a follow-up question.

    Q: It is great that the evaluation system will be implemented for the performance of individual faculty members and chairpersons. But how are the upper level administrative officers evaluated, including the President, Dean, Vice President and Associate Dean, in order to judge if the school is running efficiently and is on the right track?

    A: OHSU's President and "direct reports," such as Dean Richardson and Vice Presidents, ultimately answer to the OHSU Board of Directors (appointed by the Governor, approved by the Senate; click here for more information on the Board.)

    The Dean is formally reviewed annually by the Board with input from the President in the context of the achievement of specific performance measures, goals and objectives that are, in turn, based on a combination of the goals and objectives of the University, including overall financial performance and individual departmental performance. The President is reviewed annually by the Board.

    For the past two years, this process has been augmented by "360" degree surveys for the executive team to which the Board members contribute. A 360 degree survey is used to collect feedback for an individual from multiple sources and perspectives. Targeted to all OHSU leaders, the 360 degree process uses self-assessment and feedback from subordinates, supervisors, and peers. The feedback is delivered by the employee's "manager" (in the case of the Dean, the "manager" is the President/Board) to the leader in the form of a report, which catalogs strengths and development needs. Comments and ratings made by employees delivering feedback are combined with others to help protect anonymity. The 360 degree feedback system is based on OHSU's core leadership competencies.

    Salary, incentives (bonus) payouts and/or employment status are determined based on a review of both performance measures and 360 surveys.

    The other leadership positions that you mention within the School of Medicine, such as Associate Deans, go through the same process, but would be reviewed by the Dean, or other supervisor, rather than the President/Board.

    Submit your question or comment to: Kathleen McFall, Director of Communications, SOM,

    "Learners at Every Level" committee report

    As part of the School's strategic planning process, four faculty committees were charged with articulating tasks, responsibilities and recommendations in the context of the School's strategic goals. The "Learners at Every Level" committee recently submitted its final report to the Dean.

    This committee was asked to review the state of the learning environment at OHSU. Committee members represented a cross section of learner groups including medical students, graduate students, residents, postdoctoral fellows, research faculty and regular faculty from both basic science and clinical departments.

    "The committee did an admirable job of bringing together information about the incredible variety of learning experiences at OHSU, encompassing a broad and diverse landscape that no single committee member could have evaluated alone," said Dave Dawson, PhD, committee chair.

    The report's introduction states: "The OHSU community contains many who are passionate about education and who are justifiably proud of the learning environment that has been created here. Challenges remain, however, if OHSU is to move from "Good to Great" and assume a national leadership role in medical education. Accordingly, within the enormous territory encompassed by the term "learning environment," we identify here the most obvious obstacles and propose strategies for addressing them, both short-term and long-term. In order to present the results in the context of potential action items for the SOM, we present these as problems, divided according to groups of learners; acknowledging that these groups have, in many cases, overlapping concerns."

    The report is posted on the School's strategic planning Web page, click here.

    The Learners at Every Level Committee members are: David Dawson, PhD, Chair, Donald Girard, MD, Dean's Office Liaison, Judy Bowen, MD, Miko Enomoto, MD, David Farrens, PhD, Jennifer Goldman, MD candidate, Cheryl Maslen, PhD, Andrew Ross, MD candidate, Christopher Severyn, MD, PhD candidate, Nathan Selden, MD, Robert Shapiro, PhD, Kristen Wessel, PhD, Clare Wilhelm, PhD.

    Faculty "exit interviews" begin in July

    As noted above, the School's strategic planning process charged four faculty committees with articulating tasks, responsibilities and recommendations to meet strategic goals. The Faculty Engagement Committee was charged with recommending appropriate metrics for evaluating faculty satisfaction and engagement, and to assemble innovative possibilities for increasing faculty retention.

    The committee determined that "exit interviews" were a key metric for measuring aspects of faculty satisfaction. Historically, no process has existed to conduct exit interviews. The report states: "We recognized that faculty who have left OHSU are a valuable source of information that is currently not captured. It is recommended that exit interviews be initiated by a trained Human Resources team for departing faculty and be continued for a 5-year period."

    In response, the Dean requested Human Resources to develop the needed tool, which has now been approved. Effective mid-July, the Dean's office will invite all departing faculty to participate in an exit interview.

    The process involves completing an online confidential questionnaire and/or an in-person interview. The exit interview questionnaire is structured to collect basic information about age, gender, ethnicity, rank and specialty in order to detect trends in categories of departing faculty. It also provides opportunities for faculty to comment on the reasons for departure, including questions about effectiveness of School leaders and department chairs.

    The information collected from the Exit Interviews will be compiled quarterly by Human Resources and forwarded to the Dean and Associate Dean of Faculty Development & Faculty Affairs.

    Dr. Stenzel-Poore appointed interim chair of MMI

    Mary Stenzel-Poore, PhD, Professor, has been appointed Interim Chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI).

    Dr. Stenzel-Poore obtained a PhD in Immunology from OHSU (class of 1987) and obtained additional training in Neuroscience at the Salk Institute. In 1995, she joined the School as an Assistant Professor in MMI. Her dual training in immunology and neuroscience has resulted in development of a NIH-funded research program in neuroimmunology. A primary research focus involves the role of inflammation in injury and protection of the central nervous system.

    Dr. Stenzel-Poore is also the Director of the MMI Graduate Training Program. She is a member of a study section for NINDS and heavily involved in diversity enhancement efforts, both at OHSU and as Chair of Review of Specialized Neuroscience Research Programs for under-represented minority serving institutions.

    Dr. Stenzel-Poore noted: "The future of medical research calls for new ways of inquiry that require multi-disciplinary collaboration and integration among basic scientists and pre-clinical and clinical scientists to solve challenging biomedical problems. MMI's nationally-recognized expertise in areas of pathogenesis of infection and immunity integrates well with the clinical and translational research goals of OHSU and offers great synergy for the pursuit of joint ventures as new research initiatives evolve."

    School receives HHMI grant to connect with local schools

    The School has been awarded a grant of $738,955 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Precollege Science Education Initiative for Biomedical Research Institutions. A total of 297 institutions were invited to submit proposals for the outreach grants through a competition announced last year. Thirty-two grants were awarded ranging from $529,308 to $750,000 to be distributed over a five-year period.

    The grant was awarded to Oregon Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program Director Lisa Dodson, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, as principal investigator. The goal of the grant is to develop a coherent pipeline of activities for rural and underserved/underrepresented students beginning in the third grade, which will become a continuum that carries the student through high school, into college and eventually to graduate school or professional training.

    Specifically, the funds will be used to develop a new elementary school science teacher training program cooperatively with Eastern Oregon University and Northeast Oregon AHEC, called Great Discoveries, to develop a mobile outreach van to bring OHSU research and other educational activities to our most rural and underserved communities and schools, and expand the number of rural and other underserved children served by the AHEC MedStars program.

    "These efforts are directly related to the School's goal of increasing and supporting the representation in healthcare professions of people from diverse backgrounds, including ethnic, disadvantaged, and rural," said Ella Booth, PhD, MBA, Associate Dean, Administration, Planning and Diversity Affairs for the School of Medicine.

    Internal search for Associate Dean

    The Office of the Dean is seeking internal candidates for the position of Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs. The position is open to associate or full professors and reports to the Vice Dean. A search committee will be formed soon comprised of representatives from the Dean's office and the faculty. The position is part-time; however, the exact FTE is negotiable. For a position description, candidate recommendations or expressions of interest, please contact Nicole Lockart, Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs & Administration, at lockartn@ohsu.

    Congratulations Class of 2007 and recipients of annual awards!

    Please click here for a listing of the graduates of the Class of 2007 and announcements of recipients of the School's annual awards, including the Gold-Headed Cane, Resko and Humanism awards presented at the School's Hooding Ceremony.

    Nicole Lockart appointed Assistant Dean

    Nicole Lockart has been appointed Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs & Administration in the School of Medicine. Nicole has served in a number of positions at OHSU since 1988 and has been a valued member of the Dean's staff since 1994. She is currently pursuing an MBA from Marylhurst University and will complete the program this winter term.

    Nicole will provide leadership, guidance and assistance to Chairs, Center Directors and Department Administrators on all aspects of faculty affairs, including faculty recruitment, appointments, promotions, tenure decisions, salary increases and termination. An essential element of her new role will be to enhance efforts to recruit and retain a diverse faculty to support a positive, vibrant work climate within the School of Medicine. In addition, she will oversee personnel issues; develop, implement, and enforce administrative policies and procedures for the School; and represent the School on various institution-wide committees.

    Viewpoint: Are we serious about teaching professionalism in medicine?

    A "Viewpoint" article authored by John Saultz, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Family Medicine, was published in the June 2007 issue of Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Colleges (AAMC). Dr. Saultz adds his perspective to a continuing discussion in the AAMC journal and other scholarly publications on the need to teach professionalism in medical schools. An excerpt from the AAMC abstract follows:

    "This article outlines three fundamental challenges that powerfully affect the ability to promote professionalism in students and young physicians. To overcome these challenges, the author suggests four steps that can be taken by the medical education community. First, medical schools should address cost and access to care as first-order intellectual problems and should encourage research in these areas. Second, schools should develop programs to humanize science and restore scientific integrity beyond the requirements of compliance programs. Next, medical leaders should celebrate those who best embody moral leadership in the profession. Finally, the medical education community should acknowledge that the availability of affordable health care to the public depends on the practice choices of medical school graduates and should accept greater responsibility for this outcome."

    The journal is available online to subscribers at, in the OHSU Library and copies are available by request from the SOM Director of Communications, Kathleen McFall,

    Discovery Spotlight: Stephen Back wins Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award

    Stephen A. Back, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, has been awarded a Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award (NINDS) for his pioneering work in the cellular and molecular cause(s) of brain injury in premature infants.

    "I am thrilled the NINDS continues to recognize the potential of the unique research models we have developed - some of which are not used anywhere else in the world. With the help of this long-term grant, we hope to devise therapies that can not only reverse brain damage in infants but slow cognitive decline in aging adults as well," said Dr. Back.

    Dr. Back's research looks at the mechanisms responsible for causing white matter brain injury in developing infants. The goal is to benefit three groups of children at risk for cerebral palsy (CP) and associated white matter injury: infants that survive after premature birth; full-term babies later discovered to have brain injury that occurred during pregnancy; and infants born with heart disease.

    Dr. Back and his team have shown that during human brain development there is a critical time period when the cells (oligos or oligodendrocyte progenitors) required to make myelin are easily killed by low blood flow to the brain. The loss of these oligo-cells results in failure to make the myelin required for normal brain function.

    Recently, Dr. Back's team developed the first animal model that reproduces the major forms of brain damage that occur in premature infants. This model has altered perceptions about how damage occurs to the developing white matter of the brain.

    "We previously believed that the developing brain fails to make normal myelin, because the oligo-cells that make the myelin were completely killed. Hence, it was thought that the children with CP sustain permanent abnormalities in movement and intellect," Dr. Back explained. "However, our recent studies suggest that this view may not be correct."

    Dr. Back and Lawrence Sherman, PhD, an Associate Scientist in the OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center, have discovered that after adult white matter damage, numerous oligo-cells survive, but fail to mature to make myelin. This appears related to the molecule hyaluronic acid (HA) that builds up in the damaged white matter and prevents the normal production of myelin.

    "The oligo-cells are blocked at a critical period in their cell development before they are able to make myelin. The fact that these cells appear normal and are present in large numbers in the regions of brain damage raises the possibility that we might develop therapies that allow these oligo-cells to mature and make the myelin needed to restore greater function to the damaged brain," Dr. Back said.

    Congress established the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award in 1983 in honor of Sen. Jacob Javits, who for several years battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease. Sen. Javits was a staunch advocate for research into a wide variety of brain and nervous system disorders.

    The Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award is given to scientists who have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity in one of the areas of neurological research supported by NINDS. Approximately 505 awards have been made to date. The awards typically support a researcher for several years.

    Candidates sought to attend "Healthcare Leadership for the 21st Century"

    The School is seeking faculty interested in attending the next Foundation for Medical Excellence session, "Healthcare Leadership for the 21st Century." This seminar is ideally suited for mid- to senior-level faculty members who are interested in developing expertise in the healthcare system, and represent present or future leaders in healthcare. The OHSU Hospital and OHSUMG are co-sponsoring the tuition relief along with the SOM and the faculty member's own department/division. Nominees must have the support of their chair as the department will need to help share the cost of the tuition. The Office the Dean will partner with departments in sharing the cost of tuition. To nominate a candidate or express interest, please contact Nicole Lockart at by July 10, 2007. Selected participants will be notified by July 17, 2007.

    William Hersh wins Faculty Senate Teaching Award

    William Hersh, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, received the Faculty Senate Teaching Award this year. Faculty members are recognized annually through the Faculty Senate Awards for their exceptional efforts in support of OHSU's missions. The Teaching Award recognizes a faculty member as an outstanding educator who has demonstrated a sustained and significant record of meritorious academic accomplishments. At the awards ceremony, Dr. Hersh was recognized as both an excellent teacher and an international leader in biomedical informatics education.

    Thomas Becker receives APTR F. Marian Bishop Educator of the Year Award

    Thomas Becker, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, was selected as the recipient of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) F. Marian Bishop Educator of the Year Award. Each year, APTR honors the most distinguished individuals and programs in the field of prevention and public health education. The APTR awards program is a strong tradition of the Association, and is highly regarded in the prevention and public health education community. The award is named after F. Marian Bishop, PhD, MSPH, a past-president of APTR. Dr. Becker will be presented with this award during the APTR Awards Luncheon at the APTR meeting "Teaching Prevention 2008" on February 20-23, 2008, in Austin, Texas.

    Francis Valiyaveetil selected as a Pew Scholar

    Francis I. Valiyaveetil, PhD, was selected as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Valiyaveetil is an Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, with research interests in biological chemistry. Pew Scholar grants are awarded to 20 promising researchers each year to provide financial and professional support to those who excel in their field of biomedical research.

    Grazyna Adamus invited to serve on NIH study section

    Grazyna Adamus, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Opthamology, has accepted an invitation from the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as a member of the Gene and Drug Delievery Systems Study Section for the term beginning July 1, 2007 and ending June 30, 2011.

    In this role, Dr. Adamus will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort. Dr. Adamus will review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in the designated fields of science. Members of study sections are selected on the basis of competence and achievement in their scientific discipline demonstrated by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.

    Governor appoints Alison Little, Mylia Christensen to Oregon Educators Benefits Board

    Governor Ted Kulongoski recently announced the appointments for the Oregon Educators Benefits Board, which was created this legislative session and charged with managing the health insurance purchasing pool for all school districts.

    "The creation of the Oregon Educators Benefits Board is the next step in our efforts to pool health insurance for Oregon's 198 school districts and their employees," the Governor said. "With this board, we can now begin the real work of creating a more efficient system that ensures adequate health care benefits for school employees and meaningful cost-savings for taxpayers."

    The Governor's appointments included: Mylia Christensen, Assistant Director of Operations and Planning for the Center for Evidence-based Policy, School of Medicine, as a "health policy" representative; and Alison Little, MD, Medical Director of the Drug Effectiveness Review Project for the Center for Evidence-based Policy, School of Medicine, as a "health policy" representative.

    MPH students with OMPH "Outstanding Student Awards"

    SOM students Kapuaolaokalaniakea Shannon Gellert and Erin McGregor received the 2007 OMPH awards for Community Service and Research respectively. Each received a framed certificate and $500 award in acknowledgment of her achievements. The Oregon Masters of Public Health Program (OMPH) is a consortium of OHSU, OSU, and PSU devoted to educating master's degree students in public health.

    Congratulations: 2007 Emeritus faculty awards

    Each year, members of the faculty and staff who are retiring from day-to-day participation in the teaching, research, patient care and administrative programs of the university are named emeritus members in recognition of their outstanding contributions. Those so honored in the School of Medicine for 2007 are:

    Donald Austin, MD, MPH, Professor Emeritus, Public Health & Preventive Medicine

    John Beahrs, MD, Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry

    Richard Bernard, MD, Clinical Professor, Emeritus, Family Medicine

    Douglas Bigelow, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry

    A. Sonia Buist, MD, Professor Emeritus, Medicine

    Lowell Euhus, MD, Clinical Professor Emeritus, Family Medicine

    Dorothy Hagan, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Medicine

    Michael Litt, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Molecular and Medical Genetics

    Joseph Matarazzo, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Behavioral Neuroscience

    Robert Sack, MD, Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry

    Karmen Schmidt, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Cell & Developmental Biology, and Pathology

    James H. Shore, MD, Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry

    Larry Strausbaugh, MD, Professor Emeritus, Medicine

    Lloyd Taylor, MD, Professor Emeritus, Surgery

    Donald Trunkey, MD Professor Emeritus, Surgery

    Welcome SOM new faculty

    A warm welcome to new faculty joining the School in May (in order of effective date):

    Roger Garvin, MD, Assistant Professor, Family Medicine

    Vaishall Phalke, MD, Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Radiology

    Tawna Pangborn, MSN, Instructor, Medicine