Faculty Council approved—09/27/2017
It is the expectation of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences that all members of the school’s community will be treated with respect. The learning environment must be inclusive and supportive of individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, socioeconomic class, gender or sexual minority status, disability, military service, life experience or outlook.
The purpose of this policy is to define student mistreatment and provide mechanisms for reporting violations of this policy.
The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences recognizes that preparation for a career in medicine demands the acquisition of a large fund of knowledge and a host of special skills. It also demands the strengthening of those virtues that undergird the doctor–patient relationship and that sustain the profession of medicine as a moral enterprise. This Policy serves both as a pledge and as a reminder to teachers and learners that their conduct in fulfilling their mutual obligations is the medium through which the profession inculcates its ethical values.
The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences defines student mistreatment as any violation of the policies set forth in this document. The tenets described below are drawn from the Principles outlined by Cohen in “Our Compact with Tomorrow’s Doctors” (Cohen. Our Compact with Tomorrow’s Doctors. Acad. Med. 2002; 77:475 – 480).
Medical educators have a duty not only to convey the knowledge and skills required for delivering the profession’s contemporary standard of care but also to inculcate the values and attitudes required for preserving the medical profession’s social contract across generations.
The learning environments conducive to conveying professional values must be suffused with integrity. Students learn enduring lessons of professionalism by observing and emulating role models who epitomize authentic professional values and attitudes.
Fundamental to the ethic of medicine is respect for every individual, be they students, staff, patients, or anyone who falls within their sphere of contact. Mutual respect between students, as novice members of the medical profession, and their teachers, as experienced and esteemed professionals, is essential for nurturing that ethic. Given the inherently hierarchical nature of the teacher–student relationship, teachers have a special obligation to ensure that students are always treated respectfully.
The Faculty of the Jacobs School pledge that:
Examples of conduct that is considered inappropriate in a teaching role include, but are not limited to:
Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs or the chair of the Learning Environment Committee (see below). Non-trivial questions and answers should be forwarded to the chair of the Learning Environment Committee who will be responsible for compiling a FAQ that will be appended to the end of this document.
The administration and faculty of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences have zero tolerance for violations of this Policy. Students who feel that they have been subjected to conduct which violates this Policy or have witnessed behavior that they believe violates this Policy are encouraged to report the incident verbally, or in writing, to the course coordinator in Phase 1, or the clerkship/elective director in Phase 2.
If the incident involved the course coordinator or clerkship/elective director, or if the student feels that these options are insufficient, or may result in negative outcome to their grade or evaluation, they may report these violations to the Office of Medical Education Coordinator, or the Post-Baccalaureate Coordinator in the Office of Medical Education. These individuals will attempt to resolve the matter, but if further intervention is required, they will contact the Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs and the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. The Senior Associate Dean contacted will convene a meeting of the Learning Environment Committee (“Committee”) which will consider the merits of the complaint and determine whether a violation of this Policy has occurred. The Committee will also maintain a record of all reports submitted to the Committee. If the complaint is found to have merit, the Committee will ask the appropriate supervisor (Chair, Program Director, Course Director, or supervisor of the individual) for disciplinary or corrective action. The supervisor will then be asked to provide a report to the Learning Environment Committee regarding the outcome.
Students also have the option of filing a complaint on the UB-wide EthicsPoint System.
For investigations of violations of this Policy by faculty, the committee will report to the Department Chair or the Dean’s Office if the report involves a chairperson of the Department. Faculty discipline will be in accordance with the UB policy on faculty mistreatment as detailed in the Faculty/Staff Handbook, III., University at Buffalo Academic Policies, III.C. Complaints against Faculty.
For investigations of violations of this Policy by residents, the Committee will report the complaint to the Residency Program Director or the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education.
For investigations of violations of this Policy by hospital personnel employed by an affiliated hospital or clinic, the committee will report its concern to the Dean (or designee). The Dean or designee will then contact the director of human resources or the equivalent at that site and will be asked to report back to the Learning Environment committee with the results of the investigation.