The Tulane University School of Medicine (SOM) is committed to creating and maintaining a positive and respectful environment for its faculty and learners that holds accountable those who do not uphold the tenets of professional workplace behavior. Exemplary behavior by individuals who are exceptional role models for professionalism will be acknowledged.
The Professionalism/Environment of Learning Program is designed to provide an environment that is professional, respectful, inclusive, and intellectually stimulating, and to create a positive learning and work environment in which each individual’s expectation of professionalism is met by members of the community. The Professionalism program allows individuals to report concerns about all aspects of the learning environment. Most important is early intervention to prevent concerning behavior from escalating.
The School of Medicine’s program includes a reporting/tracking system for concerns about the learning and workplace environment. Incidents may be reported through a variety of mechanisms, and will be documented and recorded in a confidential database. Each report will be investigated following the method of the Professionalism Pyramid for Graduated Interventions first developed at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.Click this link to learn more about the Professionalism Pyramid for Graduated Interventions.
A team of three senior faculty will be appointed to review each report as they are received. The role of this team, called the TRIO, is to triage and ensure each concern is thoroughly and properly addressed using the Professionalism Pyramid method as well as to ensure follow up. A senior administrator in the school will be assigned to provide logistical support to the TRIO and manage the database. Incoming reports will be reviewed each business day. The TRIO will also oversee the Professionalism Committee, made up of appointed faculty, trained to be peer awareness intervention counselors. The program is managed as a component of the Dean’s office.
For students, any breach that falls under the purview of the Honor Board should be referred to the Honor Board directly. This procedure is outlined in the April 1999 revision of the Honor Code, available on the Student Affairs website. Such breaches include cheating, stealing, impairing another student’s ability to learn, or acting in a deceitful manner.
For breaches in professional behavior outside of those considered by the Honor Board will be addressed using the method of the Professionalism Pyramid for Graduated Interventions: It issue will first be referred to the Director of Students Support and Wellness for initial informal intervention. If a pattern of behavior emerges, the student would then be refered to the senior associate dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, who will speak directly with the parties involved and reviewing evidence. If further problems arise, the issue will be brought to the Student Professionalism and Promotion Committee for discussion and potential intervention or disciplinary action. (For more detailed information, please see the Student Handbook)
Exemplary treatment of a learner or any member of the learning environment, either experienced or witnessed, can be reported by the same School of Medicine reporting system available to all students, residents and faculty.
For students, residents or faculty:
Perceived inappropriate treatment of a learner or any member of the learning environment, either experienced or witnessed, should be reported by using one or more of the following methods:
For students only:
In addition to the methods listed above, students also have the opportunity to report perceived inappropriate treatment by reporting:
If requested, all reports received by any method will be kept anonymous and confidential. Anonymous reports will be investigated to the extent that specific information is provided. However, full disclosure of the persons involved and the behaviors witnessed can lead to more effective action to correct the problem. Therefore, full reporting of incidents of inappropriate behavior is strongly encouraged to include the names of all individuals involved.
For students, the identity of learners reporting inappropriate treatment can often be protected by delaying action on the report until the learner is no longer vulnerable. Each of the reporting mechanisms described above allows the learner to request a delayed action on the report.
The establishment of a safe environment is a quality improvement initiative and therefore, all reporting is legally non-discoverable.
The School and the University will keep confidential all records of complaints and investigations to the extent permitted by law. To reiterate, behaviors that violate Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments to the Higher Education Act, which include discrimination or harassment based on sex or gender, must be reported by any University official so that they can be promptly acted upon in order to be compliant with federal law.
If a report suggests discrimination, the School is required to notify the University’s Office of Institutional Equity so that an investigation may be initiated.
Behaviors that pose an immediate danger to others (e.g., violence or threats of physical violence, illegal drug use by caregivers in the clinical setting, deliberate violation of patient safety procedures) or are illegal (e.g., stealing narcotics, falsifying patient records) must also result in immediate reporting so that preventative action can be taken.
The success of this Professionalism/Environment of Learning Program in safe‐guarding the learning environment depends on the timely reporting of incidents of inappropriate treatment. In all cases, retaliation, or the encouragement of another to retaliate against the person making such a report or the learner involved is strictly prohibited and if found to exist, will be included in the focus of an investigation and sanctions.
Intentional false or malicious reports of inappropriate treatment by learners will not be tolerated and will be handled as a disciplinary matter in the learner’s program. All reports of inappropriate treatment will be handled confidentially, with the exceptions noted above, and in a manner that affords the accused due process.
Per the Professionalism Pyramid, all reports of inappropriate behaviors will be triaged by the TRIO* for an initial determination of merit. All reports directly affecting a student will be made available to the administrative leadership of the offices of Student Affairs and/or Academic Affairs. If requested by the individual reporting, the timing of a review can be adjusted or delayed to protect them. We encourage all reports to be as detailed as possible to allow for a complete review. Processes for review and follow up will vary depending upon the situation and are summarized as follow:
Of note, this system is NOT meant for residents and faculty to report unprofessional behavior of students, which is an option on the end-of-course and -clerkship evaluations.
4. Reports made about the Dean of the School of Medicine or other senior SOM administrators
The TRIO will determine the level of offense and proceed using the established professionalism remediation protocol for intervention. The TRIO will assign professionalism concerns reported about the Dean or other senior administrators to a member(s) of the SOM Executive Faculty, the University Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, or the President of the University. A resolution report is expected to be returned to the TRIO and Program Administrator within 7 business days of notification.
In all cases, a report will first be made back to the Professionalism TRIO or documented by the Director of Student Support. The person who reported the inappropriate treatment, if identified, will be notified that action has been taken on his/her report by the Program Administrator. Specific details of any action may not generally be revealed.
On a quarterly basis, the TRIO will review the results of the previous quarter and analyze the data for trends. In addition, a overall, de-identified summary will be published for all learners and faculty on a quarterly basis, and posted on the Professionalism/Environment of Learning Program website. A timely review will allow for early intervention for those individuals with recurrent issues. The tracking will include at least a rolling 36-month trend.
Exemplary behavior is essential for the growth of a more accountable, professional environment. Therefore, those residents and faculty who have received exceptional reports will be recognized by the Dean and inducted into the 10 Owls Society, once the individual receives 10 reports.
Tulane School of Medicine has adopted the Professionalism Pyramid for Graduated Interventions for addressing report of unprofessional behavior by faculty. This workflow has been approved by the Executive Faculty of the School of Medicine.