Caregiver Spotlights

Meet some of the doctors and executives at Providence who are shaping the future of health care.

Walter J. Urba, M.D., Ph.D.

ProfileWalterUrbaDirector, cancer research, Robert W. Franz
Cancer Research Center at Earle A. Chiles
Research Institute, Providence Cancer Center

Education and training
  • B.S., Rutgers University
  • Ph.D., UCLA School of Medicine
  • M.D., University of Miami
  • Post-graduate work, National Cancer Institute

Why Providence?
The opportunity to build an immunotherapy research program from scratch was a great attraction. Other key reasons were the vision and support of hospital leaders and major philanthropists Earle M. Chiles and Robert W. Franz.

What’s your dream for Providence Cancer Center?
Our goal is to make a difference in the lives of our patients. This includes leading the first immunotherapy global clinical trial for patients with melanoma and working to offer patients a new OX40-based immunotherapy developed in our labs. We’re working to develop new cancer therapies that help patients worldwide.

What are your hobbies?
Spending time with my grandsons, Ethan and Caleb – swimming, playing catch or chess, going to movies and attending their sporting events. I also enjoy reading, especially biographies and history.

Who were your mentors?
My mother and father. Her battle with breast cancer had a major influence on how I care for my patients. And I’m fortunate to have had many professional mentors throughout my career.

What’s a favorite Providence memory?
In 1998, my mentor, Dr. Dan Longo, came here from Harvard Medical School to speak when I received an endowed chair in cancer research from Lynn and Jack Loacker. Another highlight was getting OX40 to the clinic with the help of our philanthropic community.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
About 70 percent of cancer research at Providence is funded through philanthropy. None of us does this alone. Scientists, doctors, donors – we’re all a team.

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Dave Underriner

ProfileDaveUnderriner Chief executive
Providence Oregon

Where did you grow up?
I was born at Sacred Heart (a Providence facility) in Spokane where my father was the hospital administrator. We came to Portland when I was 13.

Education and training
B.S. in forest products from Oregon State; masters in health care administration from University of Washington

Why Providence?
I grew up around health care. My father was the first non-sister administrator of a Providence hospital, and I saw the joy and passion he had for his work. It is such a privilege to work with outstanding caregivers to serve the Providence Mission, and I’ve had great mentors throughout my career such as John Lee, Greg Van Pelt and Russ Danielson.

What’s your dream for Providence?
The passion of our teams to create hope for our patients through excellent care and research is amazing. Every day they focus on ways to better manage, cure and prevent illness and disease. Together, we can change the face of health care in our communities.

What are your hobbies?
I’ve been married for 35 years, and Barbara and I have two adult children, Julie and Michael. We enjoy doing many things together as a family. My daughter and I recently ran our third Hood to Coast Relay. Running is a good way for me to spend time with my daughter and manage the stress of my work.

What’s a favorite Providence memory?
I remember vividly the day we received approval to build the new cancer center at Providence Portland. I am forever grateful for the outstanding support we received from our donors. Because of them, we’ve been able to create one of the premier cancer centers in the country.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
Generous individuals, foundations and corporations have been instrumental in making Providence a national leader in key areas such as cancer research, cardiovascular care and more. Their support propels Providence forward to grow and provide exceptional care for those we serve.

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Dan Oseran, M.D.

DanOseranExecutive medical director,
Providence Heart Institute
Chair, Providence Cardiovascular
Leadership Council

Education and training
  • Harvard College
  • U.C. San Diego Medical School
  • University of Washington
  • Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Why Providence?
I grew up in Portland, so it feels good to give back to my home town. It’s especially rewarding to work for an organization whose values are lived out every day. Providence is a unique organization that remains steadfast to its history and mission – while also advancing cutting-edge cardiovascular care for the next 50 years.

What’s your dream for the Heart Institute?
Our goal is to be recognized as the leading provider of patient-centered cardiovascular care on the West Coast and to be a national leader in how we think about and address heart disease prevention and wellness.

What are your hobbies?
I collect books, mostly first editions of 19th and 20th century British and American literature. Also, Portland is a great town for food. There’s a great little pizza place in the Cully neighborhood that’s like going back in time. I won’t tell you exactly where it is … finding it is part of the fun!

Who were your mentors?
I really admire Dr. Leonard Cobb, who was at the University of Washington when I studied there. He got me interested in sudden cardiac death, which ultimately led to my career in electrophysiology. Also, I learned a lot from Dr. Jeremy Swan at Cedars Sinai, who co-invented the pulmonary artery balloon catheter.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
Donor support always helps us advance care for our patients. Just as one example, we have one of the top sites in the country for replacing aortic valves with catheters instead of open heart surgery. We couldn’t have done that without donor support. Philanthropy helps us innovate, grow programs, and attract physicians who are visionary and committed to being the best.

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Paul J. Duwelius, M.D.

PaulDuweliusOrthopedic surgeon
Research director,
Providence Orthopedic Institute

Education and training
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Creighton University
  • Creighton University Medical School
  • University of Nebraska Orthopedic Residency
  • University of California-Davis
    Orthopedic Trauma Fellowship

Why Providence?
I wanted to develop a total joint practice at Providence St. Vincent, which I believe is the best total joint hospital in the region. We are leaders in the fields of total joint arthroplasty and total joint surgery.

What’s your dream for Providence?
My dream has been developing the Providence Orthopedic Institute during the past six years. The institute includes a region-wide total joint registry, clinical outcomes research and orthopedic education.

What are your hobbies?
My wife Sarah and I recently spent three months on a sabbatical, hiking in New Zealand and mountain biking in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. We like spending time with our three children, Maureen, Connor and Maggie, and our grandchild, Zoe. I also enjoy fly fishing, bird hunting and biking.

What’s a great experience you’ve had at Providence?
My best experiences all relate to the people here. My partners are amazing, and we work together to provide the best patient care. I’m incredibly grateful for people such as Carolyn Winter in the foundation and Janice Berger in hospital administration who have supported the development of the orthopedic institute.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
Without philanthropy, we wouldn’t have a nationally recognized institute that publishes quality research, educates orthopedic residents and fellows, and provides the best care for our patients. Philanthropy has allowed us to hire surgeons and researchers who are national leaders in their field.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Just that I want to express my gratitude for the people who support us. We’re far ahead of the national average for length of stay and discharge disposition – and this improved care is largely funded by philanthropy.

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James Beckerman, M.D.

James Beckerman, M.D.Medical director,
Cardiac Prevention + Wellness,
Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

Why Providence?
I’m very invested in my patients and our community. Providence provides an incredibly authentic atmosphere to care for people and help them become the best versions of themselves.

Your dream for Providence in Oregon?
I believe strongly in our Mission of providing care for everyone, especially the poor and vulnerable. I’m excited to share our community-based prevention programs with people who need us.

What are your hobbies?
I’m a family guy and have two sons. We live to travel, and each year we plan a new “Beckertrek” somewhere in the world. I exercise every day and recently became a certified yoga teacher. I love being outside.

Who were your mentors?
My parents and my older brother. They’re not physicians, but they model the compassion, creativity and determination I try to bring to work every day. My wife inspires me to care about people as individuals, which is essential to caring about the community.

What are some memorable patient stories?
(1) Helping guide a teenager through heart surgery and five years later watching in the stands with his parents as he caught an interception during his final college football game.

(2) Helping an avid cyclist recover from a heart attack, and later jogging with him as part of our Heart to Start community exercise program.

How does philanthropymatter to your work?
Our donors’ generosity allows me to provide my patients with access to the best cardiac care and technology in Oregon. Philanthropy also means we can bring this care into the broader community. We’ve provided 12,000 free heart screenings to children through our Play Smart™ program, we’ve trained hundreds of people to exercise through Heart to Start … and we’re just getting started!

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Resa Bradeen, M.D.


Senior medical director
Regional Children’s Services
Providence - Oregon

Education and training
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - B.S., elementary education and M.Ed., special education
  • University of Louisville Medical School
  • Oregon Health Sciences University - pediatric residency

Why Providence?
I worked as a private practice pediatrician in Portland for 20 years. I felt drawn to Providence because of the organization’s Mission and the opportunity to make a difference for future generations. There are so many children with developmental, neurological and behavioral challenges. Providence is a leader in providing these important services, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

What is your dream for Providence?
I want Providence to be a center of excellence in Oregon for children’s health, especially for special and complex health care needs. Providence cares for tens of thousands of children every year. I want every child and family that comes to Providence to receive the highest level of care, and to feel the unbelievable compassion that exists throughout the organization.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy camping, traveling, boating and other outdoor activities. I also like hosting large gatherings for all the seasonal traditions.

What are some of your best experiences at Providence?
The 2015 Festival of Trees, which benefited developmental services for children, was gratifying and inspiring. This is such a huge area of need across Oregon. There were so many pediatricians, family medicine physicians, health system leaders and community members who attended the gala and supported the cause.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
There is so much to do in children’s health! We must get upstream and invest in promoting health prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and with young children. When children do have challenges, it’s important to invest early so they can develop to their full potential. Philanthropy helps provide long-term resources and programs that improve a child and family’s entire future.

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