Studies Show Addressing Behavioral Issues Critical to Promoting Accountability and Creating Safe and Respectful Culture
As the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) continues its focus on ensuring a safe, respectful, and inclusive work environment through its Culture Transformation Initiative (CTI), UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, has announced the formation of a new committee that will specifically address faculty and staff behavioral issues.
The committee, called the Dean’s Behavior Advisory Committee (DBAC), was part of the initial School-wide plan for the CTI developed by Dean Reece and the late Nancy R. Lowitt, MD, EdM, FACP, formerly Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development, and which was launched in late 2018. This Committee is based on studies by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and others, showing that disruptive behavior by individuals significantly reduces the organization’s ability to develop a culture of safety and respect for all. In addition, these studies show that an early emphasis on teaching professionalism and addressing disruptive behavior in training may prevent subsequent incidents.
The DBAC will be chaired by Peter Rock, MD, MBA, the Martin Helrich Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, with Jill RachBeisel, MD, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, serving as Vice Chair. Specifically, the committee will work in conjunction with established UMSOM and UMMC policies to review professionalism issues involving SOM faculty and staff. The Committee will work collaboratively with Departmental leadership, and provide advice on developing comprehensive responses and professional development programs for behavioral issues.
“As we work toward the long-term success of our Culture Transformation Initiative, we must do everything we can to advise and support Department Chairs and Institute/Center/ Program Directors in addressing issues of professionalism, and creating a professional and respectful work environment for everyone,” said Dean Reece, who is also Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “We have selected a group of stellar faculty members for this committee who, under the leadership of Dr. Rock and Dr. RachBeisel, will advise chairs, directors, and me, in addressing these issues in a fair, consistent, and deliberate manner, as well as supporting their efforts in teaching professionalism and personal growth.”
In addition to Dr. Rock and Dr. RachBeisel, members of the UMSOM faculty who will serve on the DBAC include:
- Christine Lau, MD, MBA, Professor and the Dr. Robert W. Buxton Chair of Surgery
- Jay Magaziner, Phd, MSHyg, Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
- Elias Melhem, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, and immediate past-President of the UMMC Medical Staff
- William Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO, Professor and the Isadore and Fannie Schneider Foxman Chair in Radiation Oncology, and President of the UMMC Medical Staff
- Tony Lehman, MD, MSPH, Professor of Psychiatry and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
- Peter Crino, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology, and President- Elect of the UMMC Medical Staff
- Rodney Taylor, MD, MPH
Professor and Chair, Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
- Susan D. Wolfsthal, MD
Celeste Lauve Woodward, MD Professor in Humanitarian and Ethical Medical Practice and Associate Chair,
Department of Medicine
- Mary J. Njoku, MD
Matjasko Professor in Anesthesiology Research. Department of Anesthesiology
Dean's Behavior Advisory Commitee
Dr. Rock and Dr. RachBeisel commented:
“In creating this Committee, Dean Reece is continuing to provide strong support of our collaborative goal to create and sustain an environment of respect and professionalism throughout the School of Medicine. Together, we will continue to promote accountability and improvement so that everyone may experience a safe and productive workplace. Professional misconduct will be addressed quickly and effectively. In addition, we will ensure that faculty and staff have access to appropriate professional improvement resources. We strongly believe that personal development is part of an effective professionalism program."
Kimberly Lumpkins, MD, MBA, FACS, FRCS(Eng), Associate Professor of Surgery in the Divisions of Pediatric Surgery and Urology, and President of the UMSOM’s Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) organization, said:
“Toxic behaviors in the workplace have been demonstrated to decrease morale, increase employee turnover, and reduce productivity of organizations. The power imbalances inherent to medical education can make addressing these behaviors seem impossible. This committee is an ideal mechanism for UMSOM leadership to strengthen our institution through the Culture Transformation Initiative.”
Donna Parker, MD, FACP, Associate Professor of Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, added: “The work of the newly formed DBAC will certainly add to our tools for addressing conduct issues in our workplace. Providing a collegial, inclusive, and respectful environment is tremendously important for our learners, as such an environment promotes learner engagement and curiosity. We strive to create a workplace which models the behavior we hope our students to display as they become physicians.”
The CTI continues to initiate a wide range of activities, programs, and committees that are dedicated to making both short-term and long-term changes in critical areas, such as policy enactment, professional development, equity in faculty promotions and compensation, and culture/climate research.
A key component of the Initiative, to be supported by the DBAC, is the focus on professional development and professionalism. According to James Kaper, PhD, the James & Carolyn Frenkil Distinguished Dean’s Professor, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, and Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, there is a need to further strengthen our faculty development programs in these areas.
“The CTI has already made a major difference in the UMSOM environment,” Dr. Kaper said. “However, the work is never complete. It is an ongoing process to continuously monitor and improve the work environment, and to provide the development and training required to continuously raise the level of professionalism. The DBAC will play a critical role in ensuring a professional and respectful work environment for everyone.”
From its inception, the CTI has been a collaborative effort between UMSOM, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The DBAC will play an integral role in this partnership.
“Our UMMC team of over 10,000 people cares for hundreds of patients and families every day across both campuses and a wide array of programs and services,” said UMMC Interim President Alison Brown, MPH, BSN. “We are pleased to partner with the Dean’s Behavior Advisory Committee to strengthen our efforts in building a culture of respect and professionalism. A culture like this is foundational to providing safe, high-quality care, as well as providing every person with a place that is safe to speak up, and reduce harm to the people we serve, teach and inspire,” she added.
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 45 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic, and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has more than $540 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 student trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu