With tremendous respect and gratitude, the Department of Surgery announces the retirement of Vice Chair of Administration Sally Rodgers, M.A., M.H.A., F.A.C.M.P.E., effective Dec. 31. Rodgers’ leadership has been pivotal to OHSU, the school and the department, spanning 14 key years of growth and expansion.
Rodgers first came to OHSU in 2006 as administrator for the Department of Neurosurgery. She accepted the position as executive director of the Department of Surgery in 2011. Supporting not only faculty and staff but myriad programs and initiatives often in the midst of economic flux, her career at OHSU has been marked by her passion for improving patient care access, processes and culture.
Among Rodgers’ earliest accomplishments was establishing a new multi-disciplinary spine center. It allowed patients to self-refer and be triaged to the least invasive care in a timely manner. During her nine years with the Department of Surgery, she worked with former Surgery Chair John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.R.C.S.(Edin.) and now Ken Azarow, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.P., to expand surgical service lines to rural communities and affiliate hospitals in Oregon and Washington. She matched that expansion with successful implementation of new programs and methodologies such as LEAN and the Meaningful Use program.
“In the decade plus she has been the department administrator for the DOS, Sally has built surgical practices throughout the region,” said Dr. Azarow. “She is the voice of reason at both the negotiating table and behind the scenes. I will be forever grateful for all that I have learned from her.”
Her work as a builder of bridges across silos is a poetic characterization of her career and alludes back to her rural start in healthcare administration in the farmlands of Iowa. It was there that Rodgers cultivated her strong sense of community and interest in serving rural populations. It’s also where she gained 20 years of experience in healthcare administration for the School of Medicine at the University of Iowa, her alma mater.
“While I have loved working in academic health care and all the complexity of supporting the business side of that enterprise, it has always been my passion to help organizations and teams of people support each other in healthy, productive and positive ways. My goal was to leave every department or company with an environment that was more compassionate, respectful, tolerant, equitable, as well as more positive and fun,” she said.
Rodgers has done that and more and leaves the entire OHSU community and healthcare system undeniably improved.
“Sally Rodgers carried the Department of Surgery through good times and difficult times, always exhibiting confidence and competence,” said Dr. Hunter, now CEO of OHSU Health. “No matter how challenging, she never lost her sense of humor, her compassion, and an ability to connect with the interests of the faculty and staff in the DOS. She will be sorely missed.”
Rodgers and her husband Bob are looking forward to this next chapter of their lives. In addition to spending more time with their children and grandchildren back in Iowa, they have already begun the process of moving to Port Angeles, Washington up in the Puget Sound for a change of scenery. She is excited to indulge in some of her favorite past times: boating, hiking with her dogs, and whale watching while welcoming many new endeavors and visitors.