Message from Dean Richardson: An October to Remember

Dean Richardson

10/25/11  Portland, OR

Dear School of Medicine Community:
Two events occurred this October and while they were very different in form, they both were important milestones on our journey to becoming a 21st century medical school.

First: the groundbreaking ceremony for the OUS/OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building. On the morning of October 13, a huge white tent was raised on the South Waterfront and we gathered to sink a shovel into the ground where the future Collaborative Life Sciences Building will be constructed.

Second: the launch of the School of Medicine Research Roadmap. On October 24, a group of senior faculty research leaders gathered in the Vey Conference Room at Doernbecher to discuss the Research Roadmap. There were no shovels, reporters or security, but the event was also important.

The Collaborative Life Sciences Building is the result of a unique partnership between state and local government, philanthropists, and three academic institutions – OHSU, PSU and OSU. The building is a physical commitment to our goals for transprofessional education and team-based science that will transform health care. The design of the building reflects our emphasis on collaboration with open educational spaces and research labs that encourage connectivity.

At the groundbreaking, Governor John Kitzhaber commended the partnerships underlying the building, and briefly reminisced about his time as a medical student at OHSU – including a few naps during pathology lectures. Brian Garvey, a third-year medical student, spoke about the importance of transprofessional education to his future as a family physician. President Robertson introduced Carol Lewis, speaking on behalf of the Schnitzer family who generously donated the land to OHSU. She movingly recalled memories of her family, and told everyone how proud her grandfather – who came to this country from Russia – would be to know that this land was now being used for education.

At the Research Roadmap launch, the atmosphere was decidedly less ceremonial. The Collaborative Research Leadership Group – about 50 research leaders from across OHSU and representing all School of Medicine departments, centers, institutes and other units – gathered to celebrate and discuss the five-year strategic plan for the School of Medicine research mission.

The Research Roadmap is the result of a year of planning and reflects the insights, knowledge and innovation of our faculty. It’s a balanced and long-term framework designed to facilitate the organization and administration of research, and to help guide resource allocation. Further, the inclusive planning process embraced by the Collaborative Research Leadership Group establishes a model for how we can work together in all our missions to identify the best ways to meet our collective goals for excellence.

The external landscape for OHSU and other academic health centers is changing, and scientific and public policy priorities for research funding are evolving rapidly. Health care reform – necessary to improve access and care delivery – demands a reconsideration of how we are organized to deliver care. Our educational curricula and models are also undergoing a parallel transformation.

Our future success in this evolving environment depends on collaboration and partnership. These attributes are at the heart of both the Collaborative Life Sciences Building and the School of Medicine Research Roadmap – and are evidence that together we are creating a strong and exciting future.


Best Regards,

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson, MD, MBA
Dean, OHSU School of Medicine
President, Faculty Practice Plan