Frequently Asked Questions


What constitutes the learning environment at UPSOM?

The learning environment includes any individuals, experiences, and settings that shape our educational and practice culture at UPSOM.

Who monitors the learning environment?

The learning environment is monitored at multiple levels with a variety of approaches.

For medical students:

  • Students report their experiences through evaluations, PAIR reports, surveys, and direct communication with faculty.
  • Course and clerkship directors monitor the learning environment through student evaluations of their educational experience.
  • OMED monitors the learning environment with evaluations, surveys, feedback from course/clerkship directors, direct student input. 
  • OLE monitors the learning environment through PAIR reports, evaluations, surveys, committees, and direct communication with students.
  • The Curriculum Committee monitors the learning environment through presentations from course/clerkship directors, presentations from block directors, and student presentations of surveys.
  • UPSOM monitors the learning environment through monthly Town Halls with the students and regular meetings with department/office leadership.

For graduate students:

  • Students report their experiences through climate surveys, PAIR reports, and by directly communicating with the Assistant Dean of the Learning Environment.
  • OLE monitors the learning environment though PAIR reports, survey results, faculty committees, student committees, and constant communication with the Dean of Graduate Studies, the SOM Graduate Council, and the BGSA.
  • UPSOM monitors the learning environment through monthly Town Halls with the students.
Whom should I go to if I have concerns?
  • Please call Pitt Police, 412-624-2121, or 911 for emergencies.
  • If you have a non-emergent safety concern for you or someone else, please contact someone who is in a position to take swift action, such as your course, clerkship, or program director.
  • Dr. Reis and Dr. Mars are available by email, phone, or in-person meetings.
What other resources are available to me?
What is PAIR?

The PAIR (Professionalism Accolade and Incident Report) System is an online system that allows SOM med students and grad students to submit Accolades (recognizing individuals who demonstrate outstanding professionalism or service on behalf of others) or report Incidents (of lapses in professionalism or mistreatment/harassment.)


What is the difference between anonymous and confidential submission of accolades using PAIR?

You can submit an accolade with your name and email address (confidential submission) or without (anonymous submission) when using PAIR. When you submit confidentially, you can elect remain anonymous to the individual you are recognizing. Submitting confidentially allows the OLE to follow-up with you to gather more information, if necessary, and to thank you for recognizing an individual in your learning community.

Can I submit an accolade for someone who is not a member of Pitt Med?

Yes. We are pleased to recognize any individual who helps create a positive learning, practice, and research environment, including faculty, fellows, residents, students, and staff.

Can I submit an accolade if I’m not a medical or graduate student in the School of Medicine?

Yes. We encourage all members of the Pitt Med community to recognize those individuals who go above and beyond to make the learning experience at UPSOM exceptional.


What is the UPSOM student mistreatment policy? / What are examples of mistreatment?

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is confident that safe and effective care of patients is shaped by an environment of quality medical education that is rooted in human dignity. We embrace our responsibility to create, support, and facilitate a learning environment for our students so that they witness and experience a culture of respect, collegiality, kindness and cooperation within our School community. This same positive behavior is expected of all who impact the environment of patient care: health professionals, advanced learners, and staff.

Harassment or mistreatment of any kind is detrimental to such an environment and the School of Medicine will not tolerate any incidents of mistreatment or harassment of students by faculty, health professionals, staff, or other trainees. UPSOM encourages students to report any incidents of mistreatment or harassment, whether directed at themselves or others. All concerns will be registered and investigated without fear of retaliation.

Mistreatment and harassment will not be tolerated. UPSOM takes allegations of such behavior seriously and will investigate and respond to reports of mistreatment or harassment. Examples of such behaviors include but are not limited to being: •

  • Humiliated publicly
  • Threatened with harm
  • Physically harmed
  • Subjected to psychological cruelty
  • Required to perform personal services
  • Subjected to unwanted sexual advances
  • Asked to exchange sexual favors for grades or other rewards
  • Sexual harassment
  • Denied opportunities based on gender identity/race/ethnicity/sexual orientation/age/etc.
  • Subjected to offensive comments
  • Receiving lower evaluations or grades because of factors other than performance.

No person shall be subject to retaliation for participating in the good-faith reporting or investigation of mistreatment.

Why should I report mistreatment? 

Reporting mistreatment is the only way the school can know if students are experiencing mistreatment. Reporting mistreatment allows the school to take action, including investigation, intervention, and prevention.

How can I report mistreatment?

There are numerous avenues through which students can report mistreatment. These include confidential reporting through the online PAIR system and direct reports to one of the OLE deans, as well as anonymous reporting through school evaluations and surveys.

Confidential reports are recommended because they are more actionable and more advantageous to students than anonymous reports. Specifically, confidential reports allow students: 1) to control how and when their reports are addressed and, 2) to learn the outcome of their report. In addition, students can be contacted to provide additional information about reported incidents, if necessary for investigation and/or intervention.

I’m not sure if this was mistreatment, should I still report it?

Yes. We want to know about mistreatment and other experiences that negatively impact the learning environment. Dr. Reis and Dr. Mars consider all reports seriously, whether they meets the definition of mistreatment or not.

What happens to reports of unprofessional behavior by students?

Medical student violations of the UPSOM Code of Professionalism submitted to the OLE will be referred to the Associate Dean for the Office of Student Affairs and any other indicated University of Pittsburgh department (e.g, Office of Civil Rights & Title IX Compliance). Feedback submitted regarding a lapse of professional behavior by graduate students will be submitted to the Associate Dean for the Office of Graduate Studies.

The OLE is not involved in addressing or responding to student professionalism concerns. In addition, the OLE does not track or monitor student professionalism reports.

Can I submit an incident report if I’m not a medical or graduate student in the School of Medicine?

Yes. We encourage all members of the UPSOM learning community to report incidents of mistreatment and/or negative learning environment.

What actions are taken in response to incident reports?

The OLE deans respect students’ preferences for actions taken, if they are known, with the exception of Title IX violations or as otherwise required by law. Possible actions range from remedial education to removal or reassignment of teaching privileges. Action taken depends on the severity of the incident, whether the source of the incident is named, and whether the incident represents a pattern of negative behavior. Please see the OLE Incident Response Procedure and UPSOM Mistreatment Response Pyramid for more detail.

How do I know if my incident report was reviewed?

OLE reviews every incident report we receive. The best way to know how your report was reviewed and resolved is to report confidentially so we can follow up with you directly. As we cannot determine the identity of individuals who report anonymously, individual follow up is not possible. OLE periodically reports aggregate report and resolution data to students and faculty.

Will I be protected from retaliation if I submit a report?

According to the UPSOM Mistreatment Policy, no person shall be subject to retaliation for participating in the good-faith reporting or investigation of mistreatment. OLE deans take great care to ensure that students are not identified, unless they provide permission. Please contact the OLE if you feel your report has resulted in retaliation.

Why was the Title IX office involved in my report?

University of Pittsburgh faculty and staff are “responsible employees” which means that they are mandated reporters for incidents of gender discrimination or sexual harassment/misconduct. All such reports must be forwarded to the Title IX Office to ensure that affected individuals receive offers of support and are informed of their rights. Students have complete control over how the Title IX Office handles their report. Students can accept or decline supportive services and actions, including investigations. No student can be forced to participate in an investigation or be named without their consent.