D-H joins initiative to end medical workplace harassment

  • Dr. Megan Coylewright, an interventional cardiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, is one of 50 founding members of the Time’s Up Healthcare initiative, which launched on March 1 and aims to increase safety and gender equity in the healthcare industry. Coylewright was photographed in a staged "photo-op" in which she invited nursing and technical staff not normally present in to observe a de-briefing between herself and cardiologist Dr. Michael Young following a diagnostic catheterization at the medical center in Lebanon, N.H., Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

LEBANON — When Megan Coylewright arrived at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center five years ago as an interventional cardiologist, there was only one other female physician on her team, and she was retiring. Since then, three more women have been hired on the cardiology team.

It’s a trend Coylewright wants to see continue at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and elsewhere in the health care industry.

Coylewright is one of the 50 founding members of the Time’s Up Healthcare initiative, which aims to increase safety and gender equity in the health care industry and launched on March 1.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is one of several hospitals nationwide that have signed on for the initiative.

“I feel that diverse teams are consistently shown to improve organizational performance and patient outcomes,” said Coylewright, who graduated from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2005, completed her residency there and took a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic.

The organization Time’s Up was launched last year by women in the entertainment industry in response to reports of discrimination and victimization from Hollywood heavyweights like Harvey Weinstein, a producer accused of sexual assault. The group, which has initiatives in several industries that also include technology and advertising, advocates for “creating safe, fair and dignified work for women of all kinds.”

One of the first steps for D-H as part of this program is measuring and tracking gender inequities in the institution.

“We have room to go, at D-H, at the representation of women in leadership that reflects our workforce,” Coylewright said.

Collecting data will “help us understand the scope” of what the hospital is dealing with. “Right now, we don’t know if we’re moving forward,” Coylewright said.

Once all that data is collected, the hospital will look for best practices in the field to make the changes it wants to see: creating leadership opportunities for women and addressing issues around sexual harassment.

Coylewright said both of those issues end up affecting patients’ experiences.

“Having women within health care decisionmaking teams, you see patient outcomes improve,” Coylewright said. “When you have diverse teams that all don’t think alike, there’s a greater tendency to adhere to evidence-based medicine.”

In Coylewright’s field, interventional cardiology, women make up just 4 percent of professionals in the field.

The dearth of women has her worried about the future of her field at large.

“I get concerned about how we’re losing 50 percent of the talent for ideas of new devices, improving the quality of care, writing newest trial designs, health policy design,” Coylewright said. “All of that is lost when we can’t recruit the best and the brightest.”

She also said such concerns are shared by Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s CEO and President Joanne Conroy, an anesthesiologist who leads Women of Impact, a group of female executives focused on promoting women in leadership in health care.

“The founding members of Time’s Up Healthcare are bolstered up by leaders like Dr. Conroy,” Coylewright said.

Daniela Vidal Allee can be reached at dallee@vnews.com or 603-727-3211.