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There's very unsettling news at @MountSinaiNYC, and I'm going to write a long thread about it.

With it, I plan to share a relevant experience I've never publicly discussed and I will offer ideas of action steps.

I hope you'll to read this thread, share what's happened, and act.
You should read this if you care about honesty and treating people decently.

You should read this if you worked or trained at @MountSinaiNYC.

You should read this if you care about #GlobalHealth, #PublicHealth, #AcademicTwitter, #MedTwitter, research ethics, or labor/HR issues.
It details a suit filed on April 26th alleging gender, age, and religious discrimination by 7 women and 1 man.
Now before I go any further, I want to say that I have been sitting with this news for 2 days. Struggling with it. Emotionally digesting it.

Because I know these people. Defendants, plaintiffs, others mentioned. I've worked with some of them. I'm friends with some of them.
Writing this is, frankly, VERY uncomfortable. It'd be easier to just share the article privately with a few people.

But here's the thing. I read the 174 page suit. Every page of it. And I am absolutely appalled.

This need our time and attention and thought and struggle.
Do yourself a favor. Read the actual suit itself.

The full 174 pages are here: sciencemag.org/sites/default/…

(All the background runs through page 123, the rest is the legal case)
Sadly, this is not a boring legal document. Those 123 pages are a relentless stream of mistreatment and enabling and more mistreatment.

Again, I highly recommend you read it all but if you're not convinced, do yourself a favor and go read pages 2-5: sciencemag.org/sites/default/…
But let me share with you some of the more egregious situations from this suit.
Dennis Charney, Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, appoints a selection committee to find someone to run their global health institute.

They select an accomplished, qualified, female professor.

Charney emails her calling her an "IDIOT."
A search committee finds Charney's favored candidate for Director unsuitable.

Charney responds by overriding them and hiring his candidate as director AND also Vice Chair of Population Health in the Department of Medicine.
What ensues?

People who had been at the institute were then demoted, given tasks unfit for their role, insulted directly, badmouthed behind their backs.

Basically, they couldn't be fired without cause, so work was made miserable for them. And so many quit.
Now the people who were ousted immediately or later were mainly women, and often older. Selective mistreatment turns toward downright abuse. And this discrimination and abuse are what the suit names.

Again, read it, each example is egregious in its own right.
There's also a lot more including lying to donors including the US government.
Violations of HIPAA and research ethics and giving people shit for caring about privacy and consent and IRBs.
All of this would be bad enough. Dishonesty, violation of research ethics, and ageist and sexist discrimination.

But the vile inhumanity of how it went down is what particularly brought me to tears at time.
People were gaslit, retaliated against, given mixed signals, told investigations would be confidential (they weren't).
And during and after all this, Charney and HR are informed, and little comes of it except continued harm and suffering. There's a little bit of extra supervision but a lot of enabling.
Reading the entire suit, you come away feeling emotionally drained. It does a good job capturing what went down. And that's just reading it. These 8 plaintiffs and others LIVED IT. They deserve recognition for their character and courage. The 8 plaintiffs
Natasha Anushri Anandaraja
Holly Atkinson
Emilie Bruzelius
Mary Caliendo
Humale Khan
Geraldine Llames
Amanda Misiti
Stella Safo

You have my deepest admiration.
Now I'd like to tell you my story. It's unrelated to what went down here except for one character and I think he is central to it all.
It's May 29, 2009

I am 25 year old 2nd year medical student.

I am 4 weeks away from taking Step 1, one of the biggest, most stressful tests for medical students.

I'm back at Sinai, after sometime with my mom who had major thoracic surgery.
It was busy time, but Ken Davis, CEO of Mount Sinai, had written a paid op-ed (an 'advertorial') in the NYTimes to be a thought leader (barf) and the thesis was that to get more drug innovation we needed LONGER patents.
As a member of @UAEM who believed that patents are a needless barrier to people getting the medicines they need and deserve, I had been angry and disgusted and activated.

Charney and Davis had assented to having a panel on drug access and innovation.
They had allowed some pro-access people to speak, but Charney had already packed the 75 minute panel with others. And on that Friday 3 days before the actual panel, I heard from his office that he wanted to add one more person.
5 people speaking seemed... crowded. Adding a 6th at the last minute seemed over the top.

And disrespectful to our panelists who were traveling in just for this event.

I asked to speak to Charney and was told he would call me.
Around 5pm, I'm doing practice questions for the Step 1 exam, and I get a phone call.
Dennis Charney, Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, screaming:

I was pretty calm and the conversation went fine in that the panel happened (with his addition), but that was a pretty wild thing to hear as a 2nd year medical student from the Dean of my school (who is a psychiatrist!).
It has stuck with me nearly a decade later. I've shared that privately to a few people, mainly because it's a bit funny, it's a good story in a way. And it comes up often because *everyone knows Charney is toxic because he behaves this way all the time.*
How has HR allowed Charney to remain at Sinai?

How has Davis allowed Charney to remain at Sinai?
How does Dennis Charney still have a job after the lawsuit that just emerged, with inappropriate hiring and then discrimination, abuse, reporting violations, HIPAA violations, and research ethics violations?
Why has the @MountSinaiNYC Board of Directors allowed Charney's behavior to persist?
Do you have a Dennis Charney story? Will you share it in some way?
Ok, enough about Dennis fucking Charney.
Back to this lawsuit. It's story is essential.

It is about ego, arrogance, power, nepotism, careerism, ageism, sexism, dishonesty, power abuse, hierarchy, and enabling.

It about the plaintiffs' courage.
But this story isn't over. And I hope it ends well.

I think redemption is possible.

I think that often requires losing or letting go the power you have, reflecting and rehabilitating. Whether of your own volition or being forced to.
I hope the defendants take that path on their own. But they've already dug in their heels as we've seen with the failed HR investigation necessitating this lawsuit. But this lawsuit alone isn't enough.
We need public pressure against Sinai.

We need institutional reform within Sinai.

And the broader medical and academic and global health communities need to step up and address these issues within other institutions.
We've got to follow the lead of these plaintiffs.

We've got to follow the lead of #MeToo.

We've got to follow the lead of voices like @choo_ek and @darakass.
If you witness awfulness, you've got to confront it. It is NOT acceptable.
That goes for everyone, but too often that has meant the burden ended up on people who are marginalized and oppressed.

So I'm looking to you fellow dudes out there, especially ones in power.

Be good yourself and hold others to it too.
We need to be in unison saying

TIMES UP @MountSinaiNYC.
TIMES UP #AcademicTwitter.
TIMES UP #GlobalHealth.

Are you ready to act?

1) Share this: sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/g…

2) If you're a Sinai alum (or not) tell them how you feel, report what you've seen.

3) Check out and support @TIMESUPHC #TimesUp #TimesUpHC #MeTooMedicine #MeTooSTEM
Again, I urge you to read the whole lawsuit. It has depth that will be etched into your soul and we can't just engage with these issues at their most abstract. Real people did real harm and real people were hurt.

Please read this: sciencemag.org/sites/default/…
PS if you are a Sinai alum and want to be involved in organizing a concerted alum response, DM me.
PPS a few ideas for demands:

1) Sinai board drives a real diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative
2) Investigation into Charney, with real accountability
3) New governance structure at Sinai to include patients, community, and marginalized staff
4) Mount Sinai should become a signatory of @TIMESUPHC #TimesUpHC #TimesUp (thank you sharing ideas like this, DMs open, or share your own) timesuphealthcare.org/signatories
5) The plaintiffs courageously shared their Sinai story.

I shared #WhatHappenedToMeAtSinai.

Will you share what happened to you @MountSinaiNYC?

Open to other hashtag ideas but we need to bring light to what’s happened.
PPPS I am glad this has gotten the situation more attention, particularly within #AcademicTwiiter and #MedTwitter. Please keep sharing it and encouraging others to do so...
... But I’m still shocked by how little traction it’s gotten with medical news like @statnews, local news like @NYDailyNews @NYTMetro, and in the #GlobalHealth and #DataScience communities. Hoping places like @FastCompany or @SSIReview will highlight this.
PPPS people in replies and DMs have connected potential dots between this suit at AIGH, Charney’s actions generally over many years, an epidemic of trainee mistreatment and suicide, and David Newman.

@MountSinaiNYC and @IcahnMountSinai have an abuse problem.

cc @PamelaWibleMD
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