Western University of Health Sciences has established a health clinic in Portland which is intended to serve residents of the city and provide a training location for its students who are enrolled at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (COMP-NW).
The clinic, which is called WesternU Health – Oliver Station, is located at 5909 SE 92nd Avenue in Portland’s historic Lents neighborhood.
The clinic has been open for about a week and held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 7.
“It’s been a dream for this community and it’s a dream for the university. I think it’s a signal event for osteopathic medicine in the northwest,” said Dr. Daniel R. Wilson, president of Western University of Health Sciences.
Dr. Paula M. Crone, the dean of COMP-NW, said the event was a “huge celebration.”
“This clinic has been a dream long coming,” Crone said.
Dr. John Pham, a Vice Dean at COMP-NW and an Associate Professor of Family Medicine, was part of the team which oversaw the development of the clinic over the past year. Pham is one of the founding faculty members of COMP-NW.
“This is Western U’s first foot print in the Portland area,” Pham said. “We are known in Lebanon, but there’s no foot print in Portland. This will be a training site for our students along with being able to care for the people of Portland.”
This neighborhood has seen a great deal of redevelopment over the past few years. WesternU Health is the anchor tenant in a new building which includes many affordable housing units.
In addition, WesternU Health partnered with a local physician, Dr. Erik Szeto, to help build the client base. Szeto moved his practice into the location and following his retirement it is expected that many of his clients will continue to receive their primary health care through the clinic.
Crone said that without the cooperation of Dr. Szeto, the clinic would have never gotten off the ground.
“Without question, Dr. Szeto, we would not be here today if it wasn’t for you, your vision, your determination, your steadfast stubbornness to never give up,” Crone said. “Thank you very, very much for always thinking big and dreaming bigger.”
The 5,200-square-foot clinic has eight exam rooms, two rooms designed specifically for osteopathic manipulative medicine treatments and one space which is large enough to serve as a procedure room. The clinic is designed in a horse-shoe pattern, with clinic rooms on the outside and the medical staff’s work spaces on the interior. There is also a conference room which can be used for student instruction.
The clinic will provide a location for third-year medical school students to serve their rotations, Pham said,
“But I’ll be bringing students in their first and second year to follow me. I’ll be practicing here one day a week,” Pham said. “I’ve always loved practicing. I’m a family physician. I love the administration side, but I also love the patient care side. This is exciting. What more could you want?”
Pham said the clinic is open to everyone and will accept the full range of insurance coverages, including Oregon Health Plan. He also expects that some pro bono work will be part of the clinic’s mission.
At the conclusion of the opening ceremony, a plaque was unveiled honoring Dean Crone and her work establishing Western University of Health Sciences in Oregon.