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Behavioral Neuroscience celebrates 50-year anniversary Share This OHSU Content

05/27/11  Portland, Ore.

Group gatheringPast and present leaders, faculty members and staff of the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience celebrated 50 years in the School of Medicine with a half-day gathering of colleagues, alumni and guests May 20.

Looking out at the audience and recognizing past chairs and faculty members in attendance, OHSU President Joe Robertson, MD, MBA, commented on the camaraderie within the group, in part due to the leadership of Department founder and Emeritus Professor Joe Matarazzo, PhD. “I can see the history of the department here. As I look at your history it makes me smile and I expect even greater things over the next 50 years.”

Dan Dorsa PhDDan Dorsa, PhD, Vice President for Research and Senior Associate Dean for Research, School of Medicine, commended what he called “an excellent department” for its impact on the research portfolio at OHSU, which approximated $14 million in 2010 funding. Dr. Dorsa also praised Bob Hitzemann, PhD, Chair, as being “a terrific colleague” with an acute vision and sense of the research mission.

Collaboration with the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) is an important part of the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience. Mike Davey, MD, PhD, Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development at the Portland VAMC, pointed out that six of the 10 VA Career Scientist Awards have gone to faculty with appointments in Behavioral Neuroscience. “I look to Behavioral Neuroscience as a shining star,” he said. “We have selected this place as our professional home, and your department is front and center in all these contributions.”

Dr. Joe Matarazzo spoke about the establishment of the department, which was at first a freestanding division within the Department of Psychiatry and, in 1961, became the Department of Medical Psychology – the first such department in a medical school in the country. “I believe Dean [Michael] Baird would be happy with his decision to bring medical psychology to the school.”

Ruth Matarazzo, PhDChris Cunningham, PhD, Professor, relayed stories of the people pictured on the “Wall of Fame” in the hallways outside the department offices in Mackenzie Hall. The first MS degrees awarded were in 1962, and the first PhD degree was awarded in 1968. Hinting at the future, he revealed that the current field of PhD candidates likely contains the person who will receive the department’s 100th such degree…stay tuned for that milestone.

Visit the department’s website to see the full roster of speakers from the 50th anniversary celebration.

Pictured (from top): Bob Hitzemann, PhD, Chair, chats with Arthur Wiens, PhD, and Mike Davey, MD, PhD; Dan Dorsa, PhD; Ruth Matarazzo, PhD