Roadmap Results: Raising the profile of OHSU research

roadmap iconOctober 4, 2013

This past academic year brought a wave of VIPs to campus, many of them NIH directors. (Read about some of the visits in our story.)

It’s not unusual for NIH directors to meet with OHSU researchers and program leaders on campus to learn about a program’s strengths, share institute priorities and meet researchers in the field.

But these recent visits included an important, new element: an overview of OHSU and its research as a whole and what distinguishes it from other research facilities and academic health centers.

The overviews came about because School of Medicine Research Roadmap faculty and staff led the way in envisioning, coordinating and creating these presentations for VIP visits, a result of Roadmap planning and projects.

During a presentation by leaders such as OHSU President Joe Robertson, School of Medicine Dean Mark Richardson or SoM Senior Associate Dean for Research Mary Stenzel-Poore, NIH directors learned about the university’s strengths in collaborative research, its unique resources such as ONPRC, OCTRI and imaging, its strategies and investments, its focus on novel partnerships and much more.  Each presentation was tailored to the director’s area of focus.

The overviews are designed to raise awareness of OHSU’s research strengths among key influentials, and they map to a key Roadmap initiative (Strategic Initiative #6): “Increase awareness, appreciation and understanding of the value of research at OHSU to both internal and external stakeholders and the public.”

“When key people are here, we have an opportunity to not only underscore our strengths and raise our visibility in a particular area but highlight our entire research enterprise,” said Mary Stenzel-Poore, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research. “In this way, we tell a stronger OHSU story.”

Dave Wilson, M.D., chair and professor of ophthalmology and Casey Eye Institute director, was involved in organizing the successful visit of NEI Director Paul Sieving. “Paul was here for a meeting we were hosting on gene therapy for inherited retinal disease,” said Dr. Wilson. “However, we wanted all in the vision research community to be able to meet with him, and he was more than willing to accommodate in both a small and a larger group setting. That also included a meeting with Mark Richardson, Mary Stenzel-Poore and me to discuss OHSU’s overall research programs. There is a great deal of overlap in research in vision, neurosciences and genetics, and it was great to be able to discuss the OHSU strengths in all these areas.”

He added, "I think directors of institutes are very interested in seeing that an institution works collaboratively. It was very easy to tell the overall OHSU story. We are much stronger as a research community than as single units."

Kent Thornburg, Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of the OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Center for Nutrition & Wellness, was involved in the successful visit of NICHD Director Alan Guttmacher, M.D. Including the OHSU overview is a no-brainer for institutional advancement, he says. “Every person at OHSU should be a salesperson for OHSU,” he said. “Our visitors return to their own institutions and spread the OHSU message.”

Susan Hayflick, M.D., chair and professor of molecular and medical genetics, was also involved in Dr. Guttmacher’s visit. She says there is an additional benefit to including these institutional overviews by leadership in a VIP visit. “It’s a way for us to illuminate the strengths of the faculty and programs to key people internally as well, such as the president and the dean,” she said. “Delineating our strengths for our own leadership is highly valuable and makes these overviews essential.”

There is now a template presentation in place that can be given by leadership and tailored to any campus visit. Faculty members are encouraged to include the OHSU overview as they plan their VIP’s visit and schedule.