Patient Care

URMC CEO Mark Taubman: Report to Spark Deeper Dialogue and Action

Jan. 11, 2018

Yesterday afternoon, a team led by attorney Mary Jo White released the long-awaited findings of its independent investigation.

The report contains a great deal of information to digest and recommendations to consider - and it deserves everyone's thorough review and thoughtful discussion. We have already begun this important conversation, and this report will help us take it to the next level. It reinforces a few key points on which I hope we can all agree.

  • Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct are issues that all large organizations must address.
  • Whatever you believe about this particular case, every organization - including this University and our Medical Center - needs to strengthen efforts to make every member of its community feel safe, welcome and supported.
  • To the extent this case has propelled our University into the national conversation about sexual harassment, we can and should use the opportunity to become best in the nation at addressing it.

One of our Medical Center's strategic goals is to be the preferred destination in which to study, learn, practice, and work. In the last few years, we've established an office dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusion, nationally recognized programs for supporting and mentoring students, and multiple channels for reporting misconduct. In the last few months, Dr. Linda Chaudron, our associate vice president and senior associate dean for Inclusion and Culture Development, has been working with academic leaders and students to improve communication and reporting processes for learners who've experienced mistreatment.

A lesson we should take from recent events, however, is never to assume we are doing enough. We will now use this report to spark an even deeper dialogue about how to prevent harassment consistently and quickly and fairly resolve issues when they arise. To this end, we will expand our efforts to prevent mistreatment that may occur between all individuals, especially in situations where there is a power differential.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the resignation of Joel Seligman, which was also announced yesterday. Throughout his 12 years as University President, Joel has been a staunch supporter of the University, the Medical Center and the Rochester community. He's championed key recruitments, facilities expansions, and other critical strategies that have made us successful. I am grateful for the support he's given to me personally and professionally. Most importantly, Joel has, from day one, insisted on a more centralized University that's strengthened by the talents and resources of each school and division.

As we reflect on all that's happened and what lies ahead, our Medical Center must continue to do what we do every day: Deliver clinical care of the highest quality to patients across Upstate New York, make breakthrough discoveries, and foster the bright young minds that will carry forward our legacy. That means providing outstanding opportunities and support so that all students, residents, post-doctoral fellows, faculty and staff can realize their full potential.

This Medical Center shares a long and proud history with the University of Rochester. By working together to implement recommendations of the White report, we can look forward to continued growth and success in the years ahead.