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Iowa Hospital Radiology Pay Dispute Gets Ugly

December 24, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Practice Management
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A dispute over faculty pay at the University of Iowa hospital’s radiology department has degenerated into accusations of name-calling, discrimination, retaliation, and threats—and two civil-rights complaints.

Malik Juweid, MD, a tenured professor on the hospital staff in nuclear medicine, has filed two complaints with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission alleging employment discrimination by Laurie Fajardo, MD, head of the radiology division; Paul Rothman, MD, dean of the Carver College of Medicine; and Lois Geist, MD, associate dean for faculty affairs at the college of medicine.

Dr. Juweid gave copies of his complaints to the Des Moines Register. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Jordan.

Dr. Juweid, a member of the medical college staff since 2000, accused Dr. Fajardo of describing him to a colleague as “an academic terrorist” and using racially charged language, such as referring to a visiting physician of Pakistani origin as “Osama bin Laden.”

His complaint said he had a loud confrontation with Dr. Geist that ended with Dr. Geist threatening “me with losing my job if I continued to raise hell.”

The complaint said, “It was obvious to me that this was motivated by a prior experience with another Arab-American professor and she assumes that Arab-American professor is guilty or violent until proven otherwise.”

Dr. Juweid accused Dr. Rothman of reneging on an agreement to give Dr. Juweid a new reporting structure because of the complaints Dr. Juweid filed with the civil rights commission. “The medical school is apparently sending me messages through a senior faculty member who reports to Dean Rothman urging me that it is in my best interest to leave the university,” the complaint said. “I perceive these messages not only as inappropriate but as veiled threats.”

In an interview with the Register, Dr. Juweid said Drs. Fajardo and Geist began to create a hostile work environment for him in May after he complained that members of the professional radiology staff were paid up to 15 percent less than counterparts at other Midwest teaching hospitals. State employment records show that Dr. Juweid is paid $236,300 annually, according to the Register.

Dr. Juweid said problems culminated with Drs. Fajardo and Geist trying to get him to quit or to have his job terminated.

“Dr. Fajardo intentionally and arbitrarily hindered my conduct of scientific research, denied me research resources, and defamed my academic character so that nobody will be willing to work with me,” Dr. Juweid said in his complaint. “I firmly believe that the actions above were at least in part based on my national origin as an Arab-American.”

Through Tom Moore, a hospital spokesman, Drs. Fajardo, Geist, and Rothman declined to comment. Moore, in a statement, said, “Malik Juweid has filed a number of complaints with the University of Iowa. The UI takes all such complaints very seriously and is thoroughly investigating the validity of each of those complaints under its processes and policies. Unlike Malik Juweid, because this is a confidential personnel matter, the UI is prohibited from discussing the specifics of the complaints filed.”

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One Response to “Iowa Hospital Radiology Pay Dispute Gets Ugly”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Iowa Radiologist Sues Over … Lots Of Things on May 9th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    […] Juweid is a Jordanian-born naturalized U.S. citizen. We first covered his case back in December; click here for that post. Here’s what’s happened since then, as summed up by the Iowa City […]