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OHSU Experts Available To Discuss Health Care Work Force Issues

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski announces formation of Health Care Workforce Institute to address expected shortages

Oregon, like the rest of the nation, is facing a shortage of health care professionals.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski today announced the formation of the Oregon Health Care Workforce Institute board as part of his Healthcare Workforce Initiative. The institute is a new, private-public model to address the health care worker shortage in Oregon and to improve the delivery of health care services to Oregonians.
"We are putting together a comprehensive package across the health professions with innovative and cost-effective strategies," said Lesley Hallick, Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University provost and vice president. Hallick is a newly named member of the board.  "The institute is an objective group to analyze work force needs and to give advice on alleviating the health care shortage."

Hallick is available to talk about health care work force issues as well as institute goals.

The OHSU School of Medicine Dean Joseph Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., is available to talk about educating more physicians and increasing distribution equitably in Oregon. "Oregon already has a serious physician shortage in rural and underserved areas, a shortage that is predicted to peak between 2015 and 2020. As Oregon 's only medical school, it is imperative that OHSU graduate more physicians to meet Oregon's future needs. By expanding our current program and creating regional campuses, we plan to increase the medical school entering class size by almost one-third. We must train providers who will meet the health care needs of people throughout the state,"  said Robertson, a nationally recognized expert regarding physician workforce issues.

More than 13 percent of Oregon's physicians are expected to leave the work force by the end of 2006.  OHSU School of Medicine will graduate only 200 new physicians to replace the more than 1,250 providers exiting the work force. To meet Oregon's needs, the OHSU School of Medicine  must graduate more physicians, matriculate more Oregon residents, and facilitate practice in underserved areas. To increase the work force, the school is planning to create satellite campuses, with the prototype being at the University of Oregon and in partnership with the PeaceHealth system, Oregon Region.
School of Nursing Dean Potempa, D.N.Sc., R.N., F.A.A.N., is available to talk about nursing work force issues: "The OHSU School of Nursing has been a leader in working to stem the nursing shortage. We have worked collaboratively with the Oregon University System and our community college colleagues throughout the state to increase the number of expertly trained nurses," said Potempa.

The OHSU School of Nursing has four regional campuses around the state, including Portland, La Grande, Klamath Falls and Ashland campuses, which graduate an average of 200 undergraduate students a year. The School of Nursing also is the only state-supported school for graduate education that prepares nursing faculty for Oregon. It is also planning on creating opportunities for more students to attend nursing school at multiple sites throughout Oregon.
School of Dentistry Dean Jack Clinton, D.M.D., is available to discuss the health care work force issue as it relates to dentistry.

OHSU School of Dentistry is planning to incorporate a rotation into the dental curriculum that requires students to provide rural and/or underserved care, institute a hospital dental service for inpatients needing dental care, and initiate a statewide graduate general practice residency program. "We anticipate that one of the biggest effects on improving the critical reduction in dental work force will occur with the opening of the new School of Dentistry building on the Schnitzer Campus sometime in the next five to 10 years. With a new building, we will be able to increase our class size significantly, perhaps to as many as 120 students from the current 75," Clinton said.

OHSU School of Dentistry is planning on expanding class size by about a dozen students; restoring its hospital dental service; and is working with other hospitals in the state to provide dental care and resident training during the next few years.

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