Professionalism Campaign Update

June 27, 2019

To:Faculty, Students and Staff

From:J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD

Photo of J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Perelman School of Medicine’s Professionalism Campaign, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on what the Campaign has accomplished, the positive impact it is having on our culture, and what we still hope to achieve.

The Campaign, under the direction of Lisa Bellini, MD, Senior Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, was launched last May, and included the appointment of Jody J. Foster, MD, MBA, as Assistant Dean for Professionalism. Dr. Foster, clinical professor of psychiatry and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania Hospital, is an expert on workplace behavior and serves as the Campaign’s executive director.

Our goal when the Campaign was launched was to elevate the culture of Penn Medicine, an aim reflected in the campaign slogan RISE (for Respect, Integrity, Self-care, and professional Etiquette). At a time when workplace incivility commands national attention, we aspire to be a model of professionalism, and we are approaching the issue in a novel way.

At one time or another, many of us have encountered or heard of disruptive behaviors in the classroom, lab, or clinical setting. At the same time, we have all seen behaviors we admire. Those best behaviors – often involving the willingness to intervene with one another in the moment, when issues arise -- are the basis of the RISE Campaign. We are determined to create a psychologically safe environment at Penn Medicine, where direct, timely feedback is the norm. The RISE Campaign applies to every member of our community -- faculty, students and staff.

What have we done to advance this goal? To date, the RISE Campaign has undertaken an extensive listening tour and “roadshow” across departments to raise awareness and surface issues. A broadly representative advisory group has helped to develop materials that define the core values and behavioral tenets that unify all segments of the Penn Medicine community. A ten point Code of Conduct is available on the Professionalism Website. With the support of the Penn Medicine Academy (PMA), we have reached thousands of managers across Penn Medicine to announce the Campaign and discuss representative cases. We are also working with PMA to develop a “success profile,” which will be integrated into our hiring practices and selection of awardees, particularly for our newly created Van Dusen Award for exemplary professionalism.

In addition, we have added professionalism metrics to our faculty appointment, reappointment and promotion process. Professionalism language will also appear in all of our offer and compensation letters. Training on how to have the often-difficult conversations necessary to intervene in cases of unprofessional behavior are underway with vice chairs and other leadership designees for each clinical and basic science department.

As the RISE Campaign progresses, we will continue to define and align policies and procedures for investigation and remediation of lapses in professional conduct across Penn Medicine. We will also work to expand the reach of the Campaign, with the goal of encouraging everyone who works, teaches, and learns at Penn Medicine to bring their best selves to work each day.