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Advocate - GME’s New Public Incident Reporting System

GME Newsletter | April 2023

Advocate - GME’s New Public Incident Reporting System

“The Sponsoring Institution, in partnership with its ACGME-accredited program(s), must have …a confidential process for reporting, investigating, monitoring, and addressing [unprofessional behavior] concerns in a timely manner.” (ACGME Institutional Requirements III.B.6.d).(1))

To this end the Office of Graduate Medical Education and the School of Medicine have collaborated to adopt a software system for reporting and documenting our processes for handling unprofessional behavior around our trainees and medical students.

‘Advocate’ is a sophisticated platform that is currently used by the main campus, and we have worked with the company to develop an instance that is appropriate for trainees and students in the health sciences environment.


  • Anyone can report unprofessional behaviors and/or mistreatment of anyone else in the hospital and clinics and/or school of medicine.
  • Reports can be made anonymously if desired (although this hampers often-desired feedback from the reporter or further information gathering).
  • The system is focused on the respondent (i.e., the ‘accused’) rather than the reporter or complainant (i.e., the ‘victim’). This facilitates unprofessional behavior pattern recognition across the entire institution (e.g., an individual mistreating students, techs and residents in various locations who may have historically ‘fallen through the cracks’ could now be detected).
  • Initial complaints, submitted evidence, meeting schedules, and other correspondence are maintained within the system facilitating security, transparency, consistency, and thorough reporting.
  • This platform is about mistreatment and unprofessional behavior, not necessarily patient care related. This, therefore, provides a more appropriate pathway for such reports than the RL system, which has been clumsily used for these in the past.

Of course, our ability to use this platform to address mistreatment and other unprofessional behaviors is dependent on reports being made. We understand that many are reluctant to report as they do not want the full legal might of the University involved and fear retaliation.

  • The Office of Equal Opportunity must be informed about these reports, but unless the complainant wants the OEO to investigate (or there is a risk of violence), they will not take it further and will leave it to us. This is not a hypothetical but has happened several times in the last few years.
  • The University prohibits retaliation against those lodging such complaints. They take this prohibition very seriously and will act assertively in defense of complainants.

Reports will be processed by:

  • Mistreatment of Medical Students: The Office of Student Affairs will process
  • Mistreatment of Trainee (Resident/Fellow): the Graduate Medical Education office will process
  • Mistreatment of Faculty/Staff or Other: will be discussed by both teams for appropriate processing

Need Help Submitting a Report:

Symplicity Advocate Public Incident Report User Guide - This is a step-by-step guide to submitting a public incident report form on the Symplicity Advocate reporting system and information on how reports are processed.