Safe at Hopkins website is safe place for faculty, staff to report disruptive behavior

Given the momentum that the Safe at Hopkins program has experienced with faculty, staff, and student reports of concerning behaviors in the workplace or academic setting, its website has been redesigned to offer a safe place for reporting unprofessional and disruptive behavior and for discussing concerns about a safe working and academic climate.

Based on the Johns Hopkins Continuum of Disruptive Behaviors at Work—the anchor of the Safe at Hopkins program—the better organized website can be used to determine where the less-than-professional behaviors that individuals may experience fall on the continuum of disruptive behaviors, workplace bullying, and workplace violence. Domestic/intimate partner violence and emotional distress are also highlighted because of their ability to become serious workplace safety issues.

Each section of the website includes response options that help triage and manage the incidents so that the most risk–oriented reports are elevated to the multidisciplinary Risk Assessment Team.

"Often, targets of disruptive behaviors do not realize that they are experiencing workplace bullying or violence," says Susan Lee Bathgate, Safe at Hopkins program manager. "The new website provides a framework for identifying disruptive behaviors, and plays a key role in building awareness around those behaviors that contribute to a lack of professionalism and safety."

Michelle Carlstrom, senior director of the Office of Work, Life and Engagement, who leads Safe at Hopkins initiatives, says, "Johns Hopkins is committed to fostering a culture that is safe and professional, accepting of differences, yet ready and willing to address disruptive behaviors and bullying."

Since starting in 2012 to serve the university and health system, Safe at Hopkins has raised faculty, staff, and student awareness and standardized how to think and talk about disruptive behavior so that the response throughout Johns Hopkins is consistent and proactive. "Identifying disruptive behaviors before they escalate, and proactively providing support and intervention, increases the safety of the workplace and academic environment," Carlstrom says.

In the spirit of encouraging individuals to speak up and share their concerns, the website, Lee Bathgate says, "offers different channels that faculty, staff, and students can use to report their concerns about situations that make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe."

Reported disruptive behaviors and bullying are responded to and handled in a manner that respects the privacy of all involved, program leaders say. If indicated, Safe at Hopkins might engage in a series of conversations with faculty and/or staff to better understand the concerns and offer guidance and recommendations to management.

"The new website will improve our ability to positively impact the culture of professionalism at Johns Hopkins," says Janice Clements, vice dean for faculty and a professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "Safe at Hopkins provides a safe place to directly voice a complaint; the process then responds to issues and improves the working and learning environment."

"The ability to change culture and improve the safety of working and learning environments for faculty, staff, and students is the most exciting aspect of Safe at Hopkins," Carlstrom says.

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