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Sexual harassment in medical academia

In Florida and around the country, the #MeToo movement has received a great deal of attention. Some associate workplace sexual harassment with the entertainment industry. But it is also prominent in a less likely field. Recent research has determined the medical profession to have an unwanted culture of predatory conduct. This is especially true in the area of medical academia.

A study was released nine months ago by a nationwide academy that provides research to the medical field and other science-oriented disciplines. The results of the study were eye opening if not shocking. The survey that was a part of the study indicates that nearly half of those training in medical academia experienced some form of unwanted sexual advances. These unwanted advances range in severity from inappropriate sexual comments to assault. The proportion of harassment incidents is double that of other science-based fields. The study further stated at nearly 80 percent of these acts went unreported. For those who did not report an incident, more than half felt either nothing would be done or feared reprisal.

Some blame the culture on the stress medical professionals endures and the long hours they work. Others point to the fact that this area remains male dominated at the top. Currently, 85 percent of deans or department heads are men. Many nationwide medical organizations, top teaching clinics and universities are recognizing the problem. New codes of conduct are being drafted. Training seminars and educational classes are being conducted daily. These organizations now sense the need for culture change.

Workplace sexual harassment no longer needs to be tolerated. However, despite state and federal laws that prohibit it, it remains a problem. People who have been victimized by this type of conduct might want to meet with an employment law attorney to learn what recourse they might have.

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