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OHSU Announces Three University President Finalists

The announcement of OHSU's next president is expected in July

Oregon Health & Science University is announcing three finalists being considered for the job of OHSU president. The current president of OHSU, Peter Kohler, M.D., has announced his plans to retire at the end of 2006 after more than 18 years of service.

The three finalists are: Jay Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., executive vice chancellor of health sciences at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; Joseph Robertson Jr., M.D., M.B.A., dean of the OHSU School of Medicine, and OHSU vice president for medical affairs; and Paul Whelton, M.D., M.Sc., senior vice president for health sciences at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. Additional information about each candidate, including full biographies and photos, can be located at

"We are pleased to announce three finalists that the search committee feels are all superb candidates," said Henry Hewitt, OHSU board member and chairman of the OHSU Presidential Search Committee. "Throughout this extensive and comprehensive process, the committee considered many applicants. Today, I can say without hesitation that the search process has resulted in three, highly qualified and tested candidates who could lead OHSU at the most exciting time in the institution's history."
The three candidates will complete their on-campus interviews from June 19 through June 28. The final interview process will include meetings with OHSU administration, faculty, staff, students, community leaders, the OHSU Presidential Search Committee and the OHSU Board of Directors. The committee will consider feedback from these groups in making its decision regarding which candidate to forward to the Board of Directors. The OHSU Board of Directors, which makes the final decision, is expected to announce OHSU's next president in July.

Jay Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Since 1997, Dr. Gershen has served as executive vice chancellor and professor in the School of Dentistry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He has played a leadership role to create the University of Colorado's 21st century health sciences center at the former Fitzsimons Medical Army Garrison. The new campus focuses on patient-centered health care, collaborative research models, and will educate health professionals as interdisciplinary teams. This $4.3 billion project is providing a public/private model for bioscience discovery and emphasizes the commercialization of basic/translational research. Fitzsimons is the largest medical construction project in the nation and will generate $6 billion per year in economic activity at completion. In addition to assisting the chancellor in administering the health sciences center, Dr. Gershen has had responsibility for resource development, external and community affairs, and master planning for the new campus. He played a significant role in raising $202 million from the State of Colorado to fund the educational facilities as well as $65 million in military base closure money from the Department of Defense to fund campus infrastructure. He also worked with the university's dean of dentistry to obtain $95 million from an entrepreneur to fund a dental education building and support for an orthodontic training program.

Dr. Gershen played an active role in the consolidation of the University of Colorado at Denver and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, bringing together an undergraduate/graduate general campus with an academic health center. Furthermore, he has been the point person for interactions and collaborations with the business community, and he has worked to reformulate the vision and strategic directions for the bioscience research park at Fitzsimons. Dr. Gershen's complete biography can be viewed at

Joseph E. Robertson Jr., M.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Robertson has served as dean of the OHSU School of Medicine and as OHSU's vice president for medical affairs since July 2003. He served as interim dean from July 2001 to January 2002. During Dr. Robertson's term as dean, approximately 150 new M.D. and Ph.D. faculty members have been recruited. The OHSU School of Medicine moved up in the National Institutes of Health ranking from 32nd to 23rd place, with 10 School of Medicine departments in the top 15 of the NIH rankings. In 2005, School of Medicine research awards increased to a total of $156,970,388. Philanthropic giving to the school increased 52 percent between 2004 and 2005.

During Dr. Robertson's tenure as dean, the School of Medicine has initiated several new programs and enhanced support for faculty and students.  Endowed support for School of Medicine student scholarships significantly increased. A new affirmative action plan to enhance diversity was developed last year. Dr. Robertson has also proactively responded to Oregon's physician workforce shortage. The entering class size in the medical education program has incrementally increased from 100 to 120 students. In 2004 he announced a partnership with the University of Oregon and the PeaceHealth system, Oregon region, to expand medical education to the Eugene-Springfield area. Future plans include expanded medical education and community partnerships in other parts of the state. This project will not only increase the number of physicians in Oregon, it will also help address the issue of maldistribution of providers. Dr. Robertson's complete biography can be viewed at

Paul Whelton, M.D., M.Sc.
Internationally recognized physician, educator, and researcher, Paul Kieran Whelton, M.D., M.Sc., serves as senior vice president for health sciences at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. He is also professor of medicine and dean of the Tulane University School of Medicine; and a professor of epidemiology in the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He was appointed as dean of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in January 1997 and as senior vice president for health sciences in August 1999. He served as interim dean of the School of Medicine from 2000 to 2001 and as dean since December 2005.

Dr. Whelton reports directly to the president of Tulane University and provides overall academic and administrative leadership for the health sciences, including the School of Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane National Primate Research Center, and other clinical practice structures.  With approximately 800 full-time faculty in fiscal year 2005, and an annual academic (excluding hospitals) budget in excess of $350 million, the health sciences center is a critically important component of the university. During the five-year period 1999 - 2004, research funding at the health sciences center more than doubled from $52 million to $109 million, with more than a three-fold increase in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the second best improvement in NIH ranking among the top 100 institutions supported by the NIH. Dr. Whelton's complete biography can be viewed at

More information about the Presidential Search Process may be located at

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