Dr. Loriaux stepping down as chair of Department of Medicine

August 2, 2012

Dr. LoriauxDean Richardson to name committee for national chair search

D. Lynn Loriaux, M.D., Ph.D., will step down as chair of the Department of Medicine effective Aug. 1, and will serve as interim chair until a new chair is appointed.

Dr. Loriaux has served as chair since 1994 and is among the longest-serving chairs of Departments of Medicine in the nation. Dr. Loriaux is stepping down because he believes that the faculty and programs of the Department of Medicine – the largest department in the School of Medicine – will benefit both from a change in leadership as well as an internal review and strategic repositioning of the department itself. He will remain as interim chair to help guide that transition.

The Department of Medicine has about 260 primary faculty members and 11 divisions, along with more than 300 affiliate community faculty members.

“I love this department and enjoy being chair. It’s a great job. However, there are big changes going on in all of our mission areas, not the least of which is health care reform. As our institution evolves and grows into this new era, it’s imperative that the largest department in the School of Medicine is organized most effectively to thrive and lead within OHSU and in Oregon in this changed landscape,” said Dr. Loriaux. “The time is right to hand the reins to someone else.”

Dean Mark Richardson will, in due course, appoint a search committee for a new chair. Before this, Dean Richardson will convene an internal review of the department which will include input from faculty, staff, residents and others to develop information needed to plan for continued long-term success in the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Loriaux joined OHSU in 1990 as head of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetesand Clinical Nutrition. He came to OHSU from the National Institutes of Health after a twenty year tenure there that began as a clinical associate in the National Cancer Institute and ended as senior investigator and Chief of the Developmental Endocrinology Branch and clinical director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. When he left the NIH, he had 350 peer reviewed publications and his group was credited with the discovery of five new endocrine diseases and new treatments for a number of endocrine disorders.

Dr. Loriaux was appointed to chair of the Department of Medicine in 1994. The charge to him was to energize translational research in the department, to improve and enhance the teaching activities of the department in student and resident education, and to improve the quality of care provided to hospitalized department of medicine patients.

Under his leadership, the department grew from 52 faculty members to its current size, with a parallel growth in clinical activity and research awards. In 2011, the department received about $30 million in research awards, the largest amount per department within the School of Medicine and second in size only to the Oregon National Primate Research Center within OHSU. Currently more than 200 residents and fellows are housed within the department’s educational programs, and its faculty members are deeply involved in all aspects of the School of Medicine education programs. The Department of Medicine provides about 25 percent of all the teaching hours received by OHSU medical students from matriculation to graduation. Quality issues associated with hospitalized general medicine patients were addressed with the creation a hospitalist program within the department, arguably the first in the nation. The impact of that initiative, locally and nationally, was significant as numerous similar programs have since been created around the country.

As interim chair, Dr. Loriaux will continue leading the department until a successor is named. During this transition period, Dr. Loriaux intends to gradually expand his already-significant involvement in teaching, with an added focus on the history of medicine as part of a larger “Humanities in Medicine” course, and on curriculum transformation. He will also continue to serve as head of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition.

“Lynn has provided strong leadership in the Department of Medicine for nearly two decades, during an era in which our school changed considerably, growing from a successful state school into one that is nationally ranked across all our missions,” said Dean Richardson. “I am grateful to Lynn for both his years of leadership and for the fact that this transition plan ensures that OHSU has ready access to his expertise, experience and wisdom.”


Pictured: Dr. Loriaux on rounds with medical students