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University of Kansas Joins Initiative to End Sexual Harassment

The University of Kansas Medical Center has joined an initiative that seeks to put an end to sexual harassment and gender inequality in the realm of health care.

The medical center, along with the schools of Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing, joined the Time’s Up Healthcare movement, a branch of the Time’s Up Now organization which initially focused on sexual harassment within the entertainment industry.

“We believe that sexual harassment and gender inequality have no place in the health care workplace,” Robert D. Simari, executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center, said.

With 73 percent of faculty, 77 percent of staff, and 80 of students within the University of Kansas Medical Center School of Health Professions being female, school officials said they will also examine and strengthen its structures and processes to create a safe, respectful and equitable workplace for women. The school also reaffirmed its ‘zero tolerance’ policy for any form of sexual harassment or gender discrimination.

“This culture represents one of the major emphases of the School of Health Professions in our continued efforts to recruit and retain a diverse workforce,” Abiodun Akinwuntan, dean of the KU School of Health Professions, said.

A 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that more than 50 percent of female faculty and staff experience sexual harassment throughout their time in academia.

Earlier this month, the National Academies started a Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education, uniting colleges, universities, research, and training organizations to conduct research and develop practices to address all forms of sexual harassment.

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