Briefly: In Sudden Move, OHSU Demotes Chair of Anesthesiology Department

Dr. Jeffrey Kirsch, hired in 2002, will remain a professor and so far retains his salary of nearly $500,000.

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In a sudden move, Oregon Health & Science University officials have demoted the head of their anesthesiology department.

Dr. Sharon Anderson, dean of OHSU’s School of Medicine, asked Dr. Jeffrey Kirsch to step down from his leadership position last week, informing staff in a note:

“Earlier today, John Hunter, M.D., and I met with Jeffrey Kirsch, M.D., and asked him to step down from his role as chair, and he agreed to do so,” Anderson wrote. “Dr. Hunter, executive vice president and chief executive officer of OHSU Health System, will serve as acting chair of the department until I name an interim chair as soon as possible. These changes are effective immediately.”

As chair, Kirsch oversaw a staff of more than 200 full-time employees.

Anderson gave no explanation for the demotion. Rather, she praised him: “Dr. Kirsch has served OHSU and the School of Medicine in countless ways since he joined us in 2002, and I am grateful for his leadership and dedication.”

Kirsch will remain a professor and for the moment at least retains the same six-figure salary: $467,147.98.

Kirsch was hired from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, where he was as professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, and vice chairman of education and training. A neuroanesthesiologist, he’s specialized in caring for patients with spinal deformities, brain tumors and vascular abnormalities.