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VIP: Conversation with Joseph Robertson, OHSU president

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

ViP

Joseph Robertson

President, Oregon Health & Science University

"The tram makes a great metaphor for where we are as an institution. It’s the ultimate bridge to the South Waterfront district, and I’d like to think we are building bridges throughout the community. We’ve just gone through remarkable growth and are setting the stage for the next phase. We’ve built up and we now want to reach out. In 20 years, I would hope to see a greater OHSU presence around the state — that’s how we can ultimately do the most good. We are at the partnering stage, and that’s the opportunity and challenge. We are large and complex and have not always been user-friendly. We must be nimble, and make sure we are good partners. I think we are sending the signal to the business community that we want to make that a priority. We also need to learn to take risks. The biggest surprise I’ve had in my few weeks in office is how great the expectations are for OHSU. One of the biggest is for us to be a catalyst for economic development. It is not part of our charter — the business community has layered this on our core mission — but it is exciting. It gets us out of our comfort zone. Our capital is the intellectual capacity of the staff and faculty and all I need is to look to the faculty member to the right or to the left to find inspiration."

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