U of Maryland med school names several female execs amid harassment scandal

The Baltimore-based University of Maryland School of Medicine announced several policy changes in light of a plethora of allegations against medical school officials claiming the institution served as a "hostile work environment" for women, the Bristol Herald Courier reports.

The school's initiative involved promoting several women to executive leadership roles, creating a committee to make recommendations and assess progress, and launching an email address for people to write to with concerns or questions, according to the report.

"Addressing these issues starts with assembling a diverse leadership team which can help guide us through this process of making real substantive cultural changes," E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, dean of the medical school and executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, said in a statement obtained by the Bristol Herald Courier.

University officials told the publication they take allegations of misconduct seriously and have taken steps to address the broader cultural issue. Officials said some of the issues stem from a lack of diversity among leadership. Prior to the policy changes, 25 department chairs at the medical school were men, while one was a woman, the report states.

The new leadership appointments include promoting women to positions like COO of the medical school, senior associate dean for medical student education and associate dean for medical student admissions. With the changes, women will now make up roughly 43 percent of the dean's executive cabinet and 23 percent of the medical school's senior leadership.

The policy changes come on the heels of several harassment allegations by female residents and medical school faculty. University officials received an anonymous letter from women at the institution outlining its culture and a "hostile work environment" in the school and its affiliated hospital, the Baltimore-based University of Maryland Medical Center.

Roughly eight months later, a 31-year-old former research coordinator filed a lawsuit against the university claiming she was sexually harassed by a male vascular surgeon and professor from 2014-17 and that university officials ignored her pleas for help, according to the report.

To access the full report, click here.

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