From the dean: Uplifted by your work

Oct. 31, 2018

Dr. Sharon Anderson

Let me begin by encouraging you to attend OHSU President Danny Jacobs' town hall at noon Thursday in the OHSU Auditorium.

He will report back on themes from his cross-campus listening sessions and will kick off strategic planning. There are opportunities for all of us to get involved starting Nov. 6 and 7; we need everyone's best thinking to shape OHSU's future, so please participate.

I also want to appreciate Dr. Jacobs for reaffirming OHSU's commitment to a safe and welcoming environment for all. There is so much strife in our nation right now; the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was almost too much to bear. OHSU's clarity around our values is grounding.

I have several acknowledgements I'd like to make. Top on that list is the multidisciplinary team in the Knight Cardiovascular Institute.

Strong work across missions

The skill and dedication to patients of every clinical team member since the heart transplant program inactivation Aug. 31 has been exemplary. This includes not only transitioning patients impacted by the inactivation, but also maintaining the broad range of cardiac care and highly specialized procedures that this team continues to perform.

In the research mission, in just the last three months, a half dozen KCVI-affiliated research faculty have either landed, or scored sufficiently high that they are likely to land, an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health. These are the major funding packages that every investigator strives for to pursue cutting-edge research. Hats off and fingers crossed!

I also want to acknowledge our 19 KCVI fellows in cardiovascular medicine, electrophysiology, adult congenital heart disease, interventional cardiology and advanced imaging. They and their program team, led by Dr. Hind Rahmouni, are integral contributors.

President Jacobs, Dr. John Hunter, CEO of the OHSU Health System, and I met with all members of the KCVI last week to announce the external peer review team. The peer review will assess the whole institute. We will consider the reviewers' recommendations alongside input from faculty and staff, insights gained from a self-study and an organizational assessment to help structure the KCVI for continued success, including rebuilding the heart transplant program.

Collaboration pays off

The Department of Behavioral Neuroscience in collaboration with more than 60 OHSU neuroscientists from School of Medicine basic science and clinical departments, the Oregon National Primate Research Center and the Vollum Institute has competitively renewed three institutional training grants from the NIH, totaling $7 million over the next five years.

OHSU is focused on reversing a decline in institutional training grants, known as T-32s, which Ph.D. programs use to recruit students and postdocs in specialized areas to contribute to key research projects. This is a great step in the right direction. Congratulations to the Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program and all collaborators!

As we near Veterans Day Nov. 11, I wanted to share how pleased I was to see Sahana Misra, M.D., F '98, associate professor of psychiatry, named chief of staff for the VA Portland Health Care System Oct. 1. I then named Dr. Misra associate dean for veterans affairs.

I have had the good fortune to work with Dr. Misra for many years; she is a revered and extremely effective clinician leader. It's great to see her rise to this top role at the VA, and I'm thrilled to have her join my leadership team.

Toward a more inclusive climate

I'm also pleased to report that we are solidifying supports and infrastructure that will help us develop a more welcoming and inclusive climate in the school.

We are moving into interviews for an assistant dean for diversity and inclusion who will collaborate with the OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion on efforts in the school. In the M.D. program, we are hiring two diversity navigators to mentor students who self-identify with diverse or underserved groups. We're also launching post-baccalaureate opportunities to prepare diverse, aspiring M.D. and Ph.D. students to pursue careers in health and science. You can read more about these and other efforts underway.

Students – and postdocs – have been at the forefront and are continuing to shape this work.

The Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science, an affinity and ally group of Ph.D. students, postdocs and faculty, last month hosted Dr. John Matsui, co-founder and director of the Biology Scholars pipeline program at UC-Berkeley. He spoke frankly about academic institutions' struggles to walk their talk, while also offering strategies to do just that.

M.D./Ph.D. students Kelsey Priest and Caroline King delivered a stark yet solution-oriented presentation at Medical Grand Rounds Oct. 23 about the nature and magnitude of gender violence in academic medicine, including at OHSU. I can't tell you how inspired I am by these young women who are true change agents at such a crucial time.

Service inspires hope

This weekend, our students will again do us proud. Students from across OHSU will team up to offer free medical, dental, vision and hearing exams in Pioneer Square on Saturday as part of their annual Health Equity Fair.

Saturday evening, the student-run Bridges Collaborative Care Clinic is holding a gala fundraiser.

These students are just amazing. In one short year of offering free, basic medical care and social services in partnership with the nonprofit Transition Projects, the clinic has attained its own nonprofit status. Last Saturday, the students added tooth fillings and extractions to their array of services.

I am lifted up every day because I work with people so committed to bettering our world through teaching, healing and discovery.

Take care of yourselves, your families and each other, engage in issues that you are passionate about and remember to vote.

Sharon Anderson, M.D.
OHSU School of Medicine