A farewell to my Institute family

Fred Berman, DVM, PhD

“All good things must come to an end”. These words, attributed to Chaucer in 1374, certainly hold true as I contemplate my “semi-retirement”, beginning after next week. Yes, I’m leaving OHSU after 18 fabulous years associated with the Institute (once known by another name, complete with acronym, which we no longer use).

Indeed, a lot more than a name change has occurred during my years at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences. When I started, social media was in its infancy, and we were only scratching the surface to utilize the potential of the Internet in reaching out to our Oregon constituency and beyond. I can remember numerous trips to the OHSU library to find and make copies of articles from research journals and other publications, which I provided to callers seeking information on chemical and other agents present in their workplaces. Now, I just pull up a PDF file from the Web and attach it to an email, or direct them to our web resource page – which brings another issue into play: that of getting enough exercise and avoiding a sedentary work life. I digress……

With our name change, and new Director, Steven A. Shea, I was able to experience other exciting advancements at the Institute, not the least of which was a philosophical change in how we approach worker safety and health. The NIOSH concept of Total Worker Health™, considering not just what we do at work, but also everything else outside of work as important to overall worker health, well-being and productivity, has altered our focus in exciting ways. The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center came into being as a result. Now, the research conducted at the Institute is integrated into this concept, resulting in a new level of collaboration and inquiry into areas that include sleep and its impact on health and well-being.

What I will miss most when I retire is the daily interactions with the many talented and dedicated people I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. I can’t think of a more enjoyable place to work based purely on the collegial atmosphere created by my friends here. I plan on staying in touch by any means possible. Thanks Kent, Dede, Steve, Peter, Dan, Helen, Anjali……and all the other hundreds of folks I would like to list here if I could. And thanks to all those I have had the pleasure of serving over the years.

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