Accrediting Investigators Will Visit OHSU Twice

OHSU Hospital photo.jpg

An accrediting council plans two investigative site visits to Oregon Health & Science University, following the filing of a sexual assault lawsuit against a former anesthesiology resident.

The timing of the visits are yet to be determined, Dr. Christopher Swide, OHSU’s associate dean of graduate education, told students and employees in an internal message. The investigation could lead to serious ramifications for the institutions if officials find that the administration has fostered an environment in which harassers are protected and victims suffer retaliation, as the lawsuit claims.

Filed in late February in U.S. District Court in Portland, the civil suit accuses Dr. Jason Campbell, a former anesthesiology resident at OHSU, of sending a former OHSU social worker pornographic messages and photos and of pressing his erection against her at her current place of work, the Portland Veterans Affairs hospital across from the OHSU campus on Marquam Hill in Southwest Portland. It accuses OHSU of being complicit by fostering an environment that allows predatory behavior while punishing those who complain. OHSU denied the allegations in its response to the complaints. Campbell has not yet responded.

On March 12, about two weeks after the suit was filed, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education sent OHSU a “formal letter of complaint,” Swide’s note said.  

“The letter detailed allegations made in the lawsuit, including ‘a learning and work environment that is permissive of and ineffective at addressing sexual misconduct,’” Swide wrote. OHSU responded on March 31, the note said. The institution did not immediately respond to a request from The Lund Report, which first revealed the investigation, for that response.

In his message, Swide said: “OHSU welcomes the ACGME’s role as its Graduate Medical Education accreditor and looks forward to working with ACGME to address any concerns.”

The council investigators will prepare a report following their two visits, which could lead to no action, referral of the report to a review committee to consider in the accreditation process or referral to the council’s board of directors in connection with the accreditation of OHSU’s graduate programs, Swide wrote.

If investigators find wrongdoing, the council could issue a warning, put OHSU or its anesthesiology program on probation or withdraw accreditation from one or both. The Chicago-based council issues accreditation to institutions and their graduate programs that provide on-the-job training for doctors who’ve finished medical school. Accreditation is required for an institution to receive federal funding and for physicians to become certified by a national medical board.

The lawsuit has attracted national attention, shining a light on how OHSU handles sexual harassment complaints. In response, OHSU hired former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to co-lead an investigation of OHSU’s work environment and its handling of complaints about racial and gender bias and predatory behavior.

OHSU has yet to respond to a public records request from The Lund Report for the contract with Holder’s high-powered law firm, Covington and Burling, based in Washington D.C.

You can reach Lynne Terry at [email protected] or on Twitter @LynnePDX.


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