Bridging the Divide

A retrospective

Comprehensive cancer care for people living in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington.

The crowd of supporters at the opening of the CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative was just a small slice of the community support made the dream of bringing comprehensive cancer care to the North Coast a reality.

After more than seven years of preparation by Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH), the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, and the community of Astoria, Oregon, the CMH–OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative opened its doors to patients and the community in October 2017.

More than 1,000 community members toured the new 19,600-square-foot facility during opening events. The Cancer Collaborative expands existing medical oncology and chemotherapy treatment services and brings much- needed radiation oncology and radiation therapy to the North Oregon Coast.

“This has been the biggest community-supported project I’ve seen in my career here at CMH. The fundraising efforts and community partnerships have been remarkable,” says Erik Thorsen, chief executive officer (CEO) of CMH.

The project became a reality with the support of many people, including Astoria’s former mayor Willis Van Dusen; Sonny Park, MD; William “Bill” Armington, MD; Robert Raish, MD, formerly of OHSU; and so many more.

Cancer care at CMH has grown from a single room in the hospital to a full-service center.

“We found a great partner in OHSU. This program would not be here if we didn’t have their support,” Thorsen says. “Our collaboration with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is a significant enhancement to the healthcare services available to our community. We are working to bridge the divide of accessible healthcare services locally. Our growing partnership with OHSU aims to continue bringing medical advancements to the North Coast.”

Read more from the Winter 2018 issue of the CMH Health Compass.