Task force members and next steps announced; now seeking feedback from our community

Dear School of Medicine Community,

We write to provide an update on the Executive Faculty Task Force on Climate and Culture, announced by Dean Perlmutter last month.  As was shared in his December announcement, this Task Force has been established in response to concerns about elements of the culture here at Washington University School of Medicine that can lead to a negative climate for women, people of color and other vulnerable and marginalized members of our community. The Task Force, representing different parts of our academic medical campus community, has been assembled and is beginning its work. 


  • Benjamin Garcia, PhD
  • Dineo Khabele, MD


  • Rakhee Bhayani, MD
  • Ken Blumer, PhD
  • Lisa Connor, PhD
  • Shaina Eckhouse, MD
  • Kilannin Krysiak, PhD
  • Barbara Warner, MD
  • Gregory Wu, MD, PhD

House staff

  • Kai Jones, MD


  • Jennifer Lawrence (PhD candidate)
  • Ash Rajesh, PhD (postdoctoral fellow)
  • Christina Su (MD candidate)

Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

  • Rosie Jones

Renée Shellhaas, MD, MS, associate dean for faculty promotions and career development, will serve as the administrative director of the Task Force. Kaitlyn Hamilton will be providing administrative support.

As a next step, Task Force leaders have begun actively vetting external consultants who have deep expertise in identifying key gaps and levers for culture change and who can provide resources to build strategies that will help us to meet our goals.  We have launched a website, where we will post updates of our work, to keep you informed and included.

As a Task Force, we will develop a report that documents areas for improvement and proposes action items to enhance our culture. This work will focus specifically on the challenges that are particular to our medical school academic environment, with the following charges:

  • Gather data and assess the current state of resources for addressing and preventing sexual harassment and gender discrimination among faculty, students and trainees.
  • Develop recommendations for improving faculty and learner education and training regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination. This will include raising awareness of existing policies; clarifying reporting obligations and channels; improving training on bystander intervention; and recommendations regarding how best to address problematic behavior and its impact on others.
  • Develop recommendations for improving the reporting process and ensuring accountability in instances of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and misconduct.
  • Develop recommendations for improving overall workplace culture at the School of Medicine to ensure that all members of our community are safe and supported in their work and studies.

None of this change will happen overnight, and it will not happen without your help. Our website will provide regular updates on our progress as well as an online form through which School of Medicine faculty, students, postdocs, residents, fellows and staff can submit feedback regarding the existing culture and the ongoing work of the Task Force. This is intended to provide a direct, centralized point of communication between our community and the Task Force.

We are grateful for your partnership in this ongoing and important work. If you have questions or concerns, please email us at medculture@wustl.edu.

Benjamin Garcia, PhD, co-chair
Raymond H. Wittcoff Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Dineo Khabele, MD, co-chair
Mitchell & Elaine Yanow Professor and Head of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Renée Shellhaas, MD, MS, administrative director
David T. Blasingame Professor of Neurology and Associate Dean for Faculty Promotions & Career Development