Sexual Harassment Awareness and Education Committee

University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine

Active Bystander Training

An active bystander can make a difference in pointing out instances of harassment that they witness. Training can help bystanders assess a situation to determine what kind of help might be appropriate, evaluate options, and choose a strategy for responding. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed an outstanding website that discusses approaches for taking action as a bystander: Active Bystander Training

Title IX

Title IX is landmark federal civil rights legislation that prohibits sex discrimination in education, including sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence. Title IX protects all members of the University community: students, staff and faculty from sexual or gender-based misconduct, including discrimination, harassment, and assault. The Title IX Office at Pitt is available to answer questions and to assist any member of the campus community dealing with sexual harassment or misconduct.

Contact information for the office is as follows:

Katie Pope, Title IX Coordinator
2nd Floor Webster Hall, 4415 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

All Pitt faculty members are mandated reporters to the Title IX office, which means that they are required to report incidents of harassment or discrimination that they witness or learn about.

Responding to a TItle IX Disclosure (PDF)
Title IX Complaints-Contacts (PDF)

Articles and Reports

Eleven Things Not to Say to Your Female Colleagues:  Female physicians and healthcare professionals experience many sex‐related adversities. According to a recent report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), the prevalence of sexual harassment in academic medicine is almost double that in other engineering or science fields. An estimated 30–70% of female physicians report that they have experienced sexual harassment in the medical workplace. As explained in the NASEM report, sexual harassment can range from a single comment to direct sexual overtures. Other hurtful comments, many of which are unintentional, also are common and are referred to as “micro‐aggressions” or “microinequities.” Such behavior is exhibited primarily, although not solely, by men and is predominantly directed at women. These things are problems not only within medicine in general, but also in the specialty of neurology and the subspecialty of headache medicine.

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Experiences of Academic Medical Faculty: Recent high-profile cases of sexual harassment illustrate that such experiences still occur in academic medicine. Less is known about how many women have directly experienced such behavior. Most studies have focused on trainees, single specialties, and non-US settings or lack currency. In a 1995 cross-sectional survey, 52% of US academic medical faculty women reported harassment in their careers compared with 5% of men. These women had begun their careers when women constituted a minority of the medical school class; less is known about the prevalence of such experiences among more recent faculty cohorts…

Sexual Harassment in Medicine — #MeToo: The news is filled with stories of celebrities who have engaged in egregious sexual misconduct. A recent poll suggested that more than half of U.S. women have experienced “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances” at some point in their lives. Because I led a study of workplace sexual harassment in medicine, I was not surprised when reporters contacted me for comments on the recent disclosures. When a secretary filling in for my usual assistant relayed one reporter’s request, she told me she presumed the story was about my personal experience of sexual harassment. Disturbed, I leapt to correct her misapprehension: I was being sought out as a scholarly expert, not a victim. Then I wondered why it seemed so urgent to make that distinction…

Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Sexual Harassment of Women explores the influence of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce. This report reviews the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine are victimized by sexual harassment and examines the existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers. It also identifies and analyzes the policies, strategies and practices that have been the most successful in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in these settings…

Time’s Up for Medicine? Only Time Will Tell: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently released a report on sexual harassment of women working in academic sciences, engineering, and medicine. Its findings are deeply disturbing: sexual harassment is common across scientific fields, has not abated, and remains a particular problem in medicine, where potential sources of harassment include not just colleagues and supervisors, but also patients and their families. To highlight one statistic, as many as 50% of female medical students report experiencing sexual harassment. Imagine a medical-school dean addressing the incoming class with this demoralizing prediction: “Look at the woman to your left and then at the woman to your right. On average, one of them will be sexually harassed during the next 4 years, before she has even begun her career as a physician…”

NIH Workplace Climate and Harassment Survey Key Findings: BackgroundHarassment has negative consequences for those harassed and for science, public health, and NIH. The cumulative effect of sexual harassment is a significant and costly loss of talent in academic science, engineering, and medicine, which has consequences for advancing the nation’s economic and social well-being and its overall public health.

Changing the Culture to End Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a serious, pervasive problem that harms the well-being and careers of researchers and undermines our society’s investment in science. As the largest public funder of biomedical research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is uniquely positioned to transform the culture of science to prevent sexual harassment and mitigate its detrimental impacts Marked failures of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 are well documented in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and demonstrate the urgent need to develop new partnerships to address this challenging problem.