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State of the School of Medicine address captures moment of growth, investment and change

School of Medicine State of the School Address 2017
Interim Dean John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S., delivers a “State of the OHSU School of Medicine” address Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 in Portland. Hunter stepped into the position after the unexpected death of former dean Mark Richardson (left).(OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Interim Dean John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S., delivered a “State of the OHSU School of Medicine” address Tuesday, Feb. 7, at an important moment in the school’s history, a moment of growth, investment and change.

“This is a moment for recognizing that we have built tremendous research, education and clinical engines that have transformed our institution,” Hunter said. “The choices we make going forward must be based on who we are now and where we are headed. They must also be informed by who we have always been – by our core values.”

Hunter shared a number of accomplishments and the challenges across missions.

YOUR M.D. students showing mastery with less classroom time

The medical school now has data to show that students’ mastery of medical knowledge since launching the new YOUR M.D. curriculum three years ago is as strong as it was with the traditional curriculum, even though they spend less time in the classroom.

  • Third-year students, the first cohort to use the new curriculum, continue to track with the national mean on the Step 1 exam.
  • Nearly every third-year student passed the Shelf exams, the test required after completing certain clinical rotations.

Now the Creative IDEAS committee has designed a more flexible, multidisciplinary Ph.D. program to focus on mentorship, community and scientific excellence. A final plan for piloting with students is expected in the fall of 2018.

“Rethinking the M.D. and now the Ph.D. curriculum inevitably means upending the way we’ve done things for a very long time,” said Hunter.

Leveraging investment is next step in research expansion

Hunter reviewed the tremendous expansion of the school’s research enterprise, including $1.75 billion in philanthropic giving and $150 million from the health care system in recent years, invested in programs, technology, faculty and leaders.

“Now we must leverage this investment by working with these outstanding individuals to integrate science at OHSU,” he said, acknowledging that next steps include developing better ways to connect faculty with each other and with the tools to take research at OHSU to the next level.

Partnering to improve the health of Oregonians

On the clinical front, Hunter described new partnerships with Tuality, Salem and potentially Adventist and others that are helping OHSU fulfill its commitment to improving the health of all Oregonians.

He cited the structural work required to make OHSU’s partnerships succeed, including renaming the Faculty Practice Plan to the OHSU Practice Plan to recognize the addition of clinical associates who are not faculty but who are essential team members focused entirely on patient care.

He noted the challenges ahead, including improving access to OHSU clinics, revising the promotion and tenure process to equally value faculty contributions across missions, and taking a close look at how physicians are paid.

He returned, at the end, to OHSU’s values of respect for all.

“I want to acknowledge our students, faculty and staff,” he said, “for stepping up in large and small ways to demonstrate our values and push us as leaders to speak out.”

Find links to videos shown at the event in the 'Links' section. A PDF of the FY2016 Research Progress Report is available in the 'Attachments' section.

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