Mistreatment and Other Unprofessional Behaviors Directed at Students and Trainees

Purpose and Scope

This policy clarifies expectations for educator actions and behaviors related to mistreatment and other unprofessional behavior directed at students and trainees. It details how learners can report mistreatment and unprofessional behaviors directed at them and how the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) program, Graduate Medical Education (GME) program, and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) and the ISMMS affiliated hospitals (collectively “Mount Sinai”) review and handle such reports. This policy also provides a process for reporting and recognizing positive behaviors and excellence in teaching or mentoring.

Mount Sinai is dedicated to providing its students, postdocs, residents, clinical fellows, faculty, staff, and patients with an anti-racist learning environment of respect, dignity, equity, inclusion, trust, and support that protects civil and professional discourse and is free from mistreatment and other unprofessional behaviors directed at students and trainees. Mount Sinai is also committed to ensuring an environment in which students and trainees feel free to report such behaviors without fear of retaliation.

Educators (defined broadly to include anyone in a teaching or mentoring role, including faculty, postdocs, residents, clinical fellows, nurses, staff, and students) bear significant responsibility for creating and maintaining this environment. As role models and evaluators, educators must practice appropriate professional behavior toward, and in the presence of, students and trainees, who are particularly vulnerable given their dependent status.

Everyone at Mount Sinai deserves to experience a professional learning and working environment. These guidelines supplement the institutional policies on professional conduct, discrimination, harassment, grievances, and sexual misconduct; will assist in developing and maintaining optimal learning environments; and encourage educators to accept their responsibilities as representatives of ISMMS in their interactions with colleagues and patients. This policy is closely aligned with our institution’s Cultural Transformation efforts, the ISMMS Racism and Bias Initiative, and related policies.

Mistreatment and unprofessional behaviors directed at students and trainees interfere with the learning environment, adversely impact well-being and the trainee-mentor relationship, and have the potential for negatively impacting patient care and research. Inappropriate and unacceptable behaviors can promote an atmosphere in which mistreatment and unprofessional behaviors directed at students and trainees is accepted and perpetuated in medical and graduate education. Reports relating to the clinical setting will be reviewed in accordance with the principles detailed in this policy as part of the relevant hospital’s quality assurance program.

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