Message from Dean Richardson: Honoring our veterans community

October 30, 2013

Dean RichardsonDear School of Medicine Community:

The School of Medicine community is made up of people who are driven to serve, to put the needs of their fellow Oregonians, their students and people across the globe first and foremost. This ethos of service manifests itself through education, clinical care, research and advancement of best practices. I believe this drive may be why we feel a special kinship to the brave men and women who choose to serve in an even more fundamental, and often dangerous, way: our military.

As we draw closer to Veterans Day, Nov. 11, I am proud to say that more veterans entered our medical school educational programs this year than any time in our recent history. These students join our community with accolades and honors ranging from the Combat Medical Badge to the Purple Heart. Some of these students saw active combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, some were wounded in battle and every one of them brings a unique perspective, and a boots-on-the-ground service ethic, to their new focus in health care.

We are proud to welcome these men and women into the health and sciences professions, and embrace the value of their experiences in not only caring for all of their future patients, but bringing into our missions an experienced perspective on the health care needs of veterans themselves.

Within academic medicine, we have unique opportunities across all of our missions to advance the health and well-being of veterans. For instance, some of our clinical faculty members in the Department of Surgery provide trauma care in active duty units abroad and participate in research studies that improve this care while simultaneously educating the next generation of trauma surgeons. This amplifying impact of mission integration – in service to veterans – is in evidence across the spectrum of OHSU departments and disciplines.

As I do each November, I want to spotlight the essential relationship between OHSU and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. This important, longstanding partnership dates back to 1926 when the University of Oregon Medical School (the precursor to OHSU) donated the land on Marquam Hill for the earliest VA buildings. Nearly a century later, now connected by a magnificent "sky-bridge," both institutions – and our patients, students and faculty – continue to benefit significantly from a close geographic and intellectual partnership.

In recognition of the importance we place on the health care needs of veterans, the School of Medicine is proud to be part of Joining Forces, a multi-year national initiative intended to mobilize society to support the health and wellness of service members, veterans and their families. As part of this national initiative, during the week of November 11 to 15, the Association of American Medical Colleges will host a webinar series with national experts focused on military health issues. The series is geared to medical students, residents, and physician faculty learners. I invite you to learn more at and to share the information across your units.

Our missions are unified by a desire, and ethic, to serve, and the School of Medicine is made better by the veterans' community at OHSU – our faculty, staff, students, alumni and their families. This November, on Veterans Day and beyond, let's take the opportunity to honor those who have directly served our country in the military and their families, as well as those who provide support to these individuals and groups. To all our veterans and those who support them, I thank you for your service and contributions.

Best Regards,




Mark Richardson, M.D., MBA
Dean, OHSU School of Medicine
President, Faculty Practice Plan