USF Health COO resigns following concerns of preferential treatment given to assistant

Edmund F. Funai, MD, COO of Tampa-based USF Health and senior vice president for strategic development of USF System, resigned, according to a Tampa Bay Times report. The move comes soon after an internal investigation that focused on Dr. Funai's relationship with his assistant, April Ingram.

The investigation found no evidence of a relationship between the two that violated USF policy. However, USF System President Judy Genshaft planned to demote Dr. Funai, noting that she was not sure he "understood or appreciated the management counseling" he underwent with regard to appropriate boss-employee relationships, according to the report. Before Ms. Genshaft could demote him, Dr. Funai resigned.

An anonymous complaint first cast light on the potentially inappropriate relationship. The complaint noted that Dr. Funai and Ms. Ingram traveled and had meals together. More complaints arose showing that staff felt Dr. Funai displayed favoritism toward Ms. Ingram. The internal investigation that followed did not find that the two had an affair; however, it did find inconsistencies in the way Dr. Funai and Ms. Ingram each described certain incidents. The USF investigator concluded, "There is evidence that could support the perception that Dr. Funai gives Ms. Ingram preferential treatment or perks not typically expected of a supervisor," according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Both Dr. Funai and Ms. Ingram maintain that their relationship was not inappropriate and have expressed concerns about the investigation. Ms. Ingram has been "moved to an office outside of USF Health," the Tampa Bay Times reports, while Dr. Funai resigned to take on a role at another university.

"[When I joined USF Health], I was in environment and culture where there was a lot of work to be done," Dr. Funai told Becker's Hospital Review. "I was the subject of some anonymous complaints regarding an assistant who, ironically, is a family friend and who has babysat my child before. Unfortunately, in this Harvey Weinstein climate, it was made into something it was not. It was hard to work for an organization where you were under consistent and anonymous attack."

In addition to his senior leadership roles at USF Health and USF System, Dr. Funai was vice dean for administration at Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa. He came to USF Health in November 2014, after serving as interim dean of Columbus-based Ohio State University College of Medicine and COO for the five hospitals within the OSU Health System.


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