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Addressing Professionalism Concerns

Photo by Robert A. Lisak

Members of the School of Medicine community may choose to address unprofessional or disruptive behaviors directly with the person engaging in the behavior or to share their concerns with a supervisor or leader within their lab, program, section or department.

In some instance, the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team recognizes that these approaches may not be viable alternatives given the nature of the unprofessional behavior, an individual’s discomfort with raising their concerns directly to the party engaging in the behavior or with others in their unit, or when prior efforts to address the behavior have been unsuccessful.

As a result, the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team has implemented a system for confidential reporting, a process for identifying patterns (at the individual or unit level), and an approach to addressing unprofessional, disruptive or concerning behaviors.

Reporting a Concern

Individuals have multiple options for reporting concerns about the behavior of Yale School of Medicine faculty. A report can be filed by any member of the School of Medicine community, including faculty members, members of the Yale School of Medicine clinical or research staff, students or trainees, or staff members.

Patient concerns about physician professionalism should be directed to the appropriate delivery network.

What You Can Expect

The OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team will review reported concerns and take appropriate steps to address them. If you provide your name and contact information, a member of our team will contact you to discuss your concern, provide support, and outline possible appropriate options for moving forward.

Appropriate next steps may include:

  • Consultation: Providing consultation support to the reporting party, section chief, or department chair on a strategy to remediate the unprofessional behavior or the circumstances that prompted the report.

  • Fact-finding: As appropriate, conducting additional fact-finding regarding the allegations.

  • Engagement: Depending on the nature of the concern or the role of the person reporting it, the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team may engage with other university partners and departments such as the School of Medicine's Deputy Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, or University Human Resources to help evaluate and address the concern.

  • Referral: Some concerns are best addressed by the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team’s professionalism partners, such as a Title IX Coordinator, the School of Medicine's Deputy Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, or the University’s Office of Institutional Equity and Access. A concern may be referred to those university offices for resolution.

Interventions to Address Unprofessional Behaviors

The OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team will support and facilitate the implementation of timely and responsive interventions that work to educate and remedy breaches of professionalism and other disruptive or unacceptable behaviors. These interventions will be driven by the character and seriousness of the behavior, the frequency of its occurrence, and whether the behavior has been addressed previously.

In consultation with the appropriate section chief or chair and the dean of Yale School of Medicine, responses to unprofessional faculty behavior and related interventions and sanctions will be situational and fact-specific. Possible interventions may include, but are not limited to:

  • OAPD-Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team support through check-ins or coaching
  • Education through formal training programs
  • Engagement of an external coach to raise awareness of and remedy disruptive, unprofessional behaviors
  • Disciplinary action, including but not limited to, removal from administrative leadership roles or termination

Examples of Unprofessional Behaviors

While not exhaustive, the following is a list of behaviors that undermine Yale School of Medicine’s shared vision of professionalism.

  • Bullying or verbal abuse, such as public humiliation, degrading comments, insults, or name-calling
  • Identity-based discrimination or harassment
  • Sexual misconduct, discrimination, or harassment
  • Scientific misconduct
  • Violation of financial policies and requirements
  • Inappropriate disclosure of confidential information
  • Threatening others with physical harm or punishment
  • Engaging in physically aggressive or threatening actions
  • Failing to follow required protocols
  • Financial mismanagement

Confidentiality and No Retaliation


Concerns raised with the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team are treated with utmost discretion, and the confidentiality preferences of the individual making the report will be respected to the extent possible.

The OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team will explore with you the issue of confidentiality to ascertain your preferences and parameters. The team will honor your request for confidentiality, except in the event of potential criminal conduct and/or an immediate or ongoing threat to your safety or community safety. Where there is a request for confidentiality or a report is made anonymously, the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team will attempt to address the concern, to the extent possible, given these constraints.

Anonymous reports will be investigated to the extent specific information is provided, but identification of the persons involved, and the unprofessional behaviors, will facilitate more effective action to correct the problem.

No Retaliation

University policy prohibits retaliation against persons who, in good faith, report alleged violations of Yale policy or the law, or who provide information in connection with the investigation of these matters.

When investigating or attempting to resolve a professionalism concern, the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team reinforces with faculty members that retaliation against complainants, reporters, or other individuals who provided information in connection with its investigation or resolution of a concern, is prohibited.

If you believe that you have been retaliated against for raising a concern with the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team or for raising a concern through one of the University’s other complaint processes, you should notify the OAPD Academic Professionalism and Leadership Team, or the university office that handled your complaint, as soon as possible.