Oregon Health & Science University President Peter Kohler, M.D., has received the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's highest honor from the organization's Oregon chapter.
Kohler received the Hope Award Nov. 1 during the society's annual gala event, Dinner of Champions, at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower. It distinguishes an individual who exhibits outstanding philanthropy, community service and leadership. Past recipients have included George Passadore, Wells Fargo Bank; Jim Rudd, Ferguson Wellman Capitol Management; Ron Timpe, Standard Insurance Co.; Peter Stott, Crown Pacific Partners; and Pete and Mary Mark, Melvin Mark Companies.
Kohler is active in health policy, research and education at the national level and noted for his advocacy for increased access to health care and quality of life for underserved populations. He helped develop an AHEC program and led efforts to increase the number of generalists being trained. He has chaired numerous health committees, including the Oregon Health Council and the Institute of Medicine Committee on Quality in Long-term Care.
Earlier this year, Kohler worked with the Salvation Army and the OHSU School of Nursing to establish an infirmary for homeless patients at the organization's Harbor Light Center in downtown Portland. The infirmary, which is operated by The Salvation Army and OHSU health care volunteers, serves patients who are not sick enough to be in a full-service hospital, but who did not qualify for a nursing home and should not stay on the street.
In August, Kohler announced his plans to retire by the end of 2006 after 18 years as OHSU's president.
Funds raised through the Dinner of Champions benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which hopes to raise $200,000 to help end the devastating effects of MS.