OHSU plans Klamath rural medicine campus

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Oregon Health and Science University is planning to create a satellite campus in Klamath Falls to focus on rural medicine.

OHSU’s provost and vice president, Dr. Jeanette Mladenovic (mlah-DON’-eh-vick), told local leaders Wednesday the campus would become a hub, The Herald and News reported.

“We already have spokes everywhere throughout the state,” Mladenovic said. “We would connect them to Klamath Falls. We would try to align all of our rural activity under one enterprise so it’s well coordinated.”

She says said a dean will likely be hired by July so that planning for the campus can get underway.

The Oregon Community Foundation gave OHSU a $50,000 planning grant, and Mladenovic says fundraising will now be key.

It is a first-of-its-kind venture in Oregon, and there are very few like it in the country, she said.

OHSU wants to design new health professions at the rural campus, she said, and research and possible new technologies also part of the idea.

“This is not about OHSU expansion, this is about solidifying and improving health,” Mladenovic said. “It will be a place that says OHSU Rural Campus … it will have a dean based here. It will include all of our schools and professions, not just doctors, not just dentists, not just nurses. We have a whole spectrum of health professions.”

Philip Marucha, dean of dentistry at OHSU, said the expansion will help students gain an understanding of the culture of rural areas. With dentistry schools often located in big cities, Marucha said students often do not feel comfortable starting their career in a setting unknown to them.

“They don’t understand how people make a living, what they do on Saturday night,” Marucha said. “I think that we need to start to provide our students with the potential for understanding that.”

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