Research Snapshot: Incidence, nature and consequences of oncologists’ experiences With sexual harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace of clinical oncologists remains to be fully characterized. In this study, Merry J. Markham,  M.D., FACP, and  Julia L. Close, M.D., and team conducted a prospective cross-sectional study of clinical oncologists in the United States. The group used a survey with rigorous measures of sexual harassment— encompassing gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion— over the previous year alone and four outcomes, specifically mental health, job satisfaction, turnover intentions and sense of workplace safety.

“Sexual harassment in medicine is a serious concern,” said Dr. Markham. “Our study found that it impacts both men and women oncologists, though more women experience it than men. This has negative impacts on oncologists’ mental health, sense of safety at work and job satisfaction.”

This study presents critical data to inform effective policies to protect the oncology workforce that provides care and produces research that serves patients and society.

“I’m hopeful that our study will help pave the way for productive conversations about how to prevent sexual harassment and protect oncologists from experiencing it in the workplace,” said Dr. Markham.


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