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Health

'Time's Up Healthcare' Empowers Health Workers in the #MeToo Era

By Ellen Wulfhorst

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NEW YORK, Feb 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation)  — A campaign that began amid the #MeToo movement to battle workplace sexual harassment launched a new effort on Thursday to fight misconduct in the giant US health care industry, organizers said.

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Time's Up Healthcare will promote policies to make health care leadership more gender-balanced and accountable and address workplace discrimination, harassment, and abuse, said the leaders of its parent organization, Time's Up, in a statement.

Time's Up was launched at the start of 2018 by actresses, writers, and others in the entertainment industry to broaden efforts to fight sexual harassment in the workplace beyond Hollywood and fund expenses for people taking legal action.

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It was set up following multiple accusations in late 2017 of sexual misconduct against actors and filmmakers, fueled by the #MeToo social media movement that has since engulfed the worlds of politics and business.

Health care workers are the second-largest group of people who have contacted Time's Up seeking legal help, after workers in arts and entertainment, the group said.

Women hold 4 out of 5 jobs in health care but only 1 in 10 of its chief executive jobs, it said.

"We are well represented in this workforce but not in positions of power," said Dr. Esther Choo, one of the founders of Time's Up Healthcare, in a statement.

A study presented at a recent an annual meeting of medical professionals — said 58% of women surgeons had experienced sexual harassment in the preceding 12 months of the research, compared with 25% of male surgeons.

Most women surveyed said they did not report the incidents, citing a fear of retribution or a negative impact on their career, the study said.

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More than 13 million people are employed in the US health care industry, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group that focuses on national health issues.

Time's Up's first chief executive, Lisa Borders, resigned earlier this month after her son was accused of sexual assault.

Its legal fund for victims of workplace sexual harassment raised more money — more than $20 million — on the popular GoFundMe online site than any other cause last year.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst. Editing by Jason Fields.)