OCOM Announces Interim President

Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) today announced the selection of Trustee Deborah Howe, PhD, FAICP as Interim President, pending the retirement of current President Michael J. Gaeta, EdD after his 10 years of service to OCOM.

Dr. Howe has served on the OCOM Board of Trustees since 1998 and brings visionary leadership, extensive planning and development experience to her new role. Howe also has 30 years of experience in higher education, during which she served in both administrative and faculty positions at Temple University and Portland State University.

“I am looking forward to returning to a wonderful, cosmopolitan city,” says Dr. Howe. “As an urban planner, my professional and scholarly work focuses on creating healthy communities with an emphasis on planning for an aging society and creating built environments that allows for active, healthy living. Portland is the epitome of a healthy community and as such is a wonderful setting for OCOM. The college’s downtown campus contributes to the city’s livability. “

OCOM’s recent sale of its former campus and clinic properties in southeast Portland is another key part of the strategic operational and leadership transitions for the college. The sale marks the completion of a significant period of change and growth for the institution, culminating in the appointment of a new interim President with deep ties to the City of Portland.

OCOM’s current campus and clinic facility features sustainability upgrades, including LEED Gold certification, and enhanced access to public transportation. “I intend to emphasize stewardship and sustainability,” says Howe. “These two concepts involve fundamental respect for what OCOM has and will accomplish, effective management of existing resources, and putting the systems in place that ensure the college’s long-term resiliency. I am committed to supporting the processes and culture that ensure that we have an exciting and fulfilling place to work and study. My approach is to listen to what is needed and collaborate with others in making things happen.”

In reflecting on his time as President, Dr. Gaeta says, “OCOM’s vision to be the preeminent educational destination in the U.S. for anyone seeking a graduate degree in Chinese medicine continues to find healthy expression through the efforts of our community. Just as relocating our campus — a major strategic initiative from our 2005 Strategic Plan — doubled the size of our physical plant and more centrally located us in Portland, we also must continue to expand our relationships to stay abreast of, as well as ahead of, the accelerating curve of change.

“The appointment of Dr. Deborah Howe as OCOM’s Interim President is very exciting. Her intimate knowledge of OCOM and higher education will serve the college exceptionally well as we navigate the dynamic landscape of higher education and health care reform. Her long-standing involvement with the college and familiarity with higher education will be of great benefit to OCOM as she continues the work of stewarding our current strategic plan formulated last spring.”

A celebration honoring Dr. Gaeta’s legacy and the presidential succession is scheduled for June 27, 2015on OCOM’s campus. The ticketed Cherry Blossom Gala is open to the community. Tickets and additional information about the event are available online at: ocom.edu/events-public/cherry-blossom-event.

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About Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM)

Founded in 1983, OCOM is a single-purpose nonprofit graduate school that offers two specialized degree programs: Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM). OCOM’s mission is to transform health care by educating highly skilled and compassionate practitioners, providing exemplary patient care, and engaging in innovative research within a community of service and healing. Our 1,300 graduates practice, teach and research Chinese medicine in 43 states and across the globe, and have provided an estimated 10 million treatments during the past 32 years. In 2012, OCOM relocated its campus and clinic to a LEED Gold certified academic, clinic and research facility in Old Town Chinatown. Additional information about the college is available on our website.

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