Harassment based on gender, race or other distinctive factors of identity are difficult issues. Statistically, 58% of residents report unwanted sexual overtures during learning activity. The links below give national statistics on sexual harassment in medical learning environments, and show why it is a particular problem during medical school and residency.
Residency programs are governed by the ACGME requirements on harassment. The ACGME requires the following residency programs:
VI.B.6. Programs, in partnership with their Sponsoring Institutions, must provide a professional, equitable, respectful, and civil environment that is free from discrimination, sexual and other forms of harassment, mistreatment, abuse, or coercion of students, residents, faculty, and staff. (Core)
VI.B.7. Programs, in partnership with their Sponsoring Institutions, should have a process for education of residents and faculty regarding unprofessional behavior and a confidential process for reporting, investigating, and addressing such concerns. (Core)
If you are concerned about behaviors in your program, you have several internal options. First in line to speak to is your Program Director. Should that seem problematic, reach out to your Designated Institutional officer. In Wise County FM or IM, that is Bernie Sergeant; in Abingdon, Lynn Elliott. If reasons exist to feel uncomfortable with this approach, Matt Loos can be contacted directly. GMEC has his contact number if you need it. GMEC’s office is 276-639-7911.
You may also choose the anonymous Virginia Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Hotline, which is open 24/7 every day of the year (and can be offered as a resource to patients as well):
Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
Statewide Hotline 1.800.838.8238
LGBTQ+ Helpline 1.866.356.6998
If these options hold barriers for you, GMEConsortium listens with confidentiality to assist you in making self-directed decisions. GMEConsortium is not affiliated with any residency program and does not have regulatory or supervisory authority to impact the personnel or rotations within any residency. GMEConsortium is not required to discuss your conversation with any hospital system or the ACGME. If you do want to contact administration within the ACGME Accredited residency program or Ballad system, we can assist to ensure anonymity. If you want to tell your story and stop there, we count your experience in our statistics but take no action. Those statistics are shared in aggregate and will never include individual information.
The same is true for concerns regarding inappropriate or difficult activities around student or resident racial and ethnic identity issues. GMEC’s contact number is 276-639-7911.
(It is worth clicking on the link to the report embedded in the article above.)
The perils of intersectionality: racial and sexual harassment in medicine
(From the article above, female doctors of color are more likely than male colleagues of color to experience verbal harassment based on race, and equally likely with female white colleagues to be sexually harassed.)