Consecutive Teaching Hospital Directors struggle to fix culture of “gossiping and lying”

In July of 2021, the then-Hospital Director called a meeting with his senior staff to attempt to stem the toxic work environment that was taking over the Teaching Hospital.  Connected with that meeting, he sent his senior staff an email lamenting "behaviors that have created significant tension within our team" and emphasized his expectation that they would "treat each other with respect" and "stop gossiping and lying."  He summed up his email by admonishing the team that their "behaviors create significant negative effects to our team, our culture, and our morale."

In the time since that meeting, the Teaching Hospital has experienced a near-total collapse as three consecutive Directors have attempted to halt a dramatic slide in the hospital's reputation, medical capabilities and workplace culture.  All three of these Directors focused intently on correcting the negativity and hostility that plagued the operation.  Yet none has had success in stemming the dramatic decline.

In July of 2023, the current Director of the Teaching Hospital was appointed - the third in three years (including an Interim Director).  Upon accepting the job, the new Director spent weeks attempting to identify the root causes for the decline of the Teaching Hospital.  At his first all-staff meeting, the new Director reported his findings, including twelve factors which, taken individually, would be cause for concern for any operation but which collectively describe an operation that has failed at nearly every level.  The new Director identified these twelve factors:

  1. Need for change in leadership
  2. Toxic work environment
  3. Poor leadership and management
  4. Lack of support and resources
  5. Quality of education and training
  6. Decline in reputation and standards
  7. High turnover and dissatisfaction
  8. Mismanagement of cases and patients
  9. Miscommunication and poor communication
  10. Inadequate student support
  11. Negative impact on patients and clients
  12. Favoritism and unfair treatment


Opinions about the new Director are generally positive, according to individuals who were willing to talk to CVM Independent about his goals and leadership style.  Yet nearly all these individuals suggested in recent weeks that matters have remained unsolved, and in some cases only worsened.

The new Director "is not the problem, he wants to fix things, he just can't because the problem is not him," said one individual who spoke to CVM Independent on the condition of anonymity because, they claimed, "they won't think twice about firing me in a heartbeat" because "no one is allowed to say anything except things are great and that's a lie."

Several individuals pointed to a small group of employees "who cause 90% of the problems" but "won't get fired no matter what they do."  These individuals include a senior Teaching Hospital administrator "who is the Dean's enforcer", a college-level HR employee "who nobody trusts anymore", and a supervisor "who no one wants to work for."

The Hospital Director knows about these individuals, but his hands are tied to deal with them, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.  As one source put it, "The same people are still the root of all evil from three Directors ago, so why are they still here and [many others] are all gone?"

CVM Independent has confirmed that while dozens of doctors, nurses and staff have left the Teaching Hospital since the then-Director met with his senior staff in July of 2021 to address their "gossiping and lying" behavior, the same staffers who he was accusing of such behavior remain on staff today.

The Hospital Director has attempted to sideline these allegedly problematic employees, but has been unable to terminate them, according to people familiar with HR issues at the College.  For example, multiple Hospital employees warned the new Director about these individuals when he first arrived, and his own personal experiences with them have confirmed those warnings, according to multiple employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by College leaders. Unable to terminate these employees due to protection from College leadership, the Director has effectively attempted to sideline some of them, as numerous departing staff have told him a primary reason they are leaving is these individuals.

In recent weeks, as the wave of resignations has continued, departing staff have refused to submit their resignations to a particular Hospital administrator who is their direct supervisor because, they say, this person is a primary reason they are leaving.  In fact, more than two dozen individuals have told CVM Independent that this particular person is one of the primary causes of the mass exodus that has occurred among staff over the past year.

The Hospital Director is aware of the issue, and, unable to remove the administrator, has reportedly reverted to omitting them from meetings and dispersing responsibilities to others wherever possible, all in an attempt to minimize staff interaction with them. Still, the mass exodus of staff and the toxic workplace persists.

"People like [the new Director], but he can't fix problems because they won't let him get rid of the people causing the problems," said one former employee, "and he doesn't have the power to get rid of people above him who protect those people no matter what. So what happens is everyone just leaves."