OHSU students, faculty featured in OMA magazine

December 15, 2015

The Fall 2015 edition of the Oregon Medical Association magazine, Medicine in Oregon, features two articles in which OHSU School of Medicine faculty members and students are highlighted. Below are excerpts from and direct links to the articles.

OHSU Medical Students Take to Salem for Children and Skin Cancer Prevention

When children in Oregon went back to school this fall, their backpacks may have contained a bottle of sunscreen or a piece of sun-protective clothing – and that's something to celebrate. A group of OHSU School of Medicine students helped give parents, students and school officials across the state clarity on the issue of sunscreen in Oregon schools.

OHSU medical students in health policy interest groupIt all began with a strange technicality. Because most commercial sunscreen lotions contain an active ingredient, they were largely considered medication. Medications require a doctor's note and are subject to other restrictions before they can be administered at schools.

This didn't seem right to a group of medical students in the OHSU Health Policy Interest Group. Motivated by their interest in health policy and their own experience as parents and students, they helped spawn the idea for Oregon House Bill 3041, which allows students to apply and use nonprescription sunscreen and sun protective clothing during school hours and at school-sponsored activities.

Leading the effort were OHSU students Michelle Beam, Annie Buckmaster (co-chair), Ishak Elkhal, Suzy Funkhouser (co-chair), Claire Groth, Larissa Guran, Mallori Jirikovic, Justin Lee, Kim McKenna, Brianna Muller, Mariah Peterson, Sylvia Peterson-Perry (co-chair), Leah Savitsky, Liz Sokolowski, Nikki Steinsiek and Karl Tjerandsen.

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OHSU Program Helps Students Excel at End-of-Life Care

"Dying people are also living people," explains David Barnard, Ph.D., J.D., director of the OHSU School of Medicine's Living with Life-Threatening Illness course and the Miles J. Edwards Chair in Professionalism and Comfort Care. The elective course, coordinated by the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care, matches first and second year medical students with a person who is living with a serious illness in order to enhance empathy and begin to develop the communication skills needed to care for patients at the end of life. Students meet with these "patient teachers" in their homes over a period of time for an opportunity to get to know a patient facing very serious illness or death and to begin exploring their own thoughts and feelings around death and loss, so they can better understand the role they will play as a physician in the care of patients for whom it is no longer realistic to think about curing disease.

The Living with Life Threatening Illness course was developed at OHSU in 2007 by Eric Fromme, M.D., a palliative care specialist, and Susan Tolle, M.D., director of the Center for Ethics, modeled after a similar program at Harvard Medical School.* Dr. Barnard, who had done similar work at the University of Pittsburgh, joined the OHSU faculty in 2012 and became director of the course.

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  • Dr. Fromme is associate professor of medicine, OHSU School of Medicine
  • Dr. Tolle is professor of medicine, OHSU School of Medicine

Pictured: OHSU medical students (left to right) Suzy Funkhouser, Larissa Guran, Elizabeth Sokolowski, Sylvia Peterson-Perry, Annie Buckmaster and Ishak Elkhal celebrate the passage of HB 3041.