Understanding the Problem of Bullying from a Medical Perspective

Dr. Arthur Klein on the importance of training pediatricians to diagnose and treat bullying

Bullying and pediatriciansThe newest member of the Operation Respect Board of Directors, Dr. Arthur Klein, brings a strong medical perspective to the organization. Klein currently serves as president of the Mount Sinai Health Network, as executive vice president of Mount Sinai Hospital, and as executive vice president of the Icahn School of Medicine.

As a pediatric cardiologist who also has run pediatric hospitals and departments, Klein believes strongly that bullying is a “medical issue—one that needs to be represented more intentionally in the pediatric professional community.”

Pediatric specialists, Klein says, “must be trained to identify which of their patients is being bullied and what effect/impact that’s having on their lives, their academic performance, etc.”

When children are being bullied, they often don’t know that they have an outlet for addressing the problem, so they “just take the abuse,” Klein said. “Operation Respect’s curriculum and programming lets our children know that there are adults in their life who are aware that bullying is a problem–and that they can come talk to a trusted adult about ways to deal with being bullied.

“That’s a very potent message.”

Klein’s awareness of the needs within the medical community (in identifying the signs of bullying in their patients) combined with his commitment to “give back to society,” compelled him to join the board of directors.

“I have immense respect for Operation Respect’s co-founder, Peter Yarrow, as an iconic figure in the peace movement. His commitment to social justice is extraordinary. My friendship with Peter compelled me to ask myself, ‘What can I do? I’m from a culture where if you are successful, you are expected to give back to society.’”

Klein, who describes himself as “very pragmatic,” says that he intends to give back by bringing lessons learned from his strong track record in philanthropy to help the work of organization.

“My hope is that I’m able to broaden Operation Respect’s financial base—so that its work can be expanded to more schools and help more children. If I can accomplish that, I will have done something.”



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