April 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Urge Montefiore Medical Center to Take Action

In a recent social media post, Montefiore Medical Center PGY2 (second year) psychiatry resident Aubrey Vinh posted, “thinking a lot about being a psychiatrist in training at a Zionist institution that is also systematically divesting from the Bronx at this time. For me, advocating for Palestine is mutually exclusive for advocating for my patients and for all who are oppressed and disenfranchised.” She continued her post with the following all cap words, GENOCIDE, OCCUPATION, and the like.

I contacted the Montefiore SVP of human resources, the media relations office and the chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Dr. Jonathan Alpert (who is also a professor in the department of pediatrics). The first two departments were very supportive of my outreach, the last, the one that employs her, provided me with the following canned response that skirted the issues:

Thanks so much for writing. I deeply regret the hurt and anger our resident’s post caused so many.

I can only say that I believe Montefiore has been addressing this incident with the thoroughness and seriousness it deserves.

I appreciate your taking the time to reach out to me during these very difficult times.

We all want to maintain space for diverse perspectives within our institutions and society. However, there can be no room whatsoever for antisemitism or other forms of hate that are entirely antithetical to our values and mission and diminish and threaten all of us.

Thank you again for your thoughtful email.

Warm regards,

Jon

Jonathan E. Alpert MD PhD

Silverman University Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Pediatrics

Psychiatrist-in-Chief

Montefiore Medical Center

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

[email protected]

Office: 718-430-2730

Mobile: 617-448-9792’

I include the contact information and urge you all to contact Dr. Alpert to express your outrage that a PGY2 in psychiatry (of all areas!) is posting such horrible and false messages of hate on social media and calling out the hospital, her employer, in such a derogatory way as well. It is also sad to see such hateful behavior coming from a mental health professional and it calls into question her ability to treat all patients respectfully and objectively, Jewish, Israeli and others. Who knows what other populations she hates and what harm she plans for them?

While I know the hospital has an “internal process,” I hope (but doubt) it is a legitimate one. I expect that the process merely requires “sensitivity training” so the institution can “check a box.” She has not been taken “off service” pending the completion of a full and proper investigation. I question if she has been cleared to continue to see/treat patients, especially unsupervised, until such time that it has been determined that she is able to treat all patients with respect and objectivity (which she is clearly not able to do at this time as her post clearly states). If she is seeing/treating patients, the hospital is complicit and responsible for any harmful or dangerous outcomes.

How ironic that a Johns Hopkins Jewish pediatrician was placed on leave and subject to an investigation by his employers after the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a complaint against him for what are equally disturbing comments about Palestinians.

Johns Hopkins response:

We at Johns Hopkins share the concern of many about the deeply disturbing social media posts made by a faculty member in the School of Medicine regarding the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.

The faculty member who made these statements has been placed on leave, and thus will have no interaction with students or patients while we conduct a thorough investigation under our policies and procedures.

Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins University are committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for working, learning and patient care for every member of our community and all those we serve.

Statements that explicitly threaten or extol violence against groups or individuals on the basis of national origin, race or religion violate our policies and do not represent our values.’

I call on all, especially our local and national communal leaders, to put pressure on Montefiore to find their moral compass and take a stand against hate and violence and in support of providing a safe and inclusive environment for all patients and employees.

Name Withheld Upon Request

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