From the dean: A ray of sunshine for science

May 9, 2017


John Hunter, M.D.Along with the sunshine in recent days has come the welcome news that Congress has rejected a proposed 18 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health, opting instead to increase the NIH budget by $2 billion as part of an omnibus spending package. I believe the March for Science and letter writing campaigns here and around the country in April made a difference and want to acknowledge all who wrote letters or marched to amplify the immeasurable contributions of science to human health. Significant thanks also goes to our Congressional delegation as OHSU President Joe Robertson indicated in an opinion piece that newspapers around the state are publishing.

To help keep that contribution front and center, the Dean's office has ordered "Ask Me about my Research" pins (pictured) that are available in our fourth floor reception in Mac Hall and will be otherwise distributed to SoM researchers. Thanks to Dr. Mary Stenzel-Poore for picking up on the pin idea during a recent visit to Washington, D.C.

Research pinThat the news about NIH funding came during OHSU Research Week made it all the sweeter. I applaud our many students who presented their work at this annual showcase and congratulate the oral and poster presentation and the Three Minute Thesis winners. Thanks as well to all the faculty mentors who supported their work.

Research Week also included excellent speakers, including Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., professor and deputy chair in the Department of Radiation Oncology, and research investigator in the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences Medicine at the University of Michigan. I benefitted from joining Dr. Jagsi at the School of Medicine Women's Research Leadership Group meeting for a frank and solution-oriented discussion about recruitment and retention of women in the biomedical sciences.

In the clinical mission, we are making important progress on our goal to continually improve the patient experience and increase patients' access to care.

Among a number of initiatives, we are offering appointments to appropriate patients at our partner Tuality Healthcare in order to meet patient needs in a timely manner and prioritize tertiary and quaternary care at OHSU Hospital. Soon, we will roll out text message appointment reminders – complete with driving directions – to help patients remember and be on time for appointments. Online scheduling will follow, enabling patients to pick from a range of options, a convenience for them and a more efficient and effective approach for finding available providers to meet their needs.

I want to recognize Anthony Masciotra, CEO of the OHSU Practice Plan; Kevin O'Boyle, vice president, Ambulatory Care; Stephanie Winchester, director, Ambulatory Access; Mike Bonazzola, chief medical officer of the OPP and interim CMO for OHSU Healthcare, our chairs and many others at all levels who have formed a tight and dedicated team.

Attention is now quickly turning to OHSU Convocation Day, which is Sunday, June 4 at the Oregon Convention Center. I'm thrilled to announce that we will have 347 graduate students receiving their degrees and 135 M.D. recipients.

Graduation is not only a momentous celebration of our students' striving and accomplishment, it is a recognition of the outstanding teaching and mentoring that our faculty have contributed to shape our students' futures. I look forward to sharing this day with you.

Thank you for your work and your many contributions.

John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Interim Dean
OHSU School of Medicine