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OCOM Announces Interim President

The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Logo The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Logo

The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) recently 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. She 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,” said 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,” said Dr. 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 said, “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.”

For more information, visit www.ocom.edu.