panorama of OHSU buildings

OHSU is committed to developing business relationships that encourage affirmative action and the participation of emerging small businesses and businesses owned by women and minorities.  OHSU encourages and supports the development of minority business enterprises, women business enterprises, and emerging small businesses that meet high quality standards by offering business opportunities available through OHSU contracts.  No potential OHSU contractor, supplier, or vendor shall be precluded from consideration, or shall themselves discriminate, based on race, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.

OHSU’s mission is to:

  • Educate tomorrow's health professionals, scientists, engineers and managers in top-tier programs that prepare them for a lifetime of learning, leadership and contribution.
  • Explore new basic, clinical and applied research frontiers in health and biomedical sciences, environmental and biomedical engineering and information sciences and translate these discoveries, wherever possible, into applications in the health and commercial sectors.
  • Deliver excellence in health care, emphasizing the creation and implementation of new knowledge and cutting-edge technologies.
  • Lead and advocate for programs that improve health for all Oregonians, and extend OHSU's education, research and health care missions through community service, partnerships and outreach.

OHSU is the largest research institution in Oregon. Approximately 2,500 medical, dental, nursing, science and engineering, allied health students are enrolled at OHSU, with another 1,000 people in training programs. OHSU employs approximately 12,600 people, making it the largest employer in Portland and the third largest in Oregon.  OHSU traces its origins to the formation in 1887 of the University of Oregon Medical School, one of the oldest medical schools west of the Mississippi River. OHSU was established as a freestanding academic health sciences university in 1974 when the Oregon Legislature mandated the combination of the University of Oregon Medical School, University of Oregon School of Dentistry, and University of Oregon School of Nursing. When it was established, OHSU also included OHSU Hospital, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center. At that time, OHSU was one of eight units within the Oregon University System and was governed by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. Since 1974, OHSU has grown to include several research institutes, several smaller research and clinical centers, a number of allied health training programs, and a series of multi-disciplinary units.

In 1995, OHSU became an independent public corporation, and its governance became vested in the OHSU Board of Directors. As a public body, OHSU retains close ties to the State.  The OHSU Board is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. In addition, that portion of the OHSU budget that comes from the state general fund ($43 million in 2007) appropriation must be submitted to the Legislature through a budget request to the State Department of Administrative Services, which is the same process as with public agency requests.

OHSU’s 116-acre main campus, the Marquam Hill campus, is located immediately south of downtown Portland. Approximately 70 acres of the campus currently are developed.  OHSU’s 263-acre West Campus in Hillsboro includes the OGI School of Science & Engineering, the Oregon National Primate Research Center, the Neurological Sciences Institute and the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute.  In 2002, OHSU, in collaboration with several other entities, purchased approximately eight acres along the Willamette River in Portland to be OHSU’s next area of growth. Construction of the 400,000 square foot Center for Health and Healing is complete on the first portion of the South Waterfront Central District to house physician practices, outpatient surgery, a wellness center, research labs, and educational space.  A streetcar and passenger rail line service the area as well as an aerial tram that transports passengers to and from the top of Marquam Hill. In 2004 the Schnitzer family donated a 20-acre parcel of riverside property that will allow OHSU to build a future educational campus just north of the South Waterfront Campus. OHSU’s School of Nursing also operates campuses in Ashland, Klamath Falls, Monmouth and LaGrande, OR.

A 10-member Board of Directors governs OHSU. The President of OHSU serves as an ex officio voting member, and the nine members must include one non-student member of the Board of Higher Education; seven individuals who have experience in areas related to OHSU’s missions or that are important to the success of OHSU; and one OHSU student. Except for the President, the term of each non-student member is four years and the term of each student member is two years. Each member is eligible for reappointment for one additional term. In addition, the Board of Directors has delegated authority for certain health system matters to the University Health System Board of Directors which also acts in an advisory capacity to the University Board of Directors.  The University Health System is composed of University Hospital, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, clinical operations of the School of Medicine, and the OHSU Medical Group.