In July 2021, the Office of Education at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis implemented an institution-wide initiative called Supporting A Fair Environment (SAFE) to address mistreatment and unprofessional behaviors in the learning environment for all members of the WashU and BJC communities. The SAFE program will include: (i) a single, central reporting system; (ii) a processes for incident evaluation and intervention; (iii) education modules; (iv) tracking and reporting of incident data; and (v) ongoing evaluation of the SAFE program. The excellent video titled, “Mistreatments in the Learning Environment” provides a salient example of the educational modules.
To complement the university’s SAFE initiative, the department has launched a new program called Peers in Anesthesiology Supporting a Fair Environment (PIA SAFE). This peer-based program will help address concerns about negative behaviors, conflicts, and microaggressions experienced by members of our department.
“We must present opportunities for our staff, trainees, educators, researchers, and clinicians to express any concerns without fear of repercussion,” said Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor and head of the Department of Anesthesiology. “We need to ensure we’re always working towards building a positive and safe culture and to create an environment in which everyone can thrive and actualize their potential.”
Members of the Anesthesiology Department were recently encouraged to consider applying to the PIA SAFE program as a peer advocate. Over 25 department members were quick to volunteer and these individuals will receive training and experience in mediation and conflict resolution.
“We are thrilled to see such a diverse group of department members express interest in PIA SAFE as it reflects the commitment and widespread impact this program will have on our department culture,” said Residency Program Director, Allison Mitchell, MD.
“PIA SAFE will create an environment where all residents, SRNAs, CRNAs, APPs, fellows, faculty, researchers, and administrators can feel empowered and supported by team members in their unique areas.”Allison Mitchell, MD, residency program director
PIA SAFE Volunteers*
|Heather Acuff, PGY-2 Resident||Ryan Lee, PGY-3 Resident|
|Michael Avidan, Head of the Department of Anesthesiology||Andrea Liefer, Chief Pediatric CRNA|
|Kara Bockius, Fellowship Coordinator, Critical Care||Herman Luther, PGY-2 Resident|
|Kelly Chilson, Associate Professor, Pediatric Anesthesiology||Bruno Maranhao, Clinical Fellow, Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology|
|Meaghan Creed, Assistant Professor, Washington University Pain Center||Scott Markowitz, Vice-Chair for Professional Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion|
|Anne DeSchryver, Director of Business Operations||Allison Mitchell, Residency Program Director|
|Avi Dobrusin, PGY-2 Resident||Dolores Njoku, Division Chief of Pediatric Anesthesiology|
|Cat Foster, Instructor, General Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine||Uchenna Ofoma, Director of Christian Hospital ICU|
|Robert Gereau IV, Vice Chair for Research; Director of the Washington University Pain Center||Todd Rackohn, PGY-3 Resident|
|Natasha Goodwin, CRNA, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital||David Rasche, PGY-4 Resident|
|Hanna Graczyk, Clinical Operations Assistant||Rashmi Rathor, Assistant Professor, General Anesthesia|
|Mike Havenar, Compliance and Outreach Lead Nurse Practitioner, Critical Care||Clare Ridley, Director of the Surgical COVID ICU; Assistant Director in the Cardiothoracic ICU|
|Erin Herrera, Assistant Director for CRNA Activities||Furqaan Sadiq, Clinical Fellow, Critical Care|
|Rocco Hueneke, Assistant Professor, Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology||Jessica Sanford, Instructor, Anesthesiology|
|Cathy Ifune, Associate Professor, General Anesthesia||Elvira Sayfutdinova, CRNA, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital|
|Kirin Khan, PGY-2 Resident||Manjaap Sidhu, PGY-3 Resident|
|Joe Kras, Associate Professor, Anesthesiology||Parita Sutaria, PGY-1 Resident|
|Rainier Kentner, Instructor, Anesthesiology||Douglas Thompson, Vice Chair for Education|
|Chris Lee, Associate Professor, Anesthesiology||Brandon White, PGY-3 Resident|
The SAFE initiative and the department’s PIA SAFE program, combined with the efforts from School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, are significant indicators of the commitment to improve the overall culture in the department and across the School of Medicine.
“We are persistently seeking to improve the effectiveness of our clinical, educational, research, and administrative environments and enhance our ability to provide excellent outcomes in each area,” said Scott Markowitz, vice chair for professional development and diversity, equity and inclusion.
“In a department of hundreds, we greatly appreciate the incredible number of people in every area who are committed to excelling in our mission, including the mission to be of support to one another in fostering a more ideal environment for us all.”
If you are a member of the Department of Anesthesiology and interested in learning more or joining the PIA SAFE program, please contact Maureen Arends at email@example.com.