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Former Head Of OHSU's Emergency Department Leaving

Oregon Health & Science University's sprawling west side campus. | AARON BIELECK/OHSU
July 8, 2019

The head of Oregon Health & Science University’s emergency department is leaving.

Dr. John Ma announced in May he would be stepping down as chair of the department on Monday following an internal investigation of allegations of harassment. The university said at the time that he would remain a faculty member. 

But he has signed a separation agreement with the university, according to a letter from Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill. The agreement does not include any financial compensation, the letter shows. 

One of Ma’s associates, Stefanie Roland, appears to be organizing his goodbye party. She sent out invitations to the event which will be held in Southwest Portland in mid-August. 

Roland did not respond to a request for comment, and an OHSU spokeswoman said the university does not comment on personnel matters. Ma also declined a request for an interview by The Lund Report.

Ma has not worked as a clinician in the emergency room since his announcement in May, sources said. 

It’s not clear where he is going. He is currently the secretary-treasurer of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, which certifies emergency physicians in the United States. The board’s executive director, Dr. Earl Reisdorff, contacted The Lund Report last month, asking for contact information for sources that the news outlet cited anonymously because of their fear of retaliation. The Lund Report did not share sources but did let them know about the board's request.  

The Lund Report has learned that some sources have stepped forward with their harassment complaints. 

Reisdorff and his lawyer declined to comment further.

Under the board’s normal rotation, Ma would become president-elect and then president of the board, which oversees the board's staff, including Reisdorff.

His departure from OHSU, where he earned a base salary of nearly $270,000 a year excluding clinical pay, ends 12 years of expansion in the emergency department. Ma tripled the budget and staff and formed partnerships with three outside emergency departments -- Tuality Healthcare in Hillsboro, Adventist Medical Center in Southeast Portland and Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria. At the same time, many faculty members grew disgruntled with his leadership, accusing him of playing favorites, retaliation and harassment.

You can reach Lynne Terry at [email protected].