She was a homeless 17-year-old, a single mother of a newborn son, who landed in Portland without a penny and with nowhere to go.
Sixteen years later — after years of work and loads of perseverance — Kelly Griffith-Bauer is graduating from OHSU's School of Medicine, set for her first year of medical residency.
After serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps, then moving to Intel as a systems engineer, native Oregonian Lori Cardwell decided she wanted to be a surgeon. She's now an OHSU medical school graduate, on her way to a residency in the OHSU General Surgery program.
And after growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, watching his father do dental work for people who had never seen a dentist before, Jesse Hollander decided he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. Now, he's a graduate of the OHSU School of Dentistry, on his way to a one-year residency in Hawaii before he hopes to return to Oregon to work as a dentist in a community health organization.
These are only a few of the hundreds of stories behind another group of health care professionals and biomedical scientists graduating from Oregon Health & Science University this month and moving forward with their medical careers.
In total, 1,102 degrees will be awarded this month to students in various health care programs at OHSU.
Graduation ceremonies for the OHSU School of Medicine and School of Nursing will be June 4. Ceremonies for the OHSU School of Dentistry, the Oregon State University/OHSU College of Pharmacy and for School of Nursing campuses outside of Portland will be June 15.
"One of the reasons that I, and so many of our faculty members, choose to work at an academic health center like OHSU is the chance to interact with students, to see their enthusiasm and their idealism," said OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A. "This is a special day when we send new graduates out into the world to be health care providers, educators and research scientists – to improve the health and well-being of Oregonians."
OHSU School of Medicine Dean Mark Richardson, M.D., M.B.A., M.Sc.B., said: "The OHSU School of Medicine takes pride in preparing our graduates to be leaders in the fields of health care and bioscience. One-third of all practicing physicians in the state received all or part of their training at OHSU – a demonstration of our impact on work force needs and our graduates' commitment to serving Oregonians."
OHSU's School of Medicine will have 517 graduates this year – a record. Of those, 121 students will be awarded a Doctor of Medicine degree, making it one of the largest M.D. classes in the past 10 years.
Seventy-two students are graduating from OHSU's graduate program in biomedical informatics, a burgeoning area brought about, in part, by rapid advances in information technology and the landscape of health care reform.
And this year, OHSU's new Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management program will graduate its first group of students — 47 in all. The program is jointly offered by the OHSU School of Medicine's Division of Management and Portland State University's School of Business Administration. The degree will be jointly awarded by OHSU and PSU.
"This new program provides working professionals in healthcare with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to effectively manage their organizations and — importantly — to lead their organizations through this period of change and transformation that is confronting the American healthcare system as a whole," said James Huntzicker, Ph.D., head of the Division of Management.
The OHSU School of Nursing has more than 1,000 students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs at the main OHSU campus and across the state. Its programs are consistently ranked among the best in the country. It will award degrees to 396 graduates this month.
"This is a time of great change for nursing and health care, and nursing is positioned to lead the way," said Christine A. Tanner Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., interim dean of the School of Nursing. "Our voices have never before been so important. I am extremely proud of our students' accomplishments, the vision they hold for a reformed health care system and their commitment to make a real difference in people's lives."
The OHSU School of Dentistry will award degrees to 90 graduates.
"It is very difficult to get into dental school and it is even harder to get out," said Interim Dean Gary Chiodo, D.M.D., F.A.C.D., a 1978 graduate of OHSU School of Dentistry. "Nonetheless, our new graduates have worked hard and these are highly accomplished health professionals who join our ranks. I am extremely honored to present them as my new colleagues."
The OHSU School of Medicine's graduation ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m., June 4, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1000 S.W. Broadway Ave. in downtown Portland. The School of Nursing's graduation ceremonies for the Portland and Monmouth programs will be at 2 p.m., June 4, at the Schnitzer concert hall.
Graduation ceremonies for other OHSU School of Nursing campuses around the state will be June 15, in Ashland, Klamath Falls and La Grande.
The OHSU School of Dentistry's graduation ceremonies will be at 10 a.m., June 15, at the Schnitzer concert hall. Graduation ceremonies for the OSU/OHSU College of Pharmacy will be 1 p.m., June 15, at the LaSells Stewart Center Austin Auditorium, in Corvallis, Ore.
More info about the 2012 OHSU graduates
Kelly Griffith-Bauer, 33, OHSU School of Medicine
Kelly Griffith-Bauer arrived in Portland as a 17-year-old high school graduate from St. Joseph, Mo., with her six-month-old son. She had no money, and after a short stay with relatives, nowhere to go.
She found a job at a local jewelry store, and for a while lived in a teen parent foster home. She later began working for USWEST but was eventually laid off from that job — a layoff that changed her life.
Her severance package included two years of free tuition. Kelly enrolled in pre-med classes at Portland State University and began the long journey toward her dream of becoming a dermatologist. In addition to schoolwork, she worked at Starbucks and volunteered at OHSU. This Monday, 10 years after entering PSU, she will be graduating from OHSU as an M.D.
"It's incredibly emotional," Griffith-Bauer said. "As I'm going up to get my diploma, I'll be thinking that, 16 years ago, I didn't even know I was going to get a high school diploma. This is the furthest dream that I can possibly imagine."
"I am grateful to the city that offered a warm embrace to a struggling teen mom. And the people who have supported me at OHSU have been absolutely incredible. I couldn't have made it without them."
Lori Cardwell, 40, OHSU School of Medicine
Lori Cardwell is a native Oregonian and graduate of Portland's Franklin High School. She attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a naval officer in the Supply Corps. Following her military service, she worked as a systems engineer at Intel Corp.in Hillsboro. She is interested in general surgery and hopes to possibly someday practice in rural Oregon.
Jesse Hollander, 27, OHSU School of Dentistry
Hollander was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, to American parents. His father worked as dentist at the American embassy, first committing to two years and eventually staying 30.But it wasn't until Jesse was in college, and he spent a summer traveling with his father in Mongolia, treating people who had never seen a dentist before, that he decided he wanted to be in medicine, and eventually dentistry.
"For me, the unique skill set of getting people out of their pain, and bringing a smile to their face again, is the most exhilarating feeling," Hollander said.
Hollander is on his way to a one-year general dentistry practice residency at the Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. After that, he hopes to return to Oregon.
School of Medicine degrees
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) – 121
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – 40
- Behavioral Neuroscience – 5
- Biochemistry & Molecular Biology – 2
- Biomedical Engineering – 2
- Cell & Developmental Biology – 8
- Computer Science & Engineering – 1
- Electrical Engineering – 1
- Environmental Science & Engineering – 1
- Molecular & Medical Genetics – 4
- Molecular Microbiology & Immunology – 7
- Neuroscience Graduate Program – 7
- Physiology & Pharmacology – 2
Master's degrees – 172
- Master of Science in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology – 5
- Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering – 1
- Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics – 1
- Master of Science in Cancer Biology – 1
- Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition – 6
- Master of Science in Computer Science – 2
- Master of Science in Environmental Science & Engineering – 5
- Master of Science in Healthcare Management – 8
- Master of Science in Management in Science & Technology – 3
- Master of Science in Molecular & Medical Genetics – 1
- Master of Biomedical Informatics – 23
- Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management – 47
- Master of Clinical Research – 18
- Master of Physician Assistant Studies (M.P.A.S) – 38
- Master of Public Health (M.P.H) – 13
Combined Degrees – 11
- Doctor of Medicine & Master of Public Health (M.D./M.P.H) – 9
- Doctor of Medicine & Doctor of Philosophy (M.D./Ph.D.) – 2
- Cell & Developmental Biology – 1
- Molecular Microbiology & Immunology – 1
Associate's degrees – 28
- Associate of Applied Science – Emergency Technical – Paramedic – 28
Bachelor's degrees – 35
- Clinical Laboratory Science – 26
- Radiation Therapy – 9
Graduate certificates – 126
- Biomedical Informatics – 72
- Biostatistics – 1
- Dietetic Internship – 24
- Healthcare Management – 14
- Human Investigation – 15
School of Medicine — total degrees awarded in 2012 — 533
School of Nursing degrees
- Bachelor of Science – 302
- Doctor of Nursing Practice – 11
- Ph.D. – 5
- Master of Nursing – 44
- Graduate Certificate in Public Health – 7
- Master of Public Health – 17
- Master of Science – 9
- Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing – 1
School of Nursing Total — 396
School of Dentistry degrees
Doctor of Dental Medicine – 74
Advanced specialty degrees
- Endodontology – 3
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – 2
- Pediatric Dentistry – 4
- Periodontology – 3
- Orthodontics – 4