Incidence and Group Comparisons of Harassment Based on Gender, LGBTQ+ Identity, and Race at an Academic Medical Center

Emily A. Vargas, Sheila T. Brassel, Chithra R. Perumalswami, Timothy R.B. Johnson, Reshma Jagsi*, Lilia M. Cortina, Isis H. Settles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: A key recommendation from the landmark National Academies report called for research examining experiences of underrepresented and/or vulnerable groups, including people of color and sexual-and gender-minority people. We examine the prevalence of gender policing harassment (GPH), heterosexist harassment (HH), and racialized sexual harassment (RSH), by gender, LGBTQ+, race, and department grouping, which has not been previously examined in academic medicine. Materials and Methods: All faculty (n = 2723), fellows, residents, and first through third year medical students (n = 1822) at the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) who had been working at the organization for at least 1 year were invited to complete a 20-minute online survey. We assessed harassment within the past year, perpetrated by insiders (i.e., staff, students, and faculty) and from patients and patients' families. Results: A total of 705 faculty (25.9% of the targeted sample) and 583 trainees (32.0% of the targeted sample) were in the analytic sample. Women were significantly more likely to experience GPH from both sources than men, and LGBTQ+ individuals were more likely to face HH from both sources than cisgender heterosexual participants. Underrepresented minorities, Asian/Asian American, and female participants had higher rates of RSH perpetrated by insiders. There were significant department-group differences across harassment types. Conclusions: Less-studied forms of harassment are common within academic medicine and are perpetrated from various sources. Identity-based harassment should be investigated further to gain a comprehensive understanding of its impact within academic medicine. Clinical Trial Registration Number not applicable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-798
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • academic medicine
  • gender harassment
  • heterosexist harassment
  • racialized sexual harassment
  • sexual harassment
  • workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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