Message from Dean Richardson: Reflections on the past year

Reflections on the past year

Dean RichardsonDecember 11, 2012

Dear School of Medicine Community:

During the holiday season and with a new calendar year fast approaching, I would like to use this monthly message to reflect on our many accomplishments from 2012 and share my gratitude.

Every day, we are active across all our missions – caring for patients, educating the next generation, advancing health care through discovery and working in the community. This past year, in addition to this daily dedication, we made significant strides on several important initiatives.

Health care reform, integration of information technology and shifting funding paradigms for research are fundamentally reshaping academic medicine across all our missions, and we worked hard this past year to transform and position ourselves to thrive – and serve – within this new paradigm.

Oregon is on the forefront of this change, and in 2012, the state embarked on a pioneering health care reform experiment with the deployment of statewide coordinated care organizations, among other initiatives. OHSU strongly supported this reform process and President Joe Robertson, as a member of the Oregon Health Policy Board, played a substantial role in its development.

Many of our faculty members were – and continue to be – active in this process, contributing their expertise by serving on policy committees and helping to innovate and redesign health care systems. Most recently, the OHSU Center for Health Systems Effectiveness was awarded an NIH grant, which combined with a generous philanthropic gift from Phil and Barbara Silver, will support the evaluation of Oregon's health care transformation, enhancing OHSU's role as a national voice in health care policy and delivery system science.

This past year, as always, the discoveries of OHSU investigators made headlines around the world and contributed to the body of knowledge that improves human health and well-being. We also made considerable progress on implementing aspects of the School of Medicine Research Roadmap – our faculty-driven guide to strategically reorient the research mission to meet the health needs of the 21st century and to respond to shifting external funding trends. This included forward movement on our long-term goal of diversifying our research funding portfolio, by forging innovative new partnerships, such as with FEI.

In our education mission, we welcomed a new leader – Senior Associate Dean George Mejicano – just as we kicked off our M.D. Curriculum Transformation Initiative. In that initiative, we are boldly recasting our future against a simple, profound question: What is the role of the physician in 2032?

Our students continue to exceed our already high expectations – they are exceptional and their commitment to improving human health inspires me daily. However, my concern about individual student debt continues to grow. We are working to reverse this troubling trend. In particular, this past year, we focused intently on developing new support for scholarships and loan repayment programs. We will continue this effort in the coming year.

Our growing success at meeting the opportunities of the 21st century is reflected in exceptional and generous philanthropic investments made in OHSU and the School of Medicine this past year. Most recently, Phil and Penny Knight's historic $125 million transformative gift will establish the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute. We are deeply grateful for this support of our missions.

This coming year, we have more work to do, and the pace of change will only increase around us, but there is no better place than OHSU to shape the future of health care and no better people to lead those efforts.

Thank you for everything you do for OHSU, Oregon and beyond.

Happy Holidays.

Best Regards,

Mark Richardson

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