Medical School Professor Resigns Amid Harassment Allegations

Facing accusations of sexual misconduct, physician and longtime Harvard Medical School professor Harvey J. Makadon resigned from his positions on the faculty at the Medical School and staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center last month.

Makadon, who had taught at the Medical School for decades, was accused of misconduct by several men, including World Bank health policy strategist Armin Fidler. Fidler claims that Makadon made unwanted advances toward him in 1990, while Fidler was a student at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Boston Globe reported Monday. He wrote to Harvard to report the alleged misconduct in November.

Fidler declined to comment for this story.

Gary R. Brissette, a Chestnut Hill doctor who completed his residency at Beth Israel, alleged that Makadon inappropriately touched him in the early 1990s. Another man, a patient who saw Makadon for treatment in the late 1980s, also claims that Makadon sexually harassed him.

In an interview Wednesday, Makadon repeatedly denied sexual harassment claims made by Fidler and others.

“I have no recollection of Dr. Fidler and I certainly did not behave in the way that he described,” he said.

Makadon stepped down from his post at Beth Israel on Dec. 8, when the allegations came to light. According to Medical School spokesperson Gina Vild, Makadon’s faculty position at the Medical School was based on his hospital appointment, so when Makadon resigned from Beth Israel, his Harvard appointment ended simultaneously.

Vild declined to comment on Makadon’s individual case. “While we are not able to discuss specific cases, be assured that we take every concern reported to us extremely seriously,” she said.

Makadon served as an LGBT advisor during his time as clinical professor of medicine at the Medical School. He also formerly worked at Fenway Health, a medical center specializing in the treatment of LGBT individuals, before he was forced to resign amid allegations that he had sexually harassed and bullied coworkers.

The Boston Globe reported that formal complaints made at Fenway Health against Makadon dated back to 2013. Twice since then, Fenway Health commissioned external law firms to investigate the allegations against Makadon. One of these investigations, in 2015, recommended Makadon be fired.

Makadon’s resignations come as a national movement has brought heightened attention to the issue of workplace harassment and toppled powerful men in Hollywood, government, media, and the corporate world. The movement has prompted more individuals to come forward with stories of harassment, and Harvard has seen a 20 percent increase in sexual harassment complaints since it began.

—Staff writer Luke W. Vrotsos can be reached at luke.vrotsos@thecrimson.com.

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