Core Themes Share This OHSU Content

Core Theme 1: Learning Environment

The Learning Environment core theme reflects OHSU's intention of recruiting a more diverse and inclusive community and using new technologies to improve teaching and learning. OHSU strives to engage faculty, students and clinicians in ongoing learning by creating a culture that nurtures the quest to discover new knowledge as well as the translation of that knowledge into education and practice.

This core theme was developed by a Learning Environment Core Theme Team comprised of faculty and administrators representing a broad cross section of the university. Three core theme objectives and ten indicators were identified to measure the impact:

Objective 1.1: Develop a student pipeline to meet the health needs of an increasingly diverse Oregon and nation.


1.Percentage of diverse students in OHSU programs, of total OHSU students.

2.Percentage of minority participants in STEM pipeline programs that progress to the next level of education.

3.Percentage of students completing degrees within 100 percent of usual program time.

5.Percentage of OHSU nursing BS graduates trained outside the Portland Metropolitan Area.

Rationale for Indicators:

As the only academic medical center in Oregon, OHSU strives to achieve the diversity reflected in the state today as well as anticipate demographic projections for tomorrow. A diverse workforce is needed to address the needs of increasingly complex patients and communities.  Encouraging more students to pursue sciences in high school and college, especially minority students who tend to be underrepresented, is critical to achieving improved population health in Oregon. The creation of the TLC and the increased use of simulation in the curriculum are designed to enhance learning outcomes. These indicators are accessible and meaningful measures of student learning and success. Completion rates and licensure pass rates are common metrics used to determine institutional effectiveness.

Objective 1.2: Provide a supportive learning and work environment for diverse students, faculty and staff.


1.Percentage of students that are satisfied with (i) OHSU climate for diversity and inclusion and (ii) support services.

2.Percentage of faculty and staff that are satisfied with the OHSU's climate for diversity and inclusion.

3.Percentage and distribution of diverse faculty at OHSU.

Rationale for Indicators:

Each candidate for a student, faculty or staff position chooses the offer that holds the most value to them.   Promoting a supportive learning and working environment for faculty, students and staff is critical to OHSU's continued success in recruiting the most talented, qualified and diverse people. Faculty will be asked to assess various aspects of their working environment, including research resources, collegial relationships, culture, management and policy, pay and benefits. Students will be asked about mentoring, program and faculty quality, and availability and effectiveness of academic and student support services. 

Objective 1.3: Ensure rigorous and effective programs through better coordination of review processes (institution-wide regional accreditation, specialized accreditation that certifies the quality of specific programs, institutional academic program review, and student/graduate licensure and certification).


1.Percentage of national licensing exams on which OHSU graduates met or exceeded the national pass rate on the first attempt.

2.Percentage of programs with student learning outcomes, assessment plans and assessment evidence used to improve programs.

3.Percentage of programs with specialized accreditation reviews that do not have citations/requirements.

Rationale for Indicators:

The quality reviews provided through the specialized accreditation, institutional accreditation and institutional program reviews will be better coordinated at the institutional level to improve communication and facilitate integrated planning and budgeting to support continuous improvement.

Core Theme 2: Interprofessional Education

Over the last decade, faculty within each health profession have recognized the need to change learning and practice conditions. The Institute of Medicine directed faculty, student and staff learners to develop additional skills related to working effectively, developing cultural competency and implementing system-based quality improvements. The goal is for learning to cross and connect organizational boundaries.

A team of faculty and administrators representing a broad cross section of the university developed the Interprofessional Education core theme. To measure the progress toward implementation of interprofessional education curriculum, one core theme objective and two indicators were identified:

Objective 2.1: Promote an institutional culture and infrastructure that enhances interprofessional health education.


1.Proportion of schools or programs that have adopted common academic calendar by 2013.

2.Proportion of identified interprofessional curricular activities being delivered to students.

Rationale for Indicators:

With professional accrediting bodies in health professions increasing their expectations for interprofessional education as part of discipline-specific learning experiences and the public's expectations for safe and effective care, interprofessional education is an essential direction for OHSU to undertake. For example, by fall 2013 the 13 different academic calendars will be replaced with 1 academic calendar. The new Collaborative Life Sciences Building will include more dedicated simulation space and interlinked facilities to provide shared locations for multiple disciplines. Transportation linking all the campuses, buildings and structures will advance opportunities for collaborative research.

These indicators are developmental and attainment of these will be quick and efficient, which will result in developing measures of learning outcomes for interprofessional education.

Core Theme 3: Clinical and Translational Research

As Oregon's only academic health center, OHSU has a unique role in the region with substantial clinical and patient resources, a large educational program, and a vigorous research portfolio. In FY 2011 more than 1,500 OHSU scientists are working on 4,100 basic, clinical, translational and applied research projects.

OHSU includes multiple departments, research centers and institutes that form the foundation of a diverse and vital research enterprise. A partial listing of these entities includes the four schools; Vollum Institute; Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute; Knight Cancer Institute; Oregon National Primate Research Center; Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology; Child Development and Rehabilitation Center; Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction; Oregon Rural Practice-Based Research Network; Institute of Environmental Health; OHSU Hospital and Clinics; Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence; and Oregon Center for Health Systems and Effectiveness Research, a new venture between OHSU and the State of Oregon to align health systems research (which is represented in a core theme).

Translational research at OHSU occurs within all of these entities, and is characterized by a strong and vibrant scientific community; a vigorous research portfolio with rapid growth of funding; high value on collaboration among researchers and comparatively low barriers to intra-institutional research; recent expansion of physical facilities for research; and institutional research infrastructure, including well established educational training programs in translational research methods. OHSU has a long and successful history of collaborating with local, state, and regional partners to advance the research agenda, including extensive outreach into the community.The research portfolio spans the translational spectrum, from basic science investigations, through clinical research, early phase therapeutic trials, population-based studies, and finally to health systems research.

A team of faculty and administrators representing a broad cross-section of the university developed the Clinical and Translational Reserach core theme. To measure the progress toward the clinical and translational research core theme, the university identified two core theme objectives and eight indicators as follows:

Objective 3.1:

Promote research career development to provide "career ready" in biomedical science workforce.  


1.Annual success rates for Career Development Awards' (K Awards) applications to the National Institutes of Health.

2.Number of faculty, trainees and students that complete clinical and translational research training.

3.Percentage of OHSU graduates and trainees currently employed by industry sector.

Objective 3.2:

Maintain OHSU's prominence as a research university.


1.Total sponsored project revenue in a given year.

2.Average annual sponsored project revenue per faculty with OHSU "Principal Investigator" status.

3.Proportion of total sponsored projects that involve faculty from two or more departments/units.

4.Proportion of sponsored projects focusing on clinical and translational research.

5.Number of new inventions disclosed in a given year.

Rationale for Indicators:

OHSU currently tracks the majority of these indicators.These trusted indicators are accessible and meaningful for determining OHSU's impact on the development of a workforce with clinical and translational research competencies. Development of systems to track research publication and career outcomes of OHSU graduates/trainees will need to be developed.

Core Theme 4: Health Systems and Health Policy Leadership

OHSU aspires to be the innovation leader in health care reform in the state. The education mission is inextricably linked with OHSU’s clinical care operations. The clinical setting is a critical part of the learning environment at OHSU, and all clinical operations provide essential financial support for all of OHSU’s operations. At the heart of current healthcare reform efforts is the pursuit of (i) increased population health, (ii) enhanced person-centered care, and (iii) reduced per capita healthcare costs. Only by achieving all three of these objectives can genuine improvements be realized in our health care system.

A team of faculty and administrators representing a broad cross-section of the university developed the Health Systems and Health Policy Leadership core theme. To measure the progress toward thehealth system and health policy leadership core theme, the university identified two core theme objectives and three indicators as follows:

Objective 4.1:

Ensure all OHSU students gain knowledge about population health and health policy.


1.Proportion of graduating healthcare professional students who participated in formal activities to enhance understanding of population health and health policy.

Objective 4.2:

Bridge academic research, health policy and community practice to improve public health.


1.Proportion of funds for sponsored projects, specifically focusing on health science research or evidence-based policy, of the total OHSU sponsored project revenues in a given year.

2.Perception of Oregonians regarding OHSU's (i) partnering with others to improve health and well-being of the state's citizens and (ii) leading discussions on health care issues or health reform.

Rationale for Indicators:

With so many regulatory complications and unknowns facing today's health care providers and the providers of the future, it is imperative that OHSU's graduates understand the important issues and interests in the health policy arena. In addition to the health policy environment, OHSU's clinical settings represent opportunities for health care practitioners, scientists and students to learn from one another and further the university-wide value of working together. Improving quality and safety outcomes is linked to health care providers working together, standardizing routines, developing checklists and fulfilling their unique role on the team. All have systems in place for data collection. The expectation that all graduates have an understanding of health systems and health policy requires the development of university-level learning outcomes and specifications of how students fulfill the requirement which can be assessed.