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Michael Bleich Named OHSU School of Nursing Dean

Michael Bleich, R.N., Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.N. comes to OHSU from the University of Kansas School of Nursing

Michael Bleich, R.N., Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.N., has been named dean of the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing. Dr. Bleich will be the 10th leader of the School of Nursing.

Dr. Bleich currently serves as professor and associate dean of clinical and community affairs at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, as well as chairman of the department of health policy and management in the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He also serves as CEO and executive director of KU HealthPartners, Inc., the University of Kansas School of Nursing and the KU School of Allied Health faculty practice plan.

“Dr. Bleich brings to OHSU a wealth of experience in nursing education, leadership development, nursing informatics, clinical systems design and workforce development,” said Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., president of Oregon Health & Science University. “I’m very pleased that we will welcome someone of Michael’s caliber to lead one of the nation’s most-respected nursing education programs.”

A nationally-recognized leader in nursing, Dr. Bleich (pronounced “bly”) has worked in health care as a clinician, educator and administrator throughout the Midwest. In his most recent positions, Dr. Bleich displayed enthusiasm for building community relationships, encouraging collaborations among health care professionals and developing leaders in clinical, educational, research and community environments.

Dr. Bleich says he was particularly drawn to the OHSU School of Nursing because of its innovative regional nursing education model. That model includes satellite OHSU School of Nursing campuses throughout the state, as well as the Oregon Consortium of Nursing Education (OCNE), an OHSU partnership with Oregon community colleges to provide regional nursing education.

As dean, Dr. Bleich will oversee education, research and faculty practice at the school’s Marquam Hill campus in Portland and each of its satellite campuses.

Dr. Bleich will visit Oregon numerous times before he officially takes the post August 25. Dr. Bleich plans to spend his first 100 days engaged in conversations with nursing students, faculty, staff and members of the community. “I want to look at the School of Nursing as a school that addresses what people expect of it. It will be important for me early on to hear those expectations and see how all different types of people frame the OHSU School of Nursing,” Dr. Bleich said.

Dr. Bleich will take the reins from Saundra Theis, R.N., Ph.D., who has served as the interim dean of the School of Nursing since 2006, when then-dean Kathleen Potempa left to head the University of Michigan’s School of Nursing. Theis was on the cusp of retirement when Potempa announced her departure, but extended her years of service in order to take the post of interim dean. Theis will officially retire in December 2008, ending an eight-year career at OHSU.

Dr. Bleich earned his R.N. diploma from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing (Racine, Wisc.) in 1976 and his Ph.D. in Human Resource (organizational) Development from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.) in 1998. He also has a M.P.H. in Patient Care Administration – Nursing, awarded by the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.) in 1987.

He has published more than 50 articles and book chapters on leadership, academic-service partnerships and workforce issues. Dr. Bleich has received numerous teaching awards and is the member of numerous organizations and boards including the JCAHO Nursing Advisory Council, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Nurses’ Association, Sigma Theta Tau and the Plexus Institute.

Dr. Bleich has three adult daughters. He enjoys performing arts and travel.


About OHSU
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and only academic health center. As Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves more than 184,000 patients, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,900 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.

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