From the dean: Sharing my reverence for your hard work

July 3, 2018

For those of you taking time to catch some of the World Cup this summer, I'd like to borrow a word to describe your performance when it came to OHSU's budget this year: Goooooooooooaaaaallllllll!

Dean Sharon Anderson during a graduate student rallyAs you know, OHSU sets targets for revenue and expenses each year; maintaining the margin between them is what funds investment in programs, technology, facilities and equipment upgrades and space to meet demand for OHSU's services. We are in the midst of making significant changes in how we operate – the initiative is called Accelerate OHSU – in order to better weather swings in our budget. But those changes and savings take time and, again this year, we faced shocks to our budget that meant we had to adjust.

I just want you to hear me say: Faculty and staff were already working hard when we asked you this winter to tighten your belts some more and double down where you could to produce more revenue. And we asked this even as we talked about how important it is to safeguard your wellness and resiliency.

A remarkable team effort

As a result of the many ways in which departments and teams across the organization pulled together - and continue pulling together to close out the books for fiscal year 2017-18 - preliminary financial results indicate that OHSU will finish the year better than budget. The research and education missions exceeded revenue targets, and clinicians and our billing team posted patient care volume and collections records in May. I hope you will read the series of stories called The Bottom Line, starting this week on Staff News to understand our larger budget picture, including looking ahead.

As an academic health center, OHSU is a complex place. But as the OHSU Board of Directors noted June 28 following Chief Financial Officer Lawrence Furnstahl's presentation of the budget, we have established our ability to think creatively and evolve operationally. 

Listen: CFO Furnstahl on the OHSU Week podcast

Doing the work that you do at the level at which you do it is often stressful. I want you to relish the feeling that your work is noticed. It is making it possible for us to continue to serve patients, fuel discovery and educate the next generation of clinicians and biomedical scientists across Oregon and beyond.

Thank you.

More victories worth celebrating

And as we head into the Fourth of July holiday, there are more victories to celebrate.

The OHSU Faculty Senate gave the school the green light to pursue accreditation for a transformed Ph.D. program that offers a more flexible approach in which students can choreograph their studies to follow the path of discovery.

Congratulations and thank you to Allison Fryer, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate studies, OHSU School of Medicine; the Creative IDEAS Committee, and all of the faculty, staff and students who worked so hard to shape this new approach. This work will serve our ability to fuel advances in the biomedical sciences into the future.

Apply by July 16: seeking applicants for administrative positions to help build and run transformed Ph.D. program

And congratulations to David Jacoby, M.D., for becoming permanent chair of the Department of Medicine. David has done an outstanding job as interim chair, and I'm excited for him to continue as permanent chair.

I am also pleased to be making progress in filling out the school's leadership team and will have additional announcements in the coming weeks. I look forward to welcoming our new president, Dr. Danny Jacobs, on Aug. 1 with a School of Medicine team ready to help support him.

Finally, a victory of a different kind: I was honored to join in an OHSU leadership decision in June to clear a path for the OHSU Hospital auditorium 8B60 to better reflect the OHSU of today by taking down the portraits – all of white, male leaders – that lined the inner and outer walls of this popular meeting room (see photos below). 

OHSU Hospital 8B60 OHSU Hospital 8B60

While these men who built our departments of surgery and medicine contributed greatly to OHSU's success, many faculty members and staff have shared their discomfort about using a room with such an exclusive representation of who we are. The OHSU leadership team agreed that it is important that our meeting spaces – along with our public spaces – feel welcoming and inclusive, a trend that we are seeing at other academic health centers nationally.

Efforts are now underway to identify new art to replace these portraits, which have been returned to their departments for display.

On so many levels, I am proud to be your dean, and I am grateful for your dedication and for the work that you do every day.

Sharon Anderson, M.D.
OHSU School of Medicine