Formal investigation into Dr Hans Peter Dietz

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We, the students of the Sydney Medical Program, write to you to express our disappointment upon reading the recent article published by SBS News (https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-doctor-slammed-for-saying-more-women-make-workforce-more-vulnerable?cid=news%3Asocialshare%3Afacebook&fbclid=IwAR3qgSKBlFX3C9rxwUj2UQMBph2Rf1qN1ZucbHrpzvj-oeJE7PwLeVLC9cs calling out Dr Hans Peter Dietz for sexist and disparaging comments regarding women in the medical profession. Dr Dietz is recorded in the article as a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Sydney which, we believe, puts our school at risk of being associated with his comments.

In the article, Dr Dietz allegedly blames the vulnerability of the medical workforce on the increasing proportion of women in medicine. He also is quoted as attributing inability to cope and doctor suicides with the gender balance of the work force and the lack of preparedness instilled by medical schools as ‘safe spaces.’ We find the ‘inconvenient truths’ presented by Dr Dietz to be offensive, outdated and unsubstantiated falsehoods. In this program, both formally through our Personal and Professional Development units and informally through individual staff members, we are taught that bullying and discrimination should no longer be tolerated within the profession. We are taught that as institutions of education and as the future of the medical profession, it is our responsibility to bring about the change of culture that our field so greatly needs. Indeed, the term ‘safe space’ is almost exclusively used derisively by members of the community who fear this change and seek to undermine progress toward inclusivity and support.

The University of Sydney commits to four clusters of values – courage and creativity, respect and integrity, diversity and inclusion, and openness and engagement. So, it is with courage that we bring our concerns to faculty, fighting for respect between colleagues regardless of gender, and to advocate for inclusiveness within the medical culture. We ask that the faculty openly engage with us to alleviate our concerns. We ask for a formal investigation into Dr Dietz’ statements and if substantiated, we request that he be removed from his academic post.