Message from Dean Richardson: Power of VA partnership

Dean Mark Richardson10/30/12  Portland, Ore.

Dear School of Medicine Community::

We speak often of the role of partnership in the future and its importance to meeting our missions. Partnership is relevant at every level – between students, faculty, programs, schools, institutions, industry and beyond. We learn from each other and we share resources; a commitment to partnership amplifies and accelerates our ability to meet our missions in the innovative ways needed by 21st century society.

In this message, I want to focus on one partnership in particular – the institutional connection between the School of Medicine and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). This partnership is so deeply integrated into our organization and culture that its importance can sometimes be casually overlooked. Veterans Day falls in November, providing me with a timely opportunity to raise the profile of this collaboration.

Each year, about 1,000 students, residents and fellows participate in clinical rotations at the Portland VAMC. Many of our students frequently cite their experiences there to be among the most valuable and meaningful components of their training. Many of our clinical faculty members work jointly in the OHSU and Portland VAMC settings, providing care and support to veterans and military service members through their roles.

Scientists at the Portland VAMC help to educate the next generation of researchers as part of our school's graduate studies program. The dedication of these scientists expands the breadth and impact of our education mission, and their mentoring role ensures not only excellence in future discovery, but also ingrains an appreciation for issues associated with the health and well-being of veterans.

Investigators at the VA and OHSU collaborate on research programs to develop new treatments to improve the health of veterans and others. These initiatives cover the spectrum from those within the basic sciences seeking clues to the genetics of disease to clinical research seeking to improve field trauma response and treatments for post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The regular flow of people and knowledge back and forth across the sky bridge is both a physical and metaphorical symbol of our partnership – and it makes both institutions stronger. The relationship between the School of Medicine and the Portland VAMC is an example of the power of a mutually beneficial collaboration which successfully extends the reach of both institutions and enhances our collective impact on human health.

In recognition of Veterans Day in November, I'd like to take this opportunity to honor this partnership, as well as recognize and honor our faculty, staff, students and alumni who have served in our military, and those who provide support to these men and women.

The School of Medicine is proud to be associated with the Portland VAMC, and with each one of you, and your families. I thank you for your service and contributions.

Best Regards,

Mark Richardson

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