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 Anti-harassment Resources in the Time of COVID-19


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) does not tolerate pervasive or severe harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment. Only in safe and respectful work environments can individuals grow and learn while carrying out the important work that supports the NIH mission. To foster a work environment free from sexual harassment, we want to ensure that individuals know their rights, where to report incidents of sexual harassment, and the resources available to them.

We appreciate that being a trainee complicates the process of reporting harassment. You may be worried about how your PI (or others in a position to influence your career) will respond; you may be concerned that you will have to change research groups; or you may fear that the process will affect your applications for school, postdoc positions, and/or jobs. Please note that the the new NIH Anti-harassment Policy prohibits supervisors or others in positions of power from retaliating against individuals who report harassment or report witnessing harassment. 

The NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) is committed to working with trainees who make harassment allegations, who report witnessing harassment, or who are implicated in harassing behavior. We will coordinate with NIH Civil and provide trainees guidance and support throughout the process. Please visit Civil to learn more about the NIH Anti-harassment Policy and the procedures for reporting harassment at the NIH.

Note that OITE staff are required to report allegations of harassment to the NIH Civil Program. However, OITE can make an anonymous report on your behalf. You can also make an anonymous report by calling 833-224-3829 or by completing an online form. If you wish to discuss the situation confidentially, you can reach out to the NIH Employee Assistance Program or the NIH Office of the Ombudsman. Please use the buttons below to learn more about these, and other, important resources.  Also, please read the Civil Tool Kit for Trainees carefully. It describes options for reporting harassment including options for that allow you to remain anonymous.

You can contact Dr. Sharon Milgram, OITE Director, directly to discuss reporting allegations of harassment or the related issue of workplace relationships (you can find the NIH policy statement on Workplace Relationships here). Dr. Milgram can be reached at 301-594-2053 or If you feel unsafe and need immediate help, please call the NIH Police (On the main campus in Bethesda: 911; off-campus: 9-911; Fort Detrick: 9-911; RML: 0).

We all play a role in assuring that the NIH is free of harassing behavior. Harassment doesn’t work here!

You can access the Anti-Harassment Video here.

This information above is specific for trainees in the Intramural Research Program. If you are a trainee on an NIH-sponsored grant or fellowship please see these guidelines:

Two new anti-harassment resources:

Dr. Francis Collins is interviewed on the PBS Newshour:

A milestone report on sexual harassment in science has identified pervasive problems and policy shortcomings at the field's highest levels. In response, NIH apologized for not addressing more quickly “the climate and culture that has caused such harm.” William Brangham talks to NIH's director, Dr. Francis Collins, about the risk of potentially driving women away from careers in scientific fields.

Watch the clip (it's only 8 minutes):

Town Hall for NIH Trainees: NIH Anti-harassment Policies and the Workplace Climate and Harassment Survey.

Watch the video-/pod-cast: