Message from Dean Richardson: A September to remember

September 27, 2013

Dean_Richardson_messageDear School of Medicine Community:

There's been much to celebrate this month at OHSU. The campus is buzzing as new scholarships and endowed professorships were awarded, research breakthroughs received worldwide acclaim and an inspiring initiative to turn the tables on pancreatic disease, supported by a landmark $25 million philanthropic pledge from Norman and Linda Brenden and the Colson Family Foundation, was launched. Those alone made it a September to remember, and then we received the surprise news — a generous, profoundly transformative pledge — from Phil and Penny Knight in support of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Director Brian Druker's vision to end cancer as we know it.

The momentum keeps building at OHSU. Why? We have the expertise, tenacity and collaborative spirit required to change the landscape of health. This is a sentiment that President Joe Robertson, M.D., MBA, shared eloquently during the Sept. 24 press conference associated with the Knight's $500 million philanthropic challenge and I'd like to share those remarks with you this month.

"At this moment, with the spotlight on OHSU like never before, I think some folks are wondering: why OHSU? What is it about OHSU that inspires this tremendous vote of confidence?

What Phil and Penny Knight know about OHSU that I hope the rest of the country soon learns is that we have an extraordinarily collaborative culture and a laser-like focus on innovation.

We are not afraid to take on the big health challenges of our time. This has been true at OHSU for more than fifty years – dating to Albert Starr and the Starr-Edwards heart valve in 1960.

Today, we're still taking on heart disease through the microbubble work of Sanjiv Kaul. We're taking on the need for an HIV vaccine through the work of Louis Picker. We're taking on mitochondrial disease through the work of Shoukhrat Mitalipov. We're taking on developmental origins of health and chronic disease through the work of Kent Thornburg and the Moore Institute. We're playing a major role in health care reform and proving that inter-professional education is the best method for training tomorrow's health care providers.

And of course we're taking on cancer through the work of Brian Druker – the creator of Gleevec – and many, many others too numerous to name at the Knight Cancer Institute.

If I tried to name everyone at OHSU who is making a difference, we would be here all day. But I know that in our labs there are researchers right now coming up with the next, great big idea. And you'll be hearing about them in the future.

As an institution, we have a tenacious and relentless drive to make an impact. We believe we can and will change the landscape of health. To borrow a sporting analogy: talent wins games, teamwork wins championships. We have both here – talent and teamwork. We will apply them to addressing the great health challenges of our time."

I agree wholeheartedly with Joe – what distinguishes OHSU is our tenacity to collaborate on big challenges, combined with the expertise required to change the landscape of health. This month, this extraordinary announcement – building on the hard work of all of us through the years and the vision and leadership of Brian Druker – has moved OHSU into a transformational era. This unstoppable momentum reflects the talent, innovation and collegiality that define our academic culture.

I am proud to be part of this institution and thank all of you for your contributions to our collective success.

Best Regards,

Mark Richardson

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




  • Brian Druker, M.D., Director, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute; Associate Dean for Oncology
  • Albert Starr, M.D., Co-director, OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute; Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., Co-director, OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute; Distinguished Professor and Head of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine
  • Louis Picker, M.D., Associate Director, OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute;Professor, Department of Pathology and
  • Shoukrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Oregon National Primate Research Center