Collaboration results in Confidental Advocate Program for OHSU

April 17, 2018

OHSU has been awarded an Oregon Department of Justice grant to launch a Confidential Campus Advocate Program in 2018-19 to support survivors of sexual assault and harassment across the institution.

The successful $364,000 grant (plus $116,000 in-kind waiver) resulted from the work of three M.D./Ph.D. students who teamed up with OHSU leaders as an outgrowth of faculty-led listening sessions about sexual harassment this winter. 

"This is a model for the kind of teamwork that is necessary and possible to build the safe, welcoming and inclusive environment we want and need at OHSU," said OHSU Provost Elena Andresen, who joined Laura Stadum, director of the OHSU Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Office, and Jackie Wirz, Ph.D., assistant dean for graduate student affairs, OHSU School of Medicine, and the students to apply for the grant.Grant applicants

"We went from feeling like we were banging on the door to being invited to the table to make a positive system change at OHSU," said Kelsey Priest, M.P.H., who joined fellow M.D./Ph.D. students Caroline King, M.P.H., and Jacqueline Emathinger who brought the idea for the grant forward. King learned of the grant through her service on the Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Taskforce.

In addition to a full-time program coordinator and confidential advocate program, the grant supports a web-based reporting app through a partnership with Karen Eden, Ph.D., professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology, OHSU School of Medicine. There will also be a 24-hour behavioral health hotline available to support the entire OHSU community.

The grant will also allow for collecting anonymous data that will contribute to development of a proposal for long-term, sustainable infrastructure development.

OHSU is working across missions to address concerns about sexual harassment and discrimination and to foster a culture of wellness, diversity and inclusion, including these resources:

The School of Medicine is also identifying well-being resources to support faculty, staff and students.

"We have some of the brightest minds and the most passionate learners, faculties and staff members here at OHSU," said School of Medicine Dean Sharon Anderson. "This is just one example about what we can accomplish when we put our minds to it and work together."

All OHSU students, including postdoctoral students and medical residents, are invited to a student leadership kick-off meeting for grant activities on Wednesday, May 2, 6 to 8 p.m. Please if you plan to attend.

Photo courtesy of Caroline King: (left to right) Caroline King, Jackie Wirz, Kelsey Priest and Jacqueline Emathinger gathered for a celebratory photo upon receiving news of the grant award.