Core Themes

OHSU has four core themes: 

  • learning environment
  • interprofessional education
  • clinical and translational research
  • health system and health policy leadership

These core themes individually manifest essential elements of OHSU's mission as well as collectively encompass the university's complex mission and five of OHSU Vision 2020's six strategic goals. The sixth strategic goal, "Generate and deploy OHSU resources to sustain an environment where faculty and staff committed to top performance can excel," runs through all core themes, mission elements and strategic goals to emphasize the importance of fiscal planning and sustainability.

The university has identified eight objectives with 25 indicators to establish the framework critical to monitoring the fulfillment of its core themes. The following section, which is organized by core theme, provides an overview of the objectives, indicators and if there was a modification or change, the rationale to support it.

1: Learning Environment

Objective 1.1: Develop student pipeline to meet the health needs of an increasingly diverse Oregon and nation.


  • 1.1.1. Percentage of underrepresented minority students in OHSU programs, of total OHSU students. 
  • 1.1.2. As a result of their involvement in On Track OHSU!, participants will report increases in interest and engagement towards Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). 
  • 1.1.3. Percentage of OHSU nursing BS graduates educated outside the Portland campus.

Rationale: A diverse workforce is crucial in addressing the needs of increasingly complex patients and communities, so tracking and striving to improve the percentage of underrepresented minority students will be a key indicator for OHSU. The first strategic goal of OHSU Vision 2020 (v. 2013), "Be a great organization, diverse in people and ideas" emphasizes the importance of diversity to the mission of OHSU.

Another opportunity to raise awareness about the sciences and mathematics among underrepresented minority groups is On Track OHSU! This initiative encourages and supports more students to pursue sciences in high school and college, potentially preparing students for study in a healthcare field. On Track OHSU! is currently working with three communities and their students in Portland Public Schools, Woodburn School District, and the Jefferson County School District. An indicator is used to monitor the impact of this program on the pipeline for potential health care professionals.

A key healthcare workforce need in Oregon's rural and underserved regions is in the nursing profession. An indicator is used to monitor the number of undergraduate nurses that are educated outside the Portland campus, as research indicates that students are more likely to return to the region or a similar region to the one they grew up in. In an effort to better serve these rural areas, expanding educational efforts outside the Portland campus is one initiative to both generate a pipeline of baccalaureate-educated nurses and to assist in healthcare profession shortages.

Objective 1.2: Provide a supportive, diverse, and inclusive learning and work environment for students, faculty and staff.


  • 1.2.1. Percentage of courses evaluated that have an average student rating on the cultural inclusivity of the curriculum as a > 3 on a 4-point scale. 
  • 1.2.2. Percentage of faculty and staff members that are satisfied with OHSU's climate for diversity and inclusion. 
  • 1.2.3. Percentage of minority faculty at OHSU.
  • 1.2.4. Percentage of courses evaluated that have an average student rating of > 5 on a 6-point scale.

Rationale: Conducting a satisfaction survey provides valuable information on OHSU's climate from the various perspectives – student, faculty and staff. Issues identified by the survey that may be impacting student learning can be raised and addressed by the institution's administration. Using the results of these assessments, the satisfaction for diversity and inclusion can be monitored to ensure the environment at OHSU is supportive.

A fundamental tenet of OHSU is the educational experience and knowledge gained from different viewpoints. Being an inclusive and respectful institution drives the leadership qualities of the organization. To ensure these attributes, OHSU monitors the percentage of minority faculty to ensure a diverse faculty body. Maintaining a diverse faculty open to expressing new ideas and concepts to the student body directly supports the core theme of an engaged and vibrant Learning Environment.

Objective 1.3: Produce quality graduates in health professions, scientists, engineers and managers who meet appropriate industry standards.  


  • 1.3.1. Percentage of graduates passing senior-level credentialing examinations on the first attempt. 
  • 1.3.2. Percentage of students in select clinical programs completing degrees within 100% of usual program time. 
  • 1.3.3. Percentage of degree-seeking students that persist to second year.

Rationale: Credentialing examination pass rates are common metrics used to determine programmatic and institutional effectiveness. The first indicator enables OHSU to monitor the percentage of graduates passing credentialing examinations on the first attempt. When an individual passes a credentialing examination, it indicates that predetermined qualifications of knowledge and competencies established by experts in their respective fields have been met. Credentialing examinations provide a form of quality assurance.

The OHSU Teaching and Learning Center and the increased use of simulation in the curriculum are designed to enhance learning outcomes to ensure graduates are appropriately prepared for clinical practice and research or progress to the next level of training (e.g., residency training). Monitoring completion rates directly ties into the objective for producing graduates.

Another mechanism for producing quality graduates is to monitor the retention rate of students from the first to the second year of their program. Ensuring students have the resources and support to continue in the academic program directly impacts the objective of producing graduates.

The use of a common course evaluation system is important to provide student feedback to program faculty regarding course and instructional effectiveness. The ability to assess course quality, content, and rigor ensures the content is applicable and communicated to the students appropriately through course syllabi.

2: Interprofessional Education

Objective 2.1. Promote an institutional culture that enhances interprofessional practice and education (IPE).


  • 2.1.1. Percentage of facilitators rating the IPE Foundations Course > 5 on a six-point scale. 
  • 2.1.2. Percentage of BS or higher clinical non-residency programs that have an IPE graduation requirement. 
  • 2.1.3. Percentage of students reporting that as a result of their IPE course or experience, they have an increased appreciation of other health care professionals. 
  • 2.1.4. Percentage of BS or higher clinical non-residency programs that assess OHSU Graduation Core Competency #7 - Teamwork.

Rationale: Indicators were established with the assistance of the Interprofessional Initiative (IPI) Steering Committee to monitor the integration of interprofessional education and its effectiveness into the OHSU curriculum. Crucial to the overall success of this objective is faculty buy-in and support which is measured through indicator 2.1.1. The importance of interprofessional education across the curriculum is emphasized by the expectation that clinical non-residency programs will have a graduation requirement for IPE (2.1.2). Student increased appreciation of other health care professionals after participating in IPE courses and experiences is monitored in 2.1.3. Integration with the OHSU Graduation Core Competencies is demonstrated through the assessment of teamwork, which will provide important information on both IPE and that specific graduation competency (2.1.4).

3: Clinical and Translational Research

Objective 3.1: Promote research career development to provide a "career ready" biomedical science workforce.


  • 3.1.1. Annual submissions and success rate for Career Development Awards (K Awards) applications to the National Institutes of Health. 
  • 3.1.2. Number of degrees and certificates awarded in clinical and translational research training. 
  • 3.1.3. Upon graduation, the percentage of OHSU School of Medicine Ph.D. graduates reporting definite post-graduation employment or definite postdoctoral study.

Rationale: By measuring the number of submissions as well as the success rate of K Awards as a percentage of awarded versus submitted, OHSU can compare its achievements on a national scale. Through the Master of Clinical Research (MCR) and Human Investigations Program (HIP), OHSU supports clinicians and scientists preparing to conduct research. By monitoring the number of degrees and certificates awarded in the MCR and HIP, the institution demonstrates the importance of research preparation to the organization. OHSU uses a school survey for obtaining data regarding post-graduation plans of its research doctorate recipients. This instrument is administered immediately upon graduation and surveys whether graduates have already secured employment or post-doctoral studies. These indicators are accessible and meaningful for determining OHSU's impact on the development of a workforce with clinical and translational research competencies.

Objective 3.2: Expand OHSU's prominence as a research university.


  • 3.2.1. Total sponsored project revenue in a given year. 
  • 3.2.2. Average annual sponsored project revenue per faculty with OHSU Principal Investigator status. 
  • 3.2.3. Number of new inventions disclosed in a given year.

Rationale: By analyzing the total institutional amount of sponsored revenue annually and the average annual sponsored project revenue per faculty with OHSU Principle Investigator status, a level of institutional and faculty productivity can be measured. A method to demonstrate that the research activities are translational is by measuring the number of new inventions disclosed annually. OHSU Innovation and Commercialization Productivity is tracked and published annually in the OHSU Fact Book.

4: Health System and Health Policy Leadership

Objective 4.1: Prepare students for leadership roles in population health, health policy, and community practice.


  • 4.1.1. Number of graduate degrees and certificates awarded under the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. 
  • 4.1.2. Increase the number of students participating in the OHSU Rural Community-based project by 40 students a year.

Rationale: In determining OHSU's role in educating and preparing graduates for leadership roles in population health, one  measure is to track the number of graduate degrees and certificates awarded under the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. Student enrollment in OHSU's Rural Community-based project courses is also tracked to demonstrate student engagement with community partners. Through interprofessional teams, students develop, implement, and evaluate community projects that address local health issues and this indicator measures the state-wide reach and impact of OHSU students while reinforcing the Interprofessional Education core theme.

Objective 4.2: Champion innovation in public health practice through leadership in academic research and health policy.


  • 4.2.1. Annual sponsored projects revenue specifically focusing on health systems, health sciences research or evidence-based policy. 
  • 4.2.2. Perception of Oregonians regarding OHSU's partnering with others to improve the health and well-being of the state's citizens is > 7.0 on a ten-point scale. 
  • 4.2.3. Perception of Oregonians regarding OHSU's leading discussions on health care issues or health reform is > 7.0 on a ten-point scale.

Rationale: In order to demonstrate the integration of academic research, health policy, and public practice within OHSU, the review and tracking of sponsored project revenue focusing on health systems, health sciences research or evidence-based policy is measured annually. Gauging the perceptions of the community it serves provides OHSU with valuable information about its role and impact on the public. Indicators 4.2.2 and 4.2.3 provide insight on how Oregonians perceive OHSU in making an impact in health conditions and in maintaining a leadership role in health care issues and health reform. This Statewide Benchmark survey is administered by an external agency (Davis, Migdell, and Hibbits Research) and is statistically appropriate for the size of Oregon. These perceptions are obtained through a survey with a 10 point schedule.