OHSU is Gaslighting You
CONTENT WARNING: In support of trauma-informed communications, please be aware that this message contains topics that may be activating for survivors of gender violence.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories.
The leadership of Oregon Health & Science University is choosing to use its legal and PR teams in conjunction to attempt to gaslight their employees and the public into believing that they have acted ethically. They want to control the narrative and suppress dissent. They would have you believe what happened and their response to it is all in accordance with your values and the law. They are pretending what happened was not that bad, and if it was it is not their responsibility. They are choosing to defend the indefensible.
In their prepared statement, OHSU claims “OHSU’s Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity department received the plaintiff’s complaint April 17, 2020. Following an initial assessment of the complaint, Dr. Jason Campbell was removed from clinical duties and excluded from campus… consistent with our standard protocols.” OHSU leadership would have you believe that May precedes April. The lead picture on this article clearly shows that Dr. Jason Campbell was at the OHSU on campus in May, despite OHSU’s public statements to the contrary.
Let’s recall what enrages us: A registered nurse accuses Dr. Jason Campbell of coming into a utility room and grabbing her hips from behind once the door shut. “He (Dr. Jason Campbell) forcefully grinded into my backside as if to make sure I felt his erection, I remember Jason Campbell asking me something along the lines of ‘Do you like that?’ or ‘What do you think of that?’”
Six members of leadership were aware of this allegation. Dr. Esther Choo, who was a mandatory reporter, not only did nothing, she promoted Dr. Jason Campbell as someone with “big following and big heart” a month after being told of his sexual assault of a social worker. Her defense for not doing her duty in reporting the assault is that the social worker at the time was her friend, and she wanted to let her choose how to handle the issue. Her “friend” that she allegedly texted (the veracity of this will come out in court and it will be damming) “I don’t need policing by white women.” This was when she was questioned on her promotion of Dr. Campbell while being aware of his assault.
The legal filing that unleashed this furor details how Dr. Jason Campbell bragged that multiple sexual complaints against him by women in OHSU’s intensive care unit had been buried because he was protected by Dr. Emily Baird, Program Director of OHSU’s anesthesiology residence program. Campbell was an anesthesiology resident. Do any of us believe that Dr. Baird was not instrumental in Dr. Jason Campbell quietly being sent on his way to Florida to continue his assault and harassment of women, despite OHSU’s institutional claims to the contrary?
If you are not aware how residents are placed, it is not a simple matter — it is based on interviews and relationships.
Despite their denials to the contrary, OHSU leadership supported Dr. Campbell being placed as a resident at the University of Florida. If they want to make the narrow argument that “we did indeed inform the institution (UF) that Dr. Jason Campbell violated OHSU’s sexual harassment policy” — I will make a larger argument. The tone and tenor of that conversation was so positive that the Program Director at UF decided to accept Dr. Jason Campbell as a resident. OHSU is gaslighting us.
This is not the first time they have done this. According to the survivor: “OHSU’s legal team reports my claims are ‘embarrassing and inflammatory’ regarding OHSU’s vice president and dean of students, Dr. Sharon Anderson, who has been directly aware since 2017 her former chair of emergency medicine, Dr. John Ma, was stalking me for nearly two years. I was left on my own to be terrorized in silence while he was protected and publicly praised in the media. Danny Jacobs has been directly aware of this since April 2019.”
Why are they doing this? Their motivation is strong. OHSU is a 23,000 person organization. They are motivated to act this way, because the truth is damaging to them. If they were held accountable, they would no longer have their prestigious jobs or influence. You can see how this would motivate them to act in a way that is contrary to common decency and the expectations of every employee at OHSU.
They do not want you to hear from the survivor, or her advocates. They would like to adjudicate this case behind close doors, because they think that their money, influence, and positions will give them the advantage there. They do not understand that the public actions they have taken are unacceptable, and do not believe there will be an accounting for them.
Here is the summation of OHSU’s laughable legal argument: Campbell wasn’t a resident, nobody was a mandatory reporter, the victim isn’t affiliated with OHSU.
OHSU leadership does not understand your anger, all they understand is naked power. They have it because of their position, and you do not. OHSU has a bullhorn, we have conviction. They have control of the institutional email system and website, and are using it to try to convince you that what they have done and how they are acting is not wrong.
Let’s turn to the survivor for her thoughts: “Meaningless public statements of ‘turning words into action’ have been the gaslighting I have been the recipient of for the last four years of my life at the hands of OHSU leadership. Surviving sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, threats to myself and my child and in turn severe retaliation from OHSU leadership has fundamentally altered me. The isolation I have felt the last four years has somewhat lifted in the last few weeks with the outpouring of support for myself and other survivors. With this support and the very brave survivors that have recently come forward, we have made small steps toward healing — in the open — where we belong. OHSU is trying to take that from us.”
From my knowledge and people who have reached out to me regarding Dr. Jason Campbell — his sexual assaults have been increasingly brazen. From medical school to residency, he has been continually escalating his behavior. As the power dynamic widens between him and his subordinates, he would likely become more emboldened as an attending anesthesiologist, which OHSU encouraged by sending him to the University of Florida to continue his training. If this scandal had not broke, the eventual rapes he likely would have committed would have been on their heads — and they would predictably deny all responsibility.
Please join me in centering our efforts to hold the craven leadership of OHSU accountable for their failings.
We know OHSU is gaslighting us, this is what we want:
- A full public accounting of what happened and who made decisions that allowed for the perpetrator of sexual misconduct to not be held to account.
- A committed solution. Here is one idea.
- Actions that are consistent with our shared values, not words — by reading the legal briefs, OHSU’s leadership true intent is shown, and it is unacceptable.