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Consensual Relationships Policy

Policy Purpose:

Mount Carmel Health System (MCHS) is committed to maintainging learning and work environments as free as possible from conflict of interest, exploitation, and favoritism. The supervisor-learner relationship represents a special circumstance and maintaining the integrity of this relationship is important. In cases where one person uses a position of authority to induce another person to enter into a romantic and/or secual relationship, the likely harm to the induced person and to the institution is clear. Ecen in cases where the relationship is deemed "consensual" by the involved parties, significant potential for harm remains when there is an institutional power differential between them. The existence of such relationships may cast doubt on the objectivity of any supervision and evaluation provided. Evan allegedly "consensual" relationships that occur in the context of educational supervision and evaluation can give rise to serious ethical concerns and present significant conflicts of interest.

Therefore, it is the policy of MCHS Graduate Medical Education that individuals in a position of authority defined as those who teach, evaluate, supervise or advise learners, shall not engage in consensual relations with them unless acceptable arrangements are made per the policy.

This policy is directed specifically to individuals involved in graduate and undergraduate medical education.

Definitions:

Consensual Relationships:
Romantic and sexual relationships willingly undertaken by the involved parties.

Position of Authority:
References and includes, but is not limited to, situations in which a faculty member, fellow or resident is responsible for teaching, evaluating, supervising, or advising a learner as part of a graduate or undergraduate medical education program or is in a position to influence any of these activities or processes.

Faculty:
Faculty include both employed and contracted staff serving in a preceptor arrangement with Graduate Medical Education. This applies to teaching within the MCHS and on rotations outside of the hospital such as physician offices. This includes and ancillary personnel involved in education, evaluation, supervising or advising of learnders in a graduate or undergraduate medical education program.

Learner:
Any person engaged in graduate or undergraduate medical education at MCHS. There are occasions where an individual, primarily classified as a learner will assume the role of an individual in a position of authority. For example, a resident may be both a learner (relative to a faculty member or fellow) and a teacher or supervisor (relative to a student).

Procedure:

This policy prohibits consensual relationships between individuals in a position of authority and learners.

In the event such a relationship exists or develops, faculty members, residents, students or other trainees must notify the MCHS Graduate Medical Education DIO and their supervisor (e.g., program director or other responsible administrative official most directly involved in the training program, excluding the person alleged to have violated this Poliocy) of any prohibited relationship in which they are involved; and, have a duty to cooperate in making acceptable alternative arrangements. The alternative arrangements should avoid negative consequences for the trainee.

An individual in a position of authority who fails to report the development of a consensual relationship with a learner will be deemed to have created a conflict of interest and to have violated an ethical obligation owed to learners, other employees, and colleagues. Credible allegations of an individual in a position of authority failing to report the existence of such a relationship obligates the immediate supervisor to conduct a prompt and thorough inquiry to determine whether there is any validity to the allegation. When it is concluded that a prohibited relationship exists, the immediate supervisor shall undertake a resolution to the conflict of interest and may impose sanctions against the person in a position of authority.

Persons in violation of this policy shall be subject to sanctions ranging from verbal warnings to termination of employment or contract depending upon the severity of the offense.

Persons who knowingly make false allegations that an improper relationship exists shall be subject to comparable sanctions.

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