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Practice Management

Sexual Harassment in Ophthalmology

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Sexual harassment is a significant issue in the US, and it appears that the field of ophthalmology is no exception, researchers reported during the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 2018 annual meeting in Chicago.

Researchers from the University of Washington, Duke University, and Tufts University sent an anonymous survey through the Women in Ophthalmology listserv in March 2018 to nearly 1,700 ophthalmologists and trainees who practice or train in North America. Nearly 450 responded, almost all of whom were female. Nearly two-thirds were white, ~one-fourth were Asian, and 6% were black. Among the results: 

  • 6 in every 10 said they experienced sexual harassment ranging from offensive comments to rape.
  • Nearly half reported such incidents occurred within the last 5 years. 
  • Only 15% reported their most severe experience to an authority. 
  • 8 in every 10 victims were trainees.
  • Other victims included private practice attendings (10%) and academic faculty (11%). 
  • Geographic distribution of incidents reported: 17% West; 26% Midwest; 19% South; 34% Northeast; 3% Canada.

Cabrera M, Enyedi L, Ding L, MacDonald S. Survey on sexual harassment in ophthalmology. Poster presented at: AAO 2018 annual meeting; October, 26-30, 2018; Chicago.

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