04/18/11 Portland, Ore.
Dear School of Medicine community:
Spring has finally arrived in Oregon. As the gloom of winter is replaced by glimpses of the sun, it brings with it a sense of hope, and a reminder of what a great place Oregon is to live and work. This past month, two presentations at OHSU – one by Joe Gray, PhD, our Chair of Biomedical Engineering, and the other by Lawrence Furnstahl, OHSU’s new Chief Financial Officer – reflected these same attributes. In addition to the impressive knowledge and vision conveyed in both talks, I was struck by the sense of purpose and hopefulness despite – or perhaps because of – the era of rapid change in academic medicine that we are living through.
In his presentation to School of Medicine leaders and others across OHSU, Lawrence provided a brief background on his many years at the University of Chicago and then talked about the emerging “golden age” of biology and medicine. He likened it to other scientific revolutions such as in physics during the 20th century. His presentation focused on the need to aggressively develop new funding streams to help, in part, usher in this new era in which the knowledge explosion of the last two decades from the basic sciences will be translated into novel cures and treatments to improve human life. Together, at OHSU, we are working now to create that future.
Joe’s talk was titled Beyond Genomics: the Rationale for Spatial Systems Biomedicine. He opened by describing the motivations that brought him to OHSU from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. “I came here because of you, because of the spirit I see in this place and because I think this is the place to do something new, different and important,” he said. He focused on the scientific purpose of the new OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine and the pivotal role it will potentially play in translational research. That same week, we announced that construction was moving forward on the OUS Life Sciences Collaborative Building on the South Waterfront where the new center labs will be housed.
As I listened to both these talks, I was proud of OHSU, the School of Medicine and our faculty, staff and students. Lawrence and Joe were recently part of very prestigious universities and were well-positioned to continue their already impressive contributions to academic medicine. But they chose to come to OHSU now because of the potential they see in us to help lead academic medicine into the future.
This point about how we see ourselves is important. From the inside, during the past several years, many individuals have expressed uncertainty about change and concern for the future. But from the outside – as glimpsed by Lawrence and Joe – OHSU is seen as collegial, innovative and succeeding at building the culture and organizational infrastructure needed to help accelerate the realization of the next golden age.
I am optimistic that next decade will be very fulfilling for all of us who work so hard every day to advance our important missions. And I am also glad the sunshine has finally arrived.
Thanks for everything you do for the School of Medicine, OHSU and Oregon.
Mark Richardson, MD, MBA
Dean, OHSU School of Medicine
President, Faculty Practice Plan