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OHSU provides additional information about comprehensive, independent investigation led by Covington & Burling LLC

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Content warning: In support of trauma-informed communications, please be aware that this message contains topics that may be activating for survivors of gender and racial violence. The Confidential Advocacy Program can be reached 24/7 by calling 833-495-2277. Additional resources for OHSU members are available here.

 

This message was shared with the OHSU Community Thursday, April 8, 2021.

 

Dear OHSU Community,

As we move forward in our work to create meaningful change at OHSU, we are writing to provide additional details regarding the investigation announced last week.

We firmly believe our people are OHSU’s greatest asset, and we are confident that engaging former Attorney General Eric Holder, Nancy Kestenbaum, and their colleagues at Covington & Burling LLP is an important way we can support our members and the community we wish to create.

Although the recent litigation against OHSU and a former resident is one reason why we have commissioned this investigation, that lawsuit will be addressed through a separate legal process. This investigation is not about a single incident, and it’s not about individual people. Rather, Covington’s investigation will examine our culture — including our policies, programs and procedures — from a wider lens to help us identify root causes and identify or create ways to address areas requiring improvements. Some of the concerns and challenges OHSU faces are not unique to our university, and that is why we have called upon the Covington team. They will apply their experience conducting reviews for other complex organizations to a close examination of our culture, processes and procedures.

To that end, the independent investigation will be a searching examination of:

  1. Systemic inequitable treatment, discrimination, harassment, bullying or intimidation based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, marital status, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression in the OHSU community.
  1. How OHSU has handled, and should handle going forward, reports of inequitable treatment, discrimination or harassment based on these characteristics, or based on other differences due to power dynamics, or retaliation for reporting these types of improper conduct.

The Covington investigators will work as swiftly as possible while applying the experience, sensitivity, and judgment that such an investigation requires. We expect their investigation to take at least six months.

If you would like to share your experiences or observations with the Covington investigators, you will have the ability to contact them by email, voicemail or U.S. mail. We will broadly share more information on how to contact Covington, in multiple languages and in various forms, soon.

Engaging Covington and undergoing this process is a significant investment, but we believe that the investigators’ extensive experience and expertise will result in a comprehensive and independent analysis that would otherwise be impossible. This work is imperative to improve our institution and is critically important to our long-term success. It is also the right thing to do. We look forward to embarking on this journey with you all.
 

Sincerely yours,
 

Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS
President

Wayne Monfries
Chairman
OHSU Board of Directors

Previous Story OHSU retains former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of Covington & Burling to lead comprehensive, independent investigation of institutional harassment, discrimination, retaliation and racism