Conference Code of Conduct

An Open Letter to HIMSS

Still trying to get any response from HIMSS regarding their code of conduct, procedures, protocol, and contact information for reporting sexual harassment and assault situations at conferences and sanctioned community events. Something, anything.

I have emailed all the publicly available contacts several times over the past few months, without a reply. I have canvassed the member’s forums and listservs. I’ve even submitted articles and op-eds within HIMSS Media outlining the problem and reached out on social media. I find it disturbing that a conference with 40k attendees from all over the world has been so unresponsive to inquiries on how to report misconduct and assault.

So, short post. I’ll expand later when I have support, or a reply. Still counting….

Update: March 18 I recieved a reply from Joyce Lofstrom, Senior Director of Communications at HIMSS, letting me know that their legal counsel would be in touch, sometime after she returns to the office on March 28th.

Update: April 2 This is getting long. Spoke with Racquel Orenick, HIMSS legal counsel, who was only able to confirm that any reports of misconduct, harassment or assault should be directed to one of a dozen different emails publicly listed. Of those mentioned, himss@himss.org was named first (coincidentally, my first attempt as well) and herself, last. If those attempts are unsuccessful, reach out to anyone on the Executive board, listed here. While HIMSS has many different codes of conduct, conference attendees are only expected to abide by the terms and conditions of their registration, which does not include any behavior clauses. Unfortunately, unless something has already personally happened and a complaint is being filed, HIMSS is unable to share their internal CoC policies or procedures. There are currently no guidelines for attendee conduct.

What’s perhaps even more unsettling is the refusal to disclose information that is being asked on a personal level due to their belief that I am “press” and therefore must submit all enquires through HIMSS PR. I have been talking back and forth with HIMSS PR for the past month, and they sent me to legal. I am not paid to write, and I have no contract with any media outlet. I tweet a lot and spend too much time online, submit some things to publishers, but this was a personal request. The sad truth is, this website is the only way I managed to get any response from HIMSS, and now they are using it as the basis to avoid answering any questions regarding the personal safety of 40k people. The irony? I was explicitly denied press credentials a year ago by Joyce Lofstrom, when I was writing regularly.

That’s not right.

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