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OHSU President Joe Robertson announces interim dean for School of Medicine

John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S.
John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S.

OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., has appointed John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S., interim dean for the School of Medicine, effective Oct. 1. President Robertson has served as acting dean since Mark Richardson’s, M.D., M.B.A., tragic accident Aug. 13.

“Dr. Hunter is a renowned clinician and an accomplished researcher and educator with a deep appreciation and understanding of each of OHSU’s missions,” said Robertson. “He is a seasoned leader with a long record of collaboration and innovation who is extremely well suited to help us all carry on the legacy of Dean Richardson.”

Hunter is Mackenzie Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery. In July, he became chair of the American Board of Surgery. His clinical interests include the management of diseases of the esophagus and stomach, and laparoscopic biliary surgery. His research activities concentrate on Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal cancer and on improvements in the techniques of minimally invasive surgery.

A recognized expert in his field, Hunter also commands a big-picture perspective. He has spent his career pushing the frontiers of medicine, including collaborating with community hospitals around the state to expose OHSU faculty and students to the complexities and rewards of community health care, offer enrichment opportunities to community-based physicians, and expand services for patients. His team’s outreach work has become one of several grassroots models for the formal partnerships OHSU is now pursuing.

“Many members of the faculty and staff in the School of Medicine have expressed to me recently that the personal qualities of the dean are every bit as vital as the professional qualifications, if not more so. We learned that lesson from Dean Richardson,” Robertson said. “Dr. Hunter has those qualities. He is simply a great person: fair, thoughtful and inclusive. Indeed Dean Richardson shared with me and with John his interest in John becoming interim dean when we discussed Mark’s retirement prior to the accident. Knowing – and sharing - the confidence that Mark had in John solidified this choice for me.”

Hunter earned his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He did his surgical residency at the University of Utah and a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital before returning to Utah in 1988 to launch the university’s surgical endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery program. In 1992, he left for Emory University in Atlanta, where he served as chief of gastrointestinal surgery and vice chair of surgery (clinical). In 2001, he came to OHSU as Mackenzie Chair and Chief of Surgery.
Ken Azarow, M.D., surgeon in chief at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and head of pediatric surgery, will serve as the interim chairman for the Department of Surgery and surgeon-in chief-for OHSU.

“I was looking forward to learning the dean’s job from Mark before he retired, but the circumstances are now very different,” Hunter said. “I am honored to serve OHSU and the School of Medicine as interim dean and look forward to working side by side with the many great chairs, senior associate deans, faculty and staff to keep OHSU moving forward.”

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