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OHSU statement on breach of contract allegations

*** OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, shared this message with the OHSU community Monday, July 12, 2021 ***

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. 

OHSU logo (stylized depiction of a flame in signature yellow, green, blue, and dark grey, with "OHSU" written below the flame)

Dear OHSU community members,

We want to make you aware of a legal complaint received July 8 that could be filed with the court and reported by the media at any time. In sharing this information, we want to be as transparent as possible without compromising the integrity of any potential litigation.

The complaint is by a former resident and alleges breach of contract, civil rights violations, sexual harassment and discrimination based on national origin, each of which OHSU denies, and the majority of these were the subject of a previous lawsuit, which was dismissed by the court.

Although we are declining to share additional specific information about the former resident due to privacy concerns, OHSU remains committed to ensuring the safety of our members and our patients. Additionally, the full complaint has been shared with Covington & Burling, LLP, the law firm we retained to conduct an independent investigation of institutional harassment, discrimination, retaliation and racism at OHSU.

As the state’s public academic health center, it is our mission and responsibility to train the next generation of health care professionals to provide safe, high-quality care to the people they serve. Through our accredited residency and fellowship programs, faculty physicians supervise and work closely with residents to ensure they meet the requisite level of skill outlined by specialty-specific Review Committees that operate under the authority of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The ACGME is a national organization that sets quality standards for the training programs and sponsoring institutions that prepare physician trainees to practice medicine in their chosen specialties. 

With that in mind, we are steadfast in our desire to provide a supportive work and learning environment that is safe, respectful and welcoming to all.

A range of assessments, from multiple perspectives and personnel, are used to determine if residents are meeting expected benchmark expectations as they progress through training. If a resident is not meeting benchmark expectations, an array of interventions and accommodations may be deployed to help the resident succeed, including mentorship, advising/coaching, simulation exercises, direct observations, executive coaching, psychology and psychiatric appointments, referrals to the Resident and Faculty Wellness Center, extensions of training, and leaves of absence from training, if necessary.

Regrettably, despite extensive support processes, some residents are unable to meet program requirements and are recommended for dismissal. With health and safety first and foremost in our minds, the decision to dismiss a resident is extremely difficult for all involved and only undertaken as a last resort after appropriate due process.

We understand that the journey to becoming an independent, practicing physician is long and arduous, and that residency training in an ACGME-accredited training program is incredibly demanding, especially at teaching hospitals and regional referral centers like OHSU, where we see a large volume of our region’s and the nation’s sickest and most vulnerable patients.

Sincerely yours, 

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

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