Sexual harassment has become a common theme in news headlines, between the #MeToo movement bringing the prevalence of harassment to light and the #TimesUp movement’s call for action to combat harassment. The field of medicine is facing its own #TimesUp moment. Emergency physicians Esther Choo, MD, MPH, associate professor at the Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and Dara Kass, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, weighed in on the prevalence of sexual harassment in the medical field and the damage it is doing to the house of medicine in a recently published article in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article focused on a recent report about sexual harassment, stating:
“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.1 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.”2
AECP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief, Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, posed some questions to Dr. Choo and Dr. Kass about their article and the NASEM report. Here are their responses.