Susan Shugerman is the Assistant Vice Provost for Education Outreach and Collaboration at Oregon Health & Science University, where she has led the growth and development of OHSU’s K-12 science education programs since 2002.
“I've been in that role for 18 years now and I continue to say it keeps getting better,” Susan said. “I love the opportunity to try to crack open the resources of a place like OHSU and make them more available to younger learners. That's really my focus.”
Susan says she continually tries to support teachers and students before they come to OHSU. “Always strengthening pathways into health and science, however I can,” she said.
Outside of work, Susan is an avid dog lover, a mom and a wife. She also calls herself a “lapsed painter.” She has a Master of Fine Arts and Painting and hopes to get back to painting when she has “more creative space in her life.” Susan grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and has lived in Portland since 1994.
Susan served on the Portland Workforce Alliance Board of Directors from 2010 - 2016 and came back to serve on the board in 2020.
How did you get involved with PWA?
"I got involved with PWA originally starting on the second day of my job at OHSU. I will never forget it. The Provost who hired me said, "There's this person who you need to connect with, his name is Kevin Jeans Gail. He's working on business partnerships for schools. Robert Gray Middle School has chosen OHSU as their hoped-for business partner. Could you please introduce yourself to Kevin and get involved? Make something exciting happen for our neighborhood middle school."
"That was the beginning; it morphed and developed and grew from there. That was 2002, the very early days of Portland Workforce Alliance. Things weren’t quite as official way back then – but we've been connected ever since. PWA brings opportunities for connecting with students to a place like OHSU. It's a service to OHSU for PWA to exist and to say: If you're willing, we've got the students and the teachers. We’ve got that connectivity and we can take care of many of the logistics for you to have your people connect. And PWA has been a trusted reliable partner ever since. I was really thrilled to be asked to come back to the board. I'm hoping to bring more intentionality to my board membership as we go forward."
Why does this work matter to you?
"The work is really important to me. We recognize the critical need to diversify the health care workforce for our state and beyond. We know that a person's health improves when they're cared for by a person like them. We have a very diverse state but we do not have very diverse training programs for health providers and scientists. So, it's at the heart of what I'm doing at OHSU to open up our arms and embrace a much more diverse group of youth who might consider bringing their talents to the health sciences. We need lots of different ways of thinking about these complex problems in order to solve them. We need many points of view and many cultural perspectives. I want to strengthen the organization and further PWA’s mission however I can."