People of Providence Spotlights

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

John McDonald, M.D.

JohnMcDonaldSpotlight Medical director,
Women and Children’s Services Providence, Oregon

Education and training

  • College: Stanford University
  • Medical school: University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Pediatric residency: OHSU
  • Neonatal fellowship: CVRI at UCSF/Mt. Zion Hospital

Where did you grow up?
Chippewa Falls in west central Wisconsin.

Why you built your career at Providence
I began part time at Providence St. Vincent in 1986 and then went to Providence Portland as an advisor on newborn care. Later I helped establish the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Providence St. Vincent and regional newborn services. Today I’m medical director for women and children’s health. Throughout my Providence career, I’ve been honored to help lead programs that serve our patients and fulfill our vision of serving all with excellence and compassion.

What’s your dream for Providence in Oregon?
I feel strongly that we should never lose our focus of caring for those who are unable to speak for themselves – especially babies and children.

What are your hobbies?
Gardening. I like helping children and plants grow and develop!

What’s a great Providence memory?
Several come to mind: The first time we had seven languages spoken in our new NICU, our work to eliminate the risk of brain damage in babies from jaundice, and learning together as a NICU team to create a program recognized nationally for our clinical quality.

Who were your mentors?
Jane Smith, RN, Greg Van Pelt, Fr. John Tuohey and Nancy Church, RN, are a few who immediately come to mind. I have been blessed with many long-lasting relationships here, with people whom I admire for their kindness and thoughtful service to our community.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
Philanthropy has been and continues to be the wellspring of our innovation. Many of our initiatives wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without generous donors. The clinicians we attract today want to participate in clinical research – something we could never do without philanthropy. I believe strongly in our philanthropy and have made a commitment to it myself.

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Lori M. Tam, M.D.

Tam_LoriMedical Director, Women’s Heart Program
Providence Heart Institute

Education and training
  • Cornell University
  • Brigham & Women’s Hospital /
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Johns Hopkins University

Why Providence?
I was born and raised in Portland and volunteered in high school as a candy striper at Providence. I believe in Providence’s Mission of caring for the poor and the vulnerable, and I’m grateful to work alongside world-caliber colleagues who provide the highest quality care and push the envelope of innovation.

What’s your dream for Providence Cancer Center?
As the highest-volume cardiac health system in Oregon, Providence is uniquely positioned as the leader in high-quality care. That means we must continue to lead in cardiac prevention and wellness, both for the broader community and especially for women and underserved groups.

What are your hobbies?
I have three young children, so my time away from work is devoted to quality time with them. I participate in their school events, take them to sports activities and garden with them. I also enjoy taking my infant to Mommy & Me yoga classes.

Who were your mentors?
Dr. Steven Schulman and Dr. Nisha Chandra-Strobos at Johns Hopkins and Dr. Donald Girard at OHSU taught me the science of medicine and cardiology. More importantly, they taught me that humanity and humility are the foundation of our daily work in caring for people

What’s a favorite Providence memory?
We took care of a young mother who had a severe heart attack due to a rare condition that is much more common in women. We helped her survive and recover from her heart attack so she can see her son grow up.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
The generosity of our donors allows Providence to provide clinical and prevention services as part of the Providence Women’s Heart program. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, and 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. Our goal at Providence Heart Institute is to empower women with the knowledge and tools to live a life of wellness.

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Eric Tran, Ph.D.

EricTranSpotlight Antitumor T-Cell Response Laboratory
Earle A. Chiles Research Institute
A division of Providence Cancer Institute

Education and training

  • Bachelor of Science and Ph.D., University of Victoria, B.C.
  • Postdoctoral training, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

Where did you grow up?
On the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in a small town called Ucluelet.

Why Providence?
Providence gave me a great opportunity and outstanding support to develop my adoptive T-cell immunotherapy program. We have very talented research and clinical teams, and together we’re dedicated to developing effective new therapies for patients with cancer.

What are your hobbies?
I try to stay in shape with a little running and weight training. I also hope to get back into basketball, tennis and badminton soon.

What’s a great experience you’ve had at Providence?
I’m honored to meet and get to know the people who provided so much philanthropic support toward developing my research lab and program. I’m also thankful for the simple things such as the day-to-day lab experiments, along with interactions and scientific discussions with my colleagues.

Who were your mentors?
Early on, my parents instilled in me the importance of being kind and working hard, two simple things that make this world a better place. My interest in science was piqued by my wonderful high school science teachers Alton Crane and Rosemary Lane. My love for immunology and research training was influenced by my graduate studies mentor, Dr. Brad Nelson. I was mentored at the National Cancer Institute by Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, a pioneer and leader in cancer immunotherapy.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
Philanthropy is essential to my work. Scientific experiments unfortunately can be expensive, especially when leading-edge technologies are needed to help develop the medicines of tomorrow. I would not be here without philanthropic support, and it warms my heart to know there are many kind and generous people helping us in our efforts to finish cancer.

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Glenn S. Rodriguez, M.D.

ProfileGlennRodriquezProgram director (retired)
Providence Milwaukie Family Medicine Residency Board member,
Providence Milwaukie Hospital Foundation

Education/training/service:

  • Stanford University
  • Case Western Reserve School of Medicine
  • Family Medicine Residency, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle
  • Indian Health Service, Navajo Nation, New Mexico

Where did you grow up?
I spent my youth in Madras, Ore., – a great place to grow up in the 1950s and ‘60s. My father was an attorney for 40 years in Madras, and my mom the first dietitian at the Madras hospital.

What were early influences in your career?
Four years serving the people of the Navajo Nation was a formative experience. It set the stage for my career of building robust primary care models to serve vulnerable patients and communities.

Why Providence?
Throughout my 20-year career at Providence, I was grateful for the commitment of the Sisters of Providence “to reveal God’s love for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, through our compassionate service.”

Your dream for Providence?
To shape the future of health care by applying Providence’s core values of compassion, respect, excellence, justice and stewardship whenever we educate future physicians.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy running, biking, gardening and backpacking. The last few years I’ve grown to love poetry. Before my mother died, I spent many hours reading poetry aloud to her.

How does philanthropy help support future doctors?
My wife Molly and I support the family medicine endowment at Providence Milwaukie. We’ve seen first-hand what it means for communities to have access to quality primary care.

What’s a great Providence memory?
One of my first patients was an older woman named Edna Key. She had some complex medical issues and gave very helpful feedback about her care. At my request, she even gave a presentation to Providence leaders about her experiences. Edna was the authentic voice of those we serve.

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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 philanthropy matter 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.

ResaBradeen

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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Bernard A. Fox, Ph.D.

BernardFoxCSChief, Laboratory of Molecular and Tumor Immunology
Harder Family Chair for Cancer Research
Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center
Earle A. Chiles Research Institute
Providence Cancer Center

Education and training:
  • University of Detroit (B.S. and M.S.)
  • Wayne State University (Ph.D.)
  • National Cancer Institute (fellowship in cancer immunotherapy)

Why Providence?
I was on the faculty at the University of Michigan when I heard from Dr. Walter Urba at Providence. He had a vision to develop a cancer immunotherapy program and asked me to join him. I’ve been here over 23 years. I’m inspired by our patients, donors, research team and the progress we’ve achieved so far to finish cancer.

What are your hobbies?
For the last 11 years I’ve been developing UbiVac, a biotechnology start-up that Dr. Hong-Ming Hu and I founded based on cancer vaccine technology developed at Providence. We’ve completed one trial and are planning another to combine two agents developed at Providence for patients with breast cancer.

What’s a great Providence memory?
Twenty years ago we successfully treated a young woman with advanced breast cancer using a first-in-human cancer vaccine. I saw her again last year, and she described watching her two daughters grow to adulthood.

Who were your mentors?
My sixth-grade science teacher, Sister Marion, instilled a love of science. Dr. William Nunez at the University of Detroit introduced me to immunology, and Dr. Stephen A. Rosenberg at the NCI taught me how to move scientific discoveries in animals into new therapies for humans.

Why does philanthropy matter?
A major component of a scientist’s work is submitting grants, and it can take a year or two to receive any money. Philanthropy allows us to start a project faster and fill in financial gaps. At Providence, philanthropy has played an important role in every first-in-human study we’ve performed. Also due to philanthropy, I’m honored to hold the Harder Family Endowed Chair for Cancer Research, which allows Providence and our patients to participate in the global immunotherapy community.

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R. Bryan Bell, M.D., D.D.S., FACS

BryanBellCSDirector, Providence Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Program and Clinic;
Investigator, Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center at Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Cancer Center
Education and training
  • D.D.S., Creighton University
  • M.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Surgical training, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Why Providence?
Providence doctors are leaders in cancer immunotherapy, which is transforming the practice of oncology. I came to Providence to help build a head and neck cancer program with world-class clinicians and scientists.

What is your dream for Providence in Oregon? As a cancer surgeon and researcher, my goal is to u
ltimately put myself out of a job. The work we’re doing at Providence using the immune system to fight cancer will fundamentally change treatment and may render current therapies obsolete.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy spending time with my family, fishing, golfing and traveling.

What’s a great memory you’ve had at Providence?
One of my former patients, Becky, is a young mother and wife who underwent extensive treatment for advanced oral cancer, including using both fibula (leg) bones to reconstruct her jaw. She later ran the Boston Marathon in under four hours, and today she is six years post-treatment and lives happily without cancer!

Who were your mentors?
My father, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon-scientist, was never satisfied with the status quo. He took problems he encountered in his clinical practice to the laboratory, studied them, and translated what he learned back to his patients for the best treatment.

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
Government funding for cancer research is near an all-time low. That means we rely more than ever on philanthropy to discover new treatments, such as anti-OX40 – an immunotherapy currently in early-phase trials for patients with head and neck cancer – that was developed entirely at Providence.

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Stanley L. Cohan, M.D., Ph.D.

ProfileStanleyCohan Medical director
Providence Multiple Sclerosis Center

Education and training

  • Undergraduate: Kenyon College
  • Graduate/medical school: State University of New York Downstate Medical Center

Where did you grow up?
New York City and its suburbs.

Why Providence?
I built my career here because Providence provided opportunities to bring the highest level of clinical care to patients with multiple sclerosis and to create a robust clinical research program.

What’s your dream for Providence?
My goals are twofold: To educate physicians and the public that multiple sclerosis should be treated assertively, and to provide comprehensive care that encompasses the many issues facing people with multiple sclerosis.

Your hobbies?
Art, music and travel.

Major achievements at Providence?
We established the Providence Multiple Sclerosis Center, which now cares for more than 2,500 patients from Oregon and throughout the West Coast – more than any other facility in Oregon. We also developed (in partnership with the Oregon Chapter of the National MS Society) the Pacific Northwest MS Registry. With 4,000 people currently on the registry, this helps us better understand MS and improve the care for all patients with this disease.

Who were your mentors?
My patients and their families teach and mentor me every day!

Why does philanthropy matter to your work?
Without philanthropy we couldn’t conduct quality, independent research free of the vested interests of outside groups. Because of our donors’ generosity, we can pursue research that has the well-being of our patients front and center. Together, we’re using our energy, resources and knowledge to create a regional network so patients can receive the highest standard of MS care, regardless of where they live and receive their care.

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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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