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OHSU History

Guide to resources on the history of Oregon Health & Science University and its predecessor institutions

Additional Sources



Members of the medical department at Willamette University in Salem begin the first formal medical education program in Oregon.


Willamette University's medical education program relocates to Portland.


The University of Oregon establishes a medical department in northwest Portland. Instruction for the new Doctor of Medicine program begin in a small two-room building on grounds belonging to Good Samaritan Hospital, at what is now the intersection of NW 23rd Avenue and Marshall Street.


The school building is moved to NW 23rd Avenue and Lovejoy Street, though a new building is erected the following year.


A medical library, "The R. B. Wilson Library," is established in the medical school building.


Esther Pohl Lovejoy is the second woman to graduate from the medical school and the first to enter medical practice.


Oregon's first dental school, the Oregon College of Dentistry, is established.


The Tacoma College of Dental Surgery (established in 1893) moves to Portland from Washington. It takes up residence in the same building the Willamette University medical program once resided in at NW 15th and Couch Streets.



The Oregon College of Dentistry and the Tacoma College of Dental Surgery merge to become North Pacific Dental College. This also marks the beginning of their Doctor of Dental Medicine program.


The North Pacific Dental College gains membership into the National Association of Dental Faculties.

Dr. Lizzie Stewart and Dr. Alice Magilton are the first female graduates of the Dental College; Stewart was the first woman to enter the college in 1899.


Multnomah Hospital Training School for Nurses (also known as the Multnomah School for Nurses) opens.

A fire destroys the dental school's "Annex," a temporary space located about six blocks from the main school building.


Multnomah Hospital Training School for Nurses graduates its first seven nurses.

North Pacific Dental College moves into the new, larger dental school building (completed in 1910) at NE 6th and Oregon Streets.


Willamette University and the University of Oregon merge their medical education programs to form the University of Oregon Medical School (UOMS) in Portland.


The present 116-acre Marquam Hill campus gets its start with a 20-acre tract donated by the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company, and an 88-acre tract donated by the C. S. Jackson family, former publisher of the daily Oregon Journal.


The state-wide Crippled Children's Division Program (now the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center) is established in the School of Medicine to provide diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation services for children with disabilities.

A four-year curriculum is initiated at North Pacific Dental College.


United States Army Base Hospital Number 46, consisting of personnel supplied from UOMS, receives mobilization orders and departs for France.


UOMS moves from downtown Portland to its present location on Marquam Hill. The first building, the Medical Science Building (now Mackenzie Hall), opens for instruction in the Fall.

The University of Oregon introduces the state's first professional courses in nursing.


UOMS offers Master's degrees in Anatomy, Bacteriology and Hygiene, Experimental Biology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology, at first through the University of Oregon.

The Portland School of Social Work offers a standard course of study in public health nursing.


Multnomah County Hospital opens on the Marquam Hill campus and contracts with the medical school to provide services to indigent patients. Multnomah Hospital Training School for Nurses also moves to Marquam Hill.

Funds from the Oregon State Legislature and the Rockefeller Foundation pay for a large addition to the Medical Science Building, adding onto the original three-story structure. The building is named Mackenzie Hall, after the school's second dean.


The dental school is reorganized and the name is officially changed to North Pacific College of Oregon.


Doernbecher Memorial Hospital for Children is built on the Marquam Hill campus (now Dillehunt Hall) and becomes the first full-service children's hospital in the Pacific Northwest.

The University of Oregon introduces a five-year curriculum culminating in the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in nursing.


The first nurses' dormitory is built (Emma Jones Hall).

The North Pacific College begins offering a dental hygiene course, the only such program in the Northwest.


UOMS takes over operation of Doernbecher.

The University of Oregon offers a certificate program in nursing for qualified students in accredited hospital schools. The program runs until 1939.

The U.S. Veterans Hospital is established on Marquam Hill.


The Master of Science program in basic sciences begins.


The outpatient clinic building is constructed on Marquam Hill and outpatient services begin, providing practical experience for medical and nursing students and residents.

The School of Medicine Alumni Association is established in the home of Ivan M. Woolley, M.D. (class of 1919).


The curricula of the Portland School of Social Work and the University of Oregon's nursing program are integrated and transferred to UOMS to form the Department of Nursing Education in the University of Oregon Medical School.

A two-year pre-nursing curriculum is established at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.


The first Ph.D. degree is awarded (in Physiology).


The OHSU Auditorium, designed by Ellis Lawrence, opens and also serves as OHSU's first library building.


The University State Tuberculosis Hospital opens on Marquam Hill.


The 46th General Hospital, organized for service in World War II, is activated on July 15.


The Medical Research Foundation of Oregon is founded to stimulate the development of research through seed grants to biomedical scientists anywhere in Oregon and serves as the fiscal agent for NIH grants to Medical School investigators for many years.

The dental school announces a new accelerated military program, instituting year-round education that allows students to complete dental school in three years. Upon graduation, students will receive immediate appointments as second lieutenants in the Army or a special classification in the Navy.


North Pacific Dental College is incorporated into the University of Oregon, becoming the University of Oregon Dental School, in order to meet the new 1944 criteria for accreditation by the American Dental Association.


A grant from the W. K. Kellogg foundation makes possible a teaching and supervision program for baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses. This will become the Master of Science degree in nursing education in 1955.

The dental hygiene program is closed after the granting of four certificates in 1946 and five in 1947, including one to Milton Willoughby, the first man to graduate from the dental hygiene program.


The University of Oregon Dental School receives full accreditation from the Council on Dental Education.


A grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation provides funding for faculty for a two-year curriculum leading to a certificate in dental hygiene. The program was restricted to women until 1961.

The Elks Children's Eye Clinic opens with the help of Kenneth Swan, M.D., the first ophthalmology department chair of UOMS. It is the first university children's eye clinic in the nation.

Walter C. Reynolds, M.D. is the first Black graduate of UOMS.


The Child Development and Rehabilitation Center facility is built on Marquam Hill.


The Master of Science degree in nursing education is established.

Beatrice Gilmore, R.N. is the first Black woman to graduate from the nursing school.


The Medical School Hospital is built on Marquam Hill.

The University of Oregon Dental School moves from NE Oregon Street to its new building on Marquam Hill.


The first male student enters the baccalaureate nursing program (but leaves after two terms).


The Department of Nursing Education becomes the University of Oregon School of Nursing in Portland within the Oregon State System of Higher Education.


On land purchased in Beaverton by the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, one of the nation's first seven, is established on what is today the West Campus.


The first male faculty member, still a student in the master's program, joins the School of Nursing.


Eugene Mitchell is the first male student to complete the undergraduate nursing program.


The dental school begins to offer a two-week Junior Dental Institute for high school juniors and seniors.


The Junior Dental Institute is relaunched as the Dental Careers Institute and runs through 2001.


The University of Oregon dental hygiene alumni vote to join the University of Oregon Alumni Association.


The nursing school begins offering a Master of Nursing degree.


University Hospital is created through the merger of the former Multnomah County Hospital, the Medical School Hospital, and the outpatient clinics. Multnomah County Hospital is renamed University Hospital North; the Medical School Hospital is renamed University Hospital South.

The School of Nursing is granted accreditation by the National League for Nursing.


The University of Oregon Health Sciences Center (UOHSC) is formed as an independent institution under the direction of the Oregon State System of Higher Education. The Schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Nursing are brought together under President Lewis (Bill) Bluemle to create this new center. The center becomes Oregon's only academic health center.


The University of Oregon Health Sciences Foundation emerges as a repository for philanthropic gifts and grants to UOHSC schools.

Richard Jones serves as Acting President for the university.


Leonard Laster becomes the second President of UOHSC (later OHSU).


A geriatrics fellowship is established at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, one of the nation's earliest.

The undergraduate nursing degree programs are expanded to La Grande, OR to provide the eastern region of the state with baccalaureate-prepared nurses.


The state legislature changes the institution's name to Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) to reflect its independence from the University of Oregon.


The M.D./Ph.D. program is started with Medical Research Foundation funding.

The Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children (now Shriners Hospital for Children) moves to Marquam Hill.


The nursing school gets approval from the Oregon State Board of Higher Education to begin a new graduate curriculum. The program is designed so that the master's curriculum is the first component of a curriculum leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing.


The School of Nursing initiates its Ph.D. program.


The new Veterans Affairs Medical Center is completed on Marquam Hill. The hospital opens to patients in 1988.


Dave Witter serves as Acting President for the university.

Peter O. Kohler becomes the third President of OHSU.


The OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care is created to promote interdisciplinary study of ethical issues in health care.

The Biomedical Information Communication Center (BICC) director is named and construction of the building begins.

The Area Health Education Centers program is established to promote better access to adequate health care throughout Oregon and to facilitate medical student primary care clerkships.


The Dotter Interventional Institute is established to honor the pioneer of interventional radiology, Charles Dotter. The institute leads the Pacific Northwest in developing image-guided procedures and performs more than 3,000 interventional treatments annually.


Casey Eye Institute opens on Marquam Hill to provide a central clinical, research and educational setting for eye care.

Construction is completed for the Biomedical Information Communication Center (BICC), which provides library, audiovisual and teleconferencing services, public computer services, and health informatics.


The School of Nursing assumes responsibility for the Statewide Integrated Nursing Education System, incorporating nursing programs at Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland; Klamath Falls; and Southern Oregon State College, Ashland.

The School of Nursing on the Portland campus takes up residence in the new School of Nursing Building.

The Basic Sciences Building addition opens to improve laboratories for basic research.

The enclosed bridge between the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University Hospital is opened. The 660-foot-long sky bridge allows direct transportation of patients, physicians and students, thus bonding functionally as well as symbolically the two major teaching hospitals.


The Oregon Health Policy Institute, an interdisciplinary center of the OHSU School of Medicine, Portland State University and Oregon State University is created as a resource center for collecting, analyzing and disseminating health policy information.

The first of OHSU's primary care neighborhood clinics opens in southwest Portland. Today, there are several OHSU community clinics located throughout the Portland metropolitan area, helping to improve health care access in neighborhood settings and to provide training sites for primary care residents.

Physicians Pavilion opens on Marquam Hill to provide clinic services for faculty practices.


The Medical Research Foundation merges with the OHSU Foundation.

A unique rural family medicine Graduate Medical Education program accepts its first residents in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

The Oregon Master of Public Health program (OMPH) begins. The OMPH is a multi-institutional program of OHSU, Oregon State University and Portland State University.


OHSU becomes a public corporation and separates from the Oregon State System of Higher Education. Governance of OHSU changes from the Board of Higher Education to the OHSU Board of Directors, whose members are nominated by the governor and approved by the Oregon Senate.

A program conferring baccalaureate degrees for Physician Assistants is started.

The Primate Center, originally owned and operated by the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, is transferred to OHSU after the 1994 MRF merger with the Oregon Health Sciences Foundation. The MRF research seed grant program had grown to over one million dollars, the majority going to faculty of the Medical School.


Planning begins for the Center for Women's Health, intended to offer a place where women's concerns can be addressed in a comprehensive, comforting and supportive manner. The center uses a collaborative model that encourages women to actively participate in their care.

The Oregon Cancer Center is established with a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The interdisciplinary center is one of 50 such comprehensive cancer centers nationwide.

The free-standing Division of Medical Informatics and Outcomes Research is established and offers degrees by online learning.

The first M.P.H. degree is awarded.


Doernbecher Children's Hospital's new state-of-the-art pediatric medical complex is opened. Attached to the University Hospital, Doernbecher provides the widest range of health services to children in the state and contemporary training facilities for students, residents and fellows.

The Mark O. Hatfield Research Center is dedicated. The center houses a variety of basic and clinical research programs that have the potential to spark new therapies through clinical trials. It includes such programs as the Clinical Research Center, the Oregon Hearing Research Center, Doernbecher Children's Hospital Pediatric Research Laboratories, the Bone and Mineral Unit's osteoporosis studies, the Oregon Stroke Center, and the Oregon Cancer Center (now called the OHSU Cancer Institute).



After conferring 88 baccalaureate degrees, the Physician Assistant program is converted to a master's degree program. The program places unprecedented emphasis on medically underserved and rural communities.


OHSU's name changes to Oregon Health & Science University with the acquisition of the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology (OGI). OHSU and OGI merged on July 1, creating the OHSU School of Science & Engineering.

The six-year-old program providing training of Physician Assistants moves from the Provost's Office to the School of Medicine's Dean's Office, becoming a division within the School of Medicine.

Oregon Cancer Center changes its name to OHSU Cancer Institute


Oregon Regional Primate Research Center changes its name to Oregon National Primate Research Center.

The Department of Surgery launches a one-of-its-kind rural residency program.


The OHSU Simulation and Clinical Learning Center opens.


The Schnitzer Investment Corporation donates nearly 20 acres of property on the South Waterfront to OHSU.


The OHSU School of Nursing, in partnership with OMPH, begins to offer the Oregon Master of Public Health degree online with a focus in Primary Health Care and Health Disparities.

The pediatric dentistry residency program is restored.

Work finishes on the new Biomedical Research Building. This building houses state of the art laboratory space for OHSU researchers.

The Ashland and Klamath Falls campuses open simulation facilities.


Joseph Robertson becomes the fourth President of OHSU.

OHSU completes two new patient care buildings, the Peter O. Kohler Pavilion on Marquam Hill, and the Center for Health & Healing – the first building on OHSU's new South Waterfront campus, and the nation's first LEED platinum certified medical building. These two buildings are linked by the Portland Aerial Tram.

The Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education admits its first cohort of students in the fall.

The School of Nursing beings to offer Oregon's only master's degree program in nurse anesthesia.

The La Grande campus opens a simulation facility.


The School of Nursing opens March Wellness at the Center for Health & Healing.

The School of Nursing begins to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice program with a post-master's option.


A gift of $100 million from Phil and Penny Knight helps evolve the OHSU Cancer Institute into the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

The OGI School of Science & Engineering is fully integrated into the School of Medicine as the Department of Science and Engineering. OHSU becomes one of the few medical schools in the country with a biomedical engineering department.

The School of Nursing opens its fifth campus in Monmouth, OR at Western Oregon University and admits 27 students to its first undergraduate class.


In partnership with Portland State University, a Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare Management is offered.

The School of Nursing begins to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice postbaccalaureate option.


OHSU announces a $25 million philanthropic partnership with Bob and Charlee Moore – founders of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods – to establish the Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness at OHSU, housed in the School of Medicine.

OHSU, Portland State University and Oregon State University break ground on the OHSU/OUS (Oregon University System) Collaborative Life Sciences Building (renamed in 2018 to the Robertson Life Sciences Building) an innovative project that will bring cutting-edge science education and research to Portland's South Waterfront.

Construction of the Skourtes Tower, future home to the School of Dentistry, begins on the South Waterfront.


A gift of $125 million from Phil and Penny Knight creates the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute.

The School of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education program undergoes a full-scale accreditation site visit and review by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) in January – the school's first full-scale review since 2004.


OHSU launches a $25 million clinical and translational science initiative against lethal, hard-to-treat pancreatic disease.

OHSU receives $1 million from the American Medical Association for the School of Medicine's M.D. Curriculum Transformation Initiative, joining an 11-school national consortium to accelerate change in medical education.


The OHSU/OUS Collaborative Life Sciences Building and Skourtes Tower opens on the Schnitzer Campus in Portland's South Waterfront District.

The School of Nursing adds graduate programs in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).

The Dental School leaves Marquam Hill and moves into the Skourtes Tower on the South Waterfront.


Groundbreaking takes place on the South Waterfront for the OHSU Center for Health & Healing Building 2, the Gary and Christine Rood Family Pavilion, and the Knight Cancer Institute Research Building.

The Master of Public Health and the Graduate Certificate of Public Health Programs from the OHSU School of Nursing move to the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.

The School of Nursing campus in Klamath Falls opens, housed on the Oregon Institute of Technology campus.


Danny Jacobs becomes the fifth President of OHSU.

OHSU breaks ground on the 60,000-square-foot Oregon Elks Children's Eye Clinic on Marquam Hill, next to the OHSU Casey Eye Institute. The building will be the nation's first free-standing eye institute for pediatric patients.


The Center for Health & Healing Building 2, the Gary and Christine Rood Family Pavilion, and the Knight Cancer Institute Research Building all open.