Statement attributable to:
Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP
President, American College of Physicians
Washington, DC (July 11, 2018) — The American College of Physicians (ACP) applauds the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s recent study on sexual harassment in academia, science, medicine, and engineering. ACP believes that sexual violence in all professional fields, including the medical community, should not be tolerated.
The physician community knows, and often witnesses first-hand, how sexual harassment and violence can alter a survivor’s health outcomes, including increased morbidity and mortality. Unfortunately, many victims of sexual violence go unrecognized, including our fellow physicians. As medical professionals, our increased awareness and care for our colleagues will ensure that this trend does not continue.
Earlier this year, ACP released a paper on achieving gender equity in medicine, which highlighted how female physicians and medical students disproportionately experience sexual harassment in work environments. The paper affirmed the urgent need to recognize that sexual harassment exists in the medical profession and that we must work to destigmatize reporting and promote meaningful culture change.
In another recent position paper on women’s health policy in the U.S., ACP also stated that individuals who are abused by their partners often experience immediate and long-term negative physical and mental health outcomes that can last a person’s entire lifespan. We believe the same can occur for persons who are sexually harassed in academia and in the workplace. ACP recommended increased availability of effective screening tools for physicians or health care professionals treating survivors of sexual violence, as well as comprehensive patient education about sexual violence and the dissemination of resources for those affected by these abuses.
With sexual harassment at the center of the national dialogue, ACP strongly supports eliminating barriers physicians may face when it comes to helping survivors of sexual harassment and violence. This includes a lack of education and training on the issue, insurance discrimination, and a fear of repercussions from mandatory reporting laws in their states. The College looks forward to seeing more research and data on this issue to address, and prevent, sexual harassment and violence in every industry.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
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