The Office of the Learning Environment spearheads and is involved in many initiatives that serve the learning environment at UPSOM. Many of these come from our student and faculty advisory committees. 


Dr. Reis regularly gives learning environment presentations to students, educators, and administrators. She advises faculty in all core clerkship clinical departments on creating a positive learning environment for their students. She provides this advice to new residents and fellows during annual UPMC GME orientation. Dr. Mars has given presentations to the SOM Graduate Council, the BGSA, and various graduate programs.

PAIR Hang Tag

Dr. Reis worked with the Office of Medical Education to create an ID hang tag promoting the Professional Accolade and Incident Reporting (PAIR) site. The tag includes a definition of mistreatment and the PAIR website address. Tags are distributed to new students during Orientation. 

Response to student concerns

OLE deans respond to student concerns by advocating for change within the SOM administration. Resulting improvements in the student experience include:

  • Creation of the Student Diversity Coalition Working Group
  • Improved broadband access in the SOM student apartments
  • Expanded emergency financial support to address pandemic-related financial needs
Faculty Development 

OLE deans collaborate with other UPSOM offices to support faculty development focused on ensuring a safe, respectful, and equitable learning environment. Examples include:

Graduate Student Workshop Series

Dr. Mars put together a series of workshops and training sessions for all incoming Ph.D. graduate students that was initiated in the fall of 2021. Sessions included: Selecting Mentors and Expectations; Fostering a Diverse and Inclusive Environment; Microaggressions; Implicit Bias; Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct; My Voice Has Power: Bystander Intervention Strategies; Library Overview Session. These workshops are being offered to current graduate students in the spring of 2022.

Climate Surveys

OLE works with the Pitt Title IX office to distribute and analyze climate surveys focused on issues related to graduate education. These surveys help to identify areas of mistreatment on campus. 

Targeted Town Halls

Dr. Mars put together a Town Hall in the fall of 2021 for all graduate and medical students in the SOM to discuss how Pitt is actively addressing the specific issues (gender and race discrimination, the bystander effect) represented in the documentary Picture a Scientist. 


OLE began a semi-regular newsletter in February of 2021.