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Office for a Respectful Learning Environment

Debra Byler, MD

Debra Byler, MD

Welcome to the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment.

Our mission is to foster an educational community at Penn State College of Medicine in which all learners and educators feel supported, challenged, valued, and respected. This is a community endeavor; everyone can help, and anyone can hurt. We want every student to have a positive experience at the College of Medicine. Mistreatment arises when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and interferes with the learning process.

The LCME mandates “that the learning environment of its educational programs is conducive to the ongoing development of explicit and appropriate professional behaviors in its [learners], faculty, and staff at all locations and is one in which all individuals are treated with respect” (LCME Functions and Structure of a Medical School). Our goal is to exceed that mandate.

This office serves all learners at Penn State College of Medicine: medical students, graduate students, PA students, residents and fellows.

You can report mistreatment anonymously or choose to identify yourself. All reports will be handled with complete confidentiality. Use the “report mistreatment” button on this page to report any issue or potential issue.

Contact Us

With questions, contact Director Dr. Debra Byler at 717-531-8790 or

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Answers to Your Questions about Respectful Treatment

What is C.O.R.E.? Expand answer

C.O.R.E. stands for Culture of Respect in Education. It is the main institutional policy that sets the stage for a respectful learning environment in our College of Medicine. It covers a wide range of behaviors.

Learn more about the C.O.R.E. policy here.

How Do I Report Events of Student Mistreatment? Expand answer

There are five ways to report mistreatment events.

  1. Course Evaluations: On the end-of-course evaluations, there are questions about whether you have experienced mistreatment or if you have witnessed others being mistreated.
  2. Clerkship Evaluations: On the end-of-clerkship evaluations, there are questions about whether you have experienced mistreatment or if you have witnessed others being mistreated.
  3. SIMBA: In SIMBA, under the Student Resources tab, there is a link for the Mistreatment Reporting Form.
  4. This Website: The Office for a Respectful Learning Environment’s section of the Current Students website links to the Mistreatment Reporting Form.
  5. Contact Debra Byler: Dr. Byler can be contacted at or at 717-531-8790. He will set up a time to discuss your concern and then decide how best to proceed. Any discussions Dr. Byler has with students are confidential within the limits of the law.
Is There A Preferred Method for Reporting Different Types of Mistreatment? Expand answer

You can report mistreatment through any of the options listed above. Our goal has been to make it as easy as possible for students to report mistreatment and that is why we have provided different options.

That said, it is obvious that if you have a concern with a specific course, reporting that concern on the course evaluation might be easiest. However, sometimes students have an issue with a sense of urgency and do not want to wait until the end of the course or clerkship to report mistreatment.

Using SIMBA, this website, or contacting Dr. Byler are always options.

What Happens if I Report Mistreatment? Expand answer

What happens when a mistreatment report is filed can vary depending on the circumstances.

Learn more about what happens when mistreatment is reported here.

Where Do These Reports Go? Expand answer

All reports that are submitted go directly to Dr. Debra Byler. Based on the content of the report, Dr. Byler either takes action directly or sends it to someone with expertise in the problematic area. If you decide to submit a report, you always have the option of remaining anonymous.