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About OSH Psychiatry

Psychiatry Department

The Oregon State Hospital Psychiatry Department's psychiatric practitioners include MDs, DOs and psychiatric nurse practitioners. With nearly 50 positions over two campuses, the psychiatry staff members provide direct patient care and lead the interdisciplinary teams for each patient unit. On forensic units, they provide expert restoration to fitness and give court testimony for persons adjudicated as guilty except for insanity.

Psychiatry plays an integral role the hospital's performance improvement efforts. The doctors and nurse practitioners are the clinical leaders of the hospital, and they drive our emphasis on clinical excellence.

In addition, the Psychiatry Department has a significant commitment to academic pursuits and career development — with a strong partnership with Oregon Health and Science University and other local medical schools. Attending psychiatrists regularly host medical students, residents and geriatric and forensic psychiatry fellows. Additionally, staff members have the opportunity to involve themselves in clinical research.

Interim Chief of Psychiatry

Michael “Saul" Farris, M.D. was born in Columbus, Miss., and grew up in Benton, Ark. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2013. He came to Oregon to complete a psychiatry residency at Oregon Health and Science University in 2017. During his residency, Dr. Farris fell in love with the natural beauty of Oregon and chose to stay at Oregon Health and Science University, completing a forensic psychiatry fellowship in 2018.

He joined Oregon State Hospital's Psychiatry Department in 2018 and was a unit psychiatrist for two years before becoming the Director of the Forensic Evaluation Service in 2020. He became the Interim Chief of Psychiatry in May of 2021.

Dr. Farris is dual boarded in General Adult and Forensic Psychiatry. His primary areas of interest are forensic and administrative psychiatry. In his free time, he likes to explore the forests of the Pacific Northwest with his family.

Interim Chief Medical Officer

Sara Walker

Sara Walker, M.D. moved to Oregon to follow her passion for working with people with severe and persistent mental illness. Dr. Walker has been treating patients at Oregon State Hospital since 2006 and has served in leadership roles since 2010. She spent four years as the president of the Medical and Allied Health Professional Staff and more than six years as the Chief of Psychiatry before stepping into her current position as the interim Chief Medical Officer in 2020.

She obtained her medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and completed her residency at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. She is board certified in psychiatry and is a strong supporter of academic training at Oregon State Hospital. She is also a strong supporter of career development through on-the-job learning about topics such as forensic psychiatry and leadership.

Since assuming the role of Interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Walker has played an integral part in guiding the hospital through multiple crises (both acute and chronic), improving collaboration between clinical disciplines and administration, and responding effectively to the changing needs of our patients and the behavioral health system in Oregon.

Dr. Walker is a champion for excellence in patient care and development of high-performing teams who are flexible, collaborative and patient-centered. As such, she prioritizes open communication, ensuring clinicians have the information and resources they need to be successful, and providing clinicians with a voice in how to most effectively provide treatment in a complex system.