Community Connections Winter 2012

All Oregon communities share the common desire to have access to the best available health care and health education.

OHSU helps by providing care to the underserved, extending the reach of health care, engaging in research vital to public and community health issues, and sharing the latest in medical advances.

OHSU hope to learn how it can connect with your community to improve the health of all Oregonians and provide learning opportunities to people who are interested in careers in health and science.

Stay in touch

Share your OHSU connection by sending a note to .

Sign up to receive the Community Connections newsletter in your email inbox.


Beam me in, doctor 

Six-year-old Ivan Bugarin was in good hands at his local hospital. But he developed complications and Ivan’s doctors felt he needed specialized care beyond what was available near his home in Central Point. Fortunately for Ivan and his family, he was being cared for at Rogue Valley Medical Center, a hospital in the OHSU Telemedicine Network.  The network uses cutting-edge videoconferencing technology to provide critical care consultations to hospitals around the state.

“Ivan developed serious complications and needed specialized care, so I called my colleague at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Dr. Miles Ellenby,” said Ahan Newman, M.D., of Rogue Valley Medical Center. A mobile telemedicine videoconferencing unit was wheeled to Ivan’s bedside and Ellenby joined them online through a secure internet connection. He could see the patient, the doctor and answer the family’s questions as if he had been there. “We handled the emergency together, like we were right in the same room,” says Ellenby, medical director of the OHSU Telemedicine Network.

The network provides patients specialized medical services close to home and limits costly transfers, sparing families the time and expense of traveling to an out-of town medical center. It also eases physician shortages by providing specialized medical care where it is needed most. There are currently 12 sites in the network that have access to pediatric intensive care specialists, neonatologists, stroke neurologists, neurosurgeons, trauma surgeons, psychiatrists and other specialists.

Back to top

In a Box program

What did you say was in the box?

We’ve all heard of Jack in the box and lunch in a box, but ears? Guts? How about a brain? It may sound kind of creepy to you, but if you’re like most fourth through eighth graders, a box like that can be a pretty wonderful thing.

Teachers tend to agree. The self-contained kits made available through the In-A-Box program at OHSU provide useful tools for teachers to help their students explore careers in health and science, and learn more about the body and the environment. Upon request, a local scientist will visit the classroom to share first-hand what a career in research can be like.

“For me, the In-a-Box program is the most rewarding part of my job. The boxes are wildly popular and I receive requests from people all over, even from England. Last summer we sent 92 boxes to Anchorage, Alaska alone,” said Shera Felde, the program’s education director.  “What the out-of-staters want to know is ‘can I get anything like this in my state?’”

The In-A-Box program was created by Felde along with others at OHSU and the Area Health Education Centers, and is currently funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  Through this program teachers throughout Oregon can borrow the boxes, free-of-charge. And borrow them they do. Over and over.

The kits include hands-on activities, models and technology, books, videos and many other teacher resources. The boxes that go out-of-state must be purchased.

Find out more about the In-A-Box program, or contact .

Back to top

Have knowledge, will travel

Have knowledge will travel

They hit the road from Roseburg and carpooled from Corvallis. Still others traveled from Vernonia, Dallas, Winston and many other locales. They all were savvy middle schoolers, and they converged at OHSU in November. The reason for the trek: a yearning for knowledge, and an opportunity at the state's only health and science university.

The program that brought them to Portland is hosted by the Area Health Education Centers to nurture students who have an interest in careers in health and science. It also allows OHSU professionals and students to share their excitement and passion for the work they do with young people who may be tomorrow's health care providers and scientific leaders.

Jessica Scott, a first-year medical student at OHSU, was happy to help out. "I volunteer because it's just so helpful to the students. I wish there had been something like this around when I was in middle and high school."

While at OHSU, students perform virtual surgery, tie sutures, hear about organ donation and much more. The hands-on workshops at the university are followed by a trip to OMSI to see the BODY WORLDS & The Brain exhibit to learn more about the human anatomy and the brain in particular.

Students from local high schools also participated in similar visits to OHSU and OMSI throughout November, December and January. These learning engagements were made possible through OHSU's Discover OHSU! program, hosted by the OHSU Office of Science Education Opportunities.

Back to top


Donn Spight, M.D., director of the OHSU VirtuOHSU Program, shares his knowledge with Jr. MedStars students who were visiting OHSU from around the state. Jr. MedStars, a collaboration between OHSU and Area Health Education Centers, encourages youths interested in careers in health and science to further their education in those fields.

Back to top

Karina Squire and Nancy Findholt, Ph.D.

Extending education opportunities

As she considered nursing schools, Karina Squire knew she wanted an education that best matched her goals. She was pleased to find that education in La Grande, her husband's hometown. Squire could attend Eastern Oregon University and receive the same bachelor's curriculum that OHSU offers in Portland, 200 miles away.

Because OHSU partners with colleges throughout Oregon, nursing students like Squire are able to continue their education near the community in which they live or want to practice. The Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education offers a shared nursing curriculum taught around the state at eight community colleges and OHSU's five nursing campuses in Ashland, La Grande, Klamath Falls, Monmouth and Portland.

While still in school, Squire was able to care for the aging patients for whom more nurses will be needed. She spent time as a volunteer in a hospice project and intends to focus on family medicine. The experience fit her plans and the consortium's vision.

You can learn more about OHSU's vision for nursing in Oregon online.

Squire is pictured with Nancy Findholt, Ph.D. (right), an associate professor in the School of Nursing at the OHSU Eastern Oregon University campus.

Back to top


Considering the brain

Are criminals' brains different from everyone else's? Can you learn to prevent Alzheimer's?

The 2012 Brain Awareness Lecture Series explores the ethics behind the latest findings in neuroscience, and shares information that may help stave off Alzheimer's. 

The OHSU Brain Institute encourages you to consider your brain with these lectures, plus exhibits and other events during Brain Awareness Season.

Register for upcoming lectures

  • Every 70 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
    Learn how you can prevent getting it.
    February 20 at 7 p.m.
  • Are criminals' brains different from everyone else's?
    Learn the ethics behind the latest findings in neuroscience.
    February 27 at 7 p.m.
  • The BODY WORLDS & The Brain exhibit at OMSI is sponsored by the OHSU Brain Institute. OHSU doctors and scientists will be on hand to discuss the latest scientific and clinical advancements. Check the schedule to find out more.

Back to top

Statewide Care

Here's to hometown health

Oregonians have one thing in common with people everywhere. We love our hometowns. We want to be an integral part of our community. Those feelings express themselves even more deeply when we, or the people we know, become ill. OHSU understands how important that can be.

Through collaborations with other physicians and hospitals around the state, and through traveling clinics to rural areas, we help provide options for patients in their communities so they won't have to journey far from home to receive care. OHSU is present in 31 locations around the region that connect hometowns like yours with access to the care you and your community need.

Back to top


OHSU Community Connections is a quarterly newsletter. To access other stories any time about the power of teaching, healing and discovery working together, visit the OHSU Effect website.