Late Career Faculty Transitions

Frequently asked questions

Icon depicting conversation about financial planning

Retirement planning

It’s never too early to start planning. 

Financial planning for instance should start very early in one’s career in order to reap maximum benefits of portfolio growth and compound interest.

Additionally, throughout your life you can develop ideas and make plans to retire to something, rather than from something, as your interests change and grow. Be curious, reach out, try new activities, make new connections, and keep notes on what appeals. Later, you may want to expand your involvement in these interests, or reach out to non-profit organizations where you can share them.

If you are a clinician, keep in mind OHSU’s Late Career Practitioner Policy, which is implemented for all practitioners age 70 and older and can be used for practitioners under the age of 70 for reasonable cause. As a component of re-credentialing after age 70, each practitioner will undergo every two years a minimum Clinical Excellence Core Competencies Evaluation, which involves an assessment of your clinical performance by 3 peers who are members of the medical staff. At age 75, a comprehensive history and physical exam by a selected assessor will also be required.

Your pre-retirement “preparation and planning” stage usually begins about 5 years before your anticipated retirement. During this phase you will concentrate on financial planning, and on learning more about the process of retiring.

  • Visit the Human Resources Planning for Retirement webpage
  • Read HR’s retirement checklist.
  • Attend an HR drop-in open session, or schedule a one-on-one meeting with retirement and benefit analyst Lisa Palmer.

Additionally, you may want to start thinking critically about your legacy. Is there a clinic, curriculum or lab where you made a big impact for which you would like to be remembered? Consider what you can do now to keep it strong after you retire. You might publish on your experience in an op-ed piece, present it at a departmental conference or university-wide venue, work with the Foundation to secure funding to endow the work to continue, or ask your department to host a symposium in your honor where your mentees can present their work.

There are several tools available to estimate your PERS retirement benefit. If you are a member of PERS Tier 1 or Tier 2 plan, you may log in to PERS Online Member Services to review your PERS history and create a benefit estimate. If you are a member of the PERS-sponsored OPSRP plan, you can review the details of the OPSRP plan. You may also submit an OPSRP Estimate Request to PERS.  PERS also hosts educational sessions off-campus for Tier 1/Tier 2 and OPSRP members.

For information on receiving benefits from retirement plans outside of PERS, see the "Post-Termination Withdrawals" section under the applicable retirement plan. Contact your retirement investment companies Fidelity Investments and TIAAIn addition, you can review your personal Social Security Statement online by using yourmy Social Security account.” If you don't yet have an account, it’s easy to create one through this link create one. Your online Statement gives you secure and convenient access to your earnings records.

If there is a logical internal candidate who may take over your position, consider what can you do to groom or position that person to be ready and effective. Likewise, if you have staff or lab associates whose work you admire, think about where might they land after you retire, and what you can do to better prepare them in your absence.

Emeritus is an honorary title for a retired faculty member which recognizes distinguished past service to the institution. It is conferred in writing by the Provost upon the recommendation of the Department Chair and Dean or Director and Senior Vice President for Research, and may be given to a retired faculty member of any rank. To be eligible for consideration a faculty member must have provided distinguished service to the School and the University and be retired from the University as defined by the Public Employment Retirement System(PERS) or University Pension Plan (UPP). To learn more visit Emeritus Faculty Policy 03-15-070Consider requesting that your department Chair nominate you for an Emeritus appointment.

As you are preparing your own retirement, it may be worthwhile to reach out to the OHSU Emeritus faculty group. These colleagues have navigated the processes and decision-making that you are working through, and may be willing to mentor you and share their experiences.  

In thinking about the actual timing of your retirement, you will want to consider not only finances but also health (yours and your family members'), outside opportunities, and how ready you are to let go. Many physicians and scientists identify so strongly with their work that it is difficult to imagine leaving. Reducing your effort to part-time during a transition period is one route to consider. This approach may help you to more smoothly evolve through the physical, intellectual and emotional changes that come with developing your post-retirement identity. If you will be a PERS recipient, check into the latest guidelines on retire/rehire by consulting with HR. If you are involved in clinical work, be sure to make your decision early enough that your departure does not require last-minute transfer of your clinics or call schedule to others, but can be carefully planned.

Pull out your notes on the hobbies and activities that interest you, and begin to connect with outlets to grow them. Like to hike? Consider joining a hiking group such as the Mazamas or Trails Club of Oregon. Is photography your passion? Look into groups such as Photo Club Pdx and the Portland Photographic Society. Looking for people who like to dance the tango, speak German, or sample ethnic cuisines? Search Meet Up or other similar online sites. Enjoy reading to your grandchildren? Consider volunteering to read in the children’s section of your local public library. Volunteer opportunities abound for sharing your many talents. Willamette Week’s annual Volunteer Guide offers a collection of Portland non-profits asking for you time. Many of your medical or scientific skills, such as problem-solving, teaching, and working in teams, can come in handy with these organizations, too. Check it out.

Retiring from OHSU

  1. Meet with your division director and/or department Chair to discuss plans and anticipated timing.
  2. Complete the employee termination checklist through HR.
  3. Network with peers, recent retirees and Emeritus faculty.
  4. Make arrangements to clear out your office and transport those items you want to keep to another site.

If you are 65 or older, you can enroll in premium-free Medicare Part A (hospitalization coverage) plan. Medicare requires that you enroll you enroll in Part B (outpatient coverage) within 8 months of retirement; if you miss this deadline you will likely have to pay an annual penalty with higher premiums. 

If you also receive health insurance through your spouse’s employer you may not have to enroll in Medicare Part B immediately; check with the spouse’s HR department. You may also want to choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (part C, which may include vision and dental services) and/or a Medicare prescription drug (Part D). You can get help navigating your Medicare options at no charge through Oregon’s Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) or AARP.

If you are younger than 65, OHSU offers continuation of coverage for retirees who meet the following criteria:

  1. 30 years of service at OHSU and any age
  2. 55 years of age or older with a minimum of 8 years of service at OHSU

These plans are administered by Discovery Benefits. You can learn more about these plans through the OHSU retiree benefit guide

Dental and vision plans are also available, until you are 65. 

If you have unspent funds in your FSA at the time you retire, you can elect to continue coverage through the end of the plan year through COBRA or incur eligible expenses by the end of the month in which you retire.


This is a time to focus on belonging, intellectual engagement and service to the campus or community. A survey of over 1,500 retirees identified eight specific traits that had the greatest statistical likelihood of a successful retirement. These include:

  • Planning
  • Having a positive attitude
  • Accepting change
  • Having a diverse support group of family and friends
  • Developing a set of physically and emotionally challenging activities
  • Looking after physical and emotional health
  • Having a sense of purpose
  • Having a sense of the spiritual (not necessarily religious)1

You may want to keep these in mind as you proceed through this phase of retirement.

1Adapted from Retire Right: 8 Scientifically Proven Traits You Need for a Happy, Fulfilling Retirement by Frederick T Fraunfelder, M.D. and James Gilbaugh, Jr, M.D.

Request that your name be retained on departmental newsletters and events calendars. Make plans for regular social contact with colleagues whose company you enjoyed while at OHSU. Attend annual events and lecture series such as the Symposium on Educational Excellence, Research WeekMarquam Hill Lectures and Brain Awareness lecture series. Volunteer to teach in the MD curriculum’s Clinical Skills course or the university’s Interprofessional Foundations Course.

It may be useful to connect with other, non-OHSU retirees, who are experiencing many of the same challenges and opportunities that you are. You can find people like this through volunteer work, your place of worship, your alumni association, or through shared interests. 

Consider taking or auditing a class at one of our local colleges or universities. PSU, for example, allows course audits at no charge for those over the age of 65.

Look into joining the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Eugene. This is “part of a national network of over 120 programs designed to engage seasoned adults in the continued pursuit of knowledge”, and offers a variety of lectures, courses, discussion groups, field trips and shared interest groups.

There is a host of resources to help you navigate this transition into the next phase of your life. Some to consider include:

  • “Reimagining the Self at Late-Career Transitions: How Identity Threat Influences Academic Physicians’ Retirement Considerations”. Onuyr B, Bohnen J, Wasylenki D et al. Acad Med 2015: 90: 794-801.
  • “Meeting the Late-Career Needs of Faculty Transitioning Through Retirement: One Institution’s Approach”. Acad Med 2018: 93: 435-439.
  • “Understanding the Needs and Concerns of Senior Faculty in Academic Medicine”. Stearns J, Everard K, Gjerde C et al. Acad Med 2013: 88: 1927-1933
  • Retire Right: 8 Scientifically Proven Traits You Need for a Happy, Fulfilling Retirement by Frederick T Fraunfelder, M.D. and James H. Gilbaugh, Jr, M.D.
  • Designing your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
  • The Encore Career Handbook: How to make a Living and Make a Difference in the Second Half of Life by Marci Alboher
  • Encore!  A Boomer’s Guide to Rocking your Retirement by Marilyn Watson