In 2009, the American Association of Medical School's (AAMC) Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) updated accrediting standards related to the learning environment. Questions were added to the AAMC's Graduate Questionnaire (GQ) to gauge each medical school's learning environment, including self-reported medical student mistreatment. Rising GQ reports of mistreatment rates led UPSOM to heighten its efforts to identify and address medical student mistreatment. One key component of these efforts was implementation of an online reporting mechanism, the Professional Accolade and Incident Reporting (PAIR) system, which was launched in 2017.

As students became more comfortable in reporting incidents of mistreatment, a need arose for an independent and devoted faculty member to investigate and respond to reports. UPSOM became the first medical school to establish a dean-level position devoted to the learning environment in 2018 when Evelyn Reis, MD, was appointed as the Assistant Dean for the Learning Environment. The Assistant Dean for the Learning Environment position is a member of the Office of the Vice Dean, ensuring that the role is independent from other student-serving administrative offices.

In 2020, Dean Shekhar increased support with the creation of the Office of the Learning Environment (OLE) and expanded attention to the needs of both medical and graduate students in the School of Medicine. Dr. Reis was promoted to a full-time position as the Associate Dean for the Learning Environment. 

In February 2021, two newly created OLE positions were filled. Wendy Mars, PhD, began her new role as the Assistant Dean for the learning Environment, focusing her efforts on supporting graduate students. Kathy Scott, MA, began her role as the Learning Environment Coordinator.