BACKGROUND: We recognize that students have a variety of life experiences prior to matriculation into medical school and varying levels of understanding about the expectations of professional students. The School of Medicine provides learning opportunities throughout medical school to help students develop the high level of professional conduct expected of physicians.
POLICY: All medical students are expected to comply with regulations and policies established by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the School of Medicine (SOM). Students are also expected to conduct themselves according to acceptable professional standards of behavior inside and outside the classroom.
Approved 11/3/98 by Dean William B. Deal, MD. Amended on July 2, 2009 by Robert R. Rich, MD, Dean, School of Medicine.
- Concerns about medical student behavior should be directed to the Associate Dean for Students (ADS). Students, faculty, staff, or external sources may report non-academic conduct or behavior concerns.
- The (ADS) and Medical Student Services (MSS) staff will communicate closely with faculty and medical education staff so that concerns about conduct can be appropriately documented and students can be monitored for progress in the development of high professional standards.
- When behavior(s) or event(s) are brought to the attention of the ADS, the student may be asked to come in for an assessment with a senior faculty or staff member. The purpose of this session is to gather information from the student about the reported behavior and their perceptions about it, and to provide coaching feedback when appropriate.
- Depending upon the outcome of this meeting, the student may be referred for further evaluation, such as to the Physician Resource Office.
- Based upon the seriousness of the concern and the student's response to the concern, the student may be given sanctions including, but not limited to, a fine for lateness of compliance with SOM requirements, suspension of university services, or a confidential letter kept on file in the Associate Dean's office. A letter may be referenced and/or placed in the student record if further concerns arise about the student's conduct.
- Conduct or actions deemed to be a serious breach of SOM standards or a pattern of behavior which persists in spite of coaching and counseling will be deemed "Non-Academic Misconduct," and will be reported to the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education (SADME).
- When allegations of Non-Academic Misconduct are reported, the SADME will initiate a review of the allegations and supporting facts. If the allegations are found to be lacking in merit, the complaint is dismissed and no further action is taken.
- If the allegations are found to have merit, the SADME may attempt to resolve the matter in consultation with the student. If the SADME and student reach an agreement to resolve the situation, the agreement will be implemented and no further action will be taken.
- Based upon the judgment of the SADME, s/he may draft a formal written charge of Non-Academic Misconduct and constitute a faculty committee of 3 to 5 experienced SOM faculty members to review the case. The committee will choose a chair from among its members to conduct the meeting. The SADME will be present at the meeting as a resource for questions about institutional and school policy. The ADS will also be present to answer questions concerning specific student and institutional actions.
- Written notice of the charge of Non-Academic Misconduct will be sent to the student. The notice will include a brief summary of the allegation(s) and supporting facts, a copy of this policy and procedure, notice of the student's right to a hearing and the right to be accompanied by an advisor of the student's choosing, and notice of the hearing date(s).
- If the student declines the opportunity for a hearing, s/he may submit a written response to the allegation(s) for consideration by the committee. If the student does not choose to participate in a hearing, the committee may receive written documentation for and in opposition to the allegation(s), and may interview any witnesses it believes may have information related to the charge(s).
- If the student chooses to have a hearing, s/he may be present during the proceeding and may direct questions to witnesses through the chair of the committee. An advisor may accompany the accused student but may not participate in the hearing. S/he may consult with the student during the hearing in a way that is not disruptive. The student may offer testimony and/or other evidence to rebut the charge(s) and will be afforded an opportunity to make brief opening and closing statements to the committee.
- The committee will meet to deliberate in a timely fashion, preferably immediately after the hearing. A written report will be produced, to include findings, conclusions, and recommendations of disciplinary action if appropriate.
- The SADME may accept the findings and recommendations in whole or in part, or may return the case to the committee with instructions for further consideration. Once s/he has made a decision, written notification will be given to the student in a timely fashion.
- If the decision is for sanctions other than suspension or dismissal, the decision of the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education is final.
- If the decision is for suspension or dismissal from the School of Medicine, the student will be informed about the option to appeal to the Dean of the School of Medicine. The student will be advised that he/she must notify the SADME in writing within 10 days of receipt of the decision. If written notification is not received by the designated time, the decision will become final and no further action will be taken by the School of Medicine.
- If a timely appeal is made, any disciplinary action imposed by the SADME will be stayed while the appeal is under review by the Dean. The Dean and/or his/her delegate(s) will review the process followed in the case and any new facts the student wishes to offer for consideration. The Dean may schedule an interview with the student if it is believed to be of assistance in the appeal process. The Dean will notify the student of his/her decision in writing as soon as possible following conclusion of the review. The decision of the Dean of the School of Medicine is final.
- The SADME will notify the UAB Assistant Vice President for Student Life of medical student Non-Academic Misconduct findings.
DIRECTIONS UAB Student Handbook, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Non-Academic Conduct Policy
UASOM Student Code of Conduct
Approved July 7, 2009 by Robert R. Rich, MD, Dean, School of Medicine.