Medicine is a noble profession. Doctors and nurses literally hold our lives in their hands, and in keeping with that level of responsibility, we as a society insist they maintain the very highest standards of professionalism and ethics. How do we instill those standards? By strictly enforcing them in medical schools across the country.
That's particularly true at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Auburn Campus (VCOM-Auburn). The school has a special mission: to produce medical professionals who can serve in the many medically underserved regions around the United States. In fact, over sixty-six percent of VCOM-Auburn's graduates wind up working in states with underserved populations. It takes dedication and commitment to take on a role like that, and VCOM-Auburn works hard to ensure all of its students are ready for the many challenges they'll face.
In fact, VCOM-Auburn's many expectations can be daunting, even to an advanced med school student. After all, none of us is perfect. If you find yourself facing unfair expectations or being accused of something you didn't actually do, remember: you have a right to defend yourself. Medical schools are prestigious institutions, but they aren't infallible. You'll need help, though. Luckily there are attorneys out there who specialize in protecting student rights and defending students from unfair charges.
Academic and Professional Standards
VCOM-Auburn expects you to excel both academically and professionally. The school maintains separate policies for dealing with problems in these two areas. Both are outlined in the VCOM College Catalog and Student Handbook.
All academic matters are dealt with by the Promotion Board. This body is made up of various school faculty and administrators. It meets at the end of each block/ rotation to review student grades and initiates hearing procedures for any student in academic distress. This includes problems such as failing a course, failing a rotation, consistently low grades, or allowing your cumulative GPA to fall below 2.6. The Promotion Board has the power to recommend a number of sanctions, including:
- Peer tutoring
- Academic counseling
- Additional coursework
- Repeat an academic year
In keeping with the school's emphasis on student governance, the Honor Code Council (HCC)—made up of students—has primary responsibility for dealing with Honor Code or disciplinary violations. These can include disciplinary infractions such as cheating or “disruptive” behavior. They can also include personal and professional misbehavior. Indeed, VCOM-Auburn prohibits any behavior “on or off-campus” that “would or could cause a loss of respect or confidence in the offending student.”
While the HCC identifies violations and deals with minor offenses, major disciplinary offenses are referred to the Professional and Ethical Standards Board (PESB), which is made up of school faculty and administrators. The HCC and the PESB can recommend sanctions, including:
- Restriction of privileges
Remediation: Getting Your Academic Future Back on Track
Medical school is difficult, but you should know your school doesn't want you to fail. VCOM invests a great deal of time and money into screening applicants and making sure it only admits the best candidates. Failures call that process and the school's education itself into question. Normally, then, the school will do all it can to try to help you if you fall behind.
One of the most common ways of addressing academic distress is remediation. In fact, by providing a safety net, remediation has helped to salvage many a medical career.
However, remediation typically costs both time and money. You may have other options, like appealing your original grade. The Promotion Board isn't likely to suggest such options since they will depend on your specific situation. However, an experienced attorney, someone who knows how medical schools operate, may be able to suggest a range of alternatives to help keep your career on track.
While VCOM-Auburn wants you to succeed, it is certainly not above dismissing you for consistently low scores or egregious disciplinary offenses. As you might imagine, dismissal can have long-lasting impacts on your life and career.
- Trouble resuming your medical education: If VCOM-Auburn should dismiss you, you'll probably have trouble finding a spot at another school. Most programs give priority to new med school applicants.
- Loss of academic progress: Should you manage to find another school to take you, you may still have to start your education over. Medical school credits don't usually transfer if you've been dismissed.
- Permanent academic record notations: Even if you enroll at another school and complete the program, your dismissal could appear on your permanent record. That could cause problems when you're trying to establish your career.
- Student debt: Finally, if you aren't able to resume your studies, you'll find that your medical school loans will quickly come due. You could very well find yourself paying for an education you didn't complete.
As these consequences suggest, it is always in your best interest to fight any attempt by your school to dismiss you. In fact, you should fight all sanctions since even a warning can mar your professional record. If you're being dismissed, though, you have nothing to lose by fighting.
You'll find taking on your school is difficult to do alone, though. Medical schools don't like to admit they've made mistakes. An attorney can help you to prepare your case, gather witness testimony, and organize evidence. VCOM-Auburn doesn't allow attorneys to accompany you to hearings. However, an attorney can offer advice and give you practice in making your own arguments.
How Can Joseph D. Lento Help You?
Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of medical students from around the country successfully defend themselves from all types of charges. Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney, but he's made protecting student rights the focus of his career. He understands how schools operate, he knows their processes and procedures, and he's comfortable negotiating with faculty and administrators.
If you're facing a sanction from your medical school of any type, contact the Lento Law Firm today. Call 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.