The First 100 Days With Center Director Aaron B Caughey, M.D., Ph.D.

Aaron B Caughey

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I write to you on my hundredth day as Chair of the OHSU School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and as Director of the Center for Women’s Health at OHSU. During this period, Oregon and the nation have faced a number of changes and challenges. I was struck by one of them – the Gulf of Mexico oil spill – because it so movingly demonstrates that even the most sophisticated technologies can fail. Over the summer, we watched as millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf as we stood by helpless, victims of a technology that we created but could not repair. But it was inspiring that we persisted and prevailed to solve this problem – an example of the eventual triumph of the human spirit.

It is exactly this kind of passionate commitment to mission that I believe uniquely positions OHSU to significantly improve women’s health, education and research across Oregon and beyond. After listening to you during these first 100 days, I am confident that the people of this Center and Department – in close collaboration with all of our partners, including our friends and supporters – can help shape the future of human health.

Among the many exceptional assets I have observed, two in particular bolster my confidence. One is that we have the best and brightest people forging ahead to accomplish our vision. Over the past four months, I have had the opportunity to interact with committed, passionate, and skilled individuals who make up our Department and Center. They include:

  • Faculty who are inspiring educators, innovative scientists and artful healers;
  • Dedicated and gifted staff who are passionate about our missions;
  • Creative students, residents and postdoctoral scholars who are brimming with great potential;
  • Visionary friends, donors and volunteers who are supportive and breathtakingly generous.

The other key asset is our dedication to the core missions of clinical care, education, research and outreach to our communities. It is this dedication that leads to the extraordinary efforts and success in our Department and Center.

Based on what I have observed and the feedback I have received from you and others in our broader OHSU and Oregon community about our opportunities, challenges and needs, I believe there are key areas in which we need to focus our attention over the near future:

People – We must ensure that we provide a nurturing environment that will allow for the best development of faculty and staff so that they can make the biggest impact on women’s health.
Outreach – We have achieved success in all of our missions of clinical care, education and research, but the key going forward is how we can best export our capabilities across the state. How do we truly become a Center without walls?

Resources – At a time when resources are becoming scarcer, we want to do more. Thus, we need to be strategic about how we expend resources and how we partner with others to garner greater resources to accomplish our goals.

Finally, to create a shared vision for our future with clearly articulated goals, and to address many of the issues outlined above, we will be embarking on a series of strategic planning sessions throughout the winter and spring. Our goal in this undertaking is to engage the broader OHSU community (faculty, staff, trainees, and external partners) to develop a comprehensive, integrated strategic plan based on academic and healthcare priorities.

I would like to thank all of you for welcoming me and my family so warmly, in so many ways – sharing your thoughts at meetings, sending me notes, and attending numerous functions. I am thrilled to be part of this remarkable community. I look forward to continuing the dialogue and to working with you as we, together shape the future and improve women’s health.


Aaron B. Caughey, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chair,
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Julie Neupert Stott Director, OHSU Center for
Women’s Health

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