Established in 1889, the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (JHUSOM) consistently ranks among the top-tier universities in the United States. As many as 18 Nobel laureates received their degrees from JHUSOM; two, Gregg L. Semenza and William Kaelin Jr., as recently as 2019. The university maintains its reputation by enforcing stringent standards and emphasizing quality research and curriculums. Medical students graduating from JHUSOM have a wealth of career opportunities waiting for them, whether at Johns Hopkins or virtually any medical institution they choose. However, with a charge of misconduct, professionalism issues, or performance lags, a student's graduation prospects diminish, and they may have to start over or discontinue enrollment.
Medical students go through multiple phases in their rigorous curriculums, and some have trouble keeping up with their peers. Moreover, ethical violations – whether mistaken or intentional – lead to debilitating sanctions that undermine their academic progress. Although JHUSOM does have a process to investigate these cases, the added stress and tension during a hearing make the experience much harder. An attorney-advisor helps medical students navigate JHUSOM's hearing process, allowing them to get back on track and work towards graduation without further delay.
JHUSOM is proud of its national rankings and stresses the importance of mutual respect and cooperation that fosters transparent communication between peers and professors. Upon matriculation, students must read and sign the honor code pledge. The Student Conduct Code maintains that the purpose of JHUSOM's ethical expectations is to:
“Promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the university and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically”.
The Vice Provost for Student Affairs implements the code on a university-wide scale. However, the text maintains that JHUSOM's administration reserves the right to take actions it deems appropriate depending on the severity of the case. Cases of academic misconduct don't fall within these guidelines, and the student's school division manages them.
Remediation options are available at JHUSOM, both for students who need additional time to maintain appropriate grades and those who miss classes due to external events. JHUSOM curriculums operate under a strict schedule. Students must complete their courses within the allotted timeframe to graduate on time. The standards are so stringent that an absence of more than two days requires that the student notify the administration a minimum of 6 weeks in advance.
Students who do not perform well academically or lag in their studies do receive remediation opportunities. Although remediation seems like a waste of time, it may be the only option for failing JHUSOM medical students to remain in their programs and graduate on time.
An expulsion is a last-resort option reserved for the most severe misconduct cases or lack of academic performance. JHUSOM's strict expulsion process strips the student from any rights, privileges, tuition fees, and requires the forfeiture of degrees. The university also includes a permanent notation of expulsion on the student's transcript. Students who receive a permanent dismissal from JHUSOM cannot re-apply to JHUSOM and cannot enter campus grounds. Expelled students also face:
- Ineligibility for other programs. Medical students undergo rigorous selection criteria to enter the medical school of their choice. Since JHUSOM is one of the country's best schools, it may be challenging to seek admission at a different program due to the student's transcript and history.
- Graduation delays. Medical students cannot pick up where they left off after an expulsion. Suppose they manage to get into another program as prestigious as JHUSOM's. In that case, they may need to repeat coursework from the beginning, placing them years behind their peers and their expected graduation date.
- Financial difficulties. Medical school debt is hefty and often reaches the hundreds of thousands. Students expelled from JHUSOM must pay additional fees to get into a new school. This move adds more debt that takes years to pay off, even well after a student graduates.
Students facing sanctions can appeal the committee's decision by writing a letter to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs within five business days of receiving the outcome. The validity of an appeal depends on multiple factors. The student must have evidence that a procedural error occurred, that there is new evidence that wasn't available at the time of the initial investigation, or that the sanctions were too excessive.
Depending on the new information, the Vice Provost either decides to move forward with the appeal or rejects it due to insufficient grounds. An attorney-advisor helps students draft appeal letters that can detour the outcome overhearing. Although it is better to hire an attorney-advisor before a hearing occurs, a successful appeal letter can make all the difference.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical school is an exciting yet challenging time for students who dream of becoming future doctors. Although it is not an easy path, it is an immensely rewarding one that had life-long benefits. When students face misconduct allegations or issues with their education, the threat of sanctions pales compared to the alternative – expulsion or losing their chance at a degree.
The multiple responsibilities that medical students handle adversely impact their well-being. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento understands the unique challenges that medical students face and helps create a strategy to counter the claims during a hearing.
With the knowledge and support of an experienced advisor who works with medical students nationwide, you'll have the confidence to face a panel and appeal when necessary. Whether the issue involves misconduct, academic performance, or ethical violations, every case deserves a thorough and fair review. Attorney-advisor Lento monitors every step of the process and ensures that the medical school review committee considers all the evidence when making a decision.
A medical school issue or honest mistake should not mean ending your future career or starting over. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a thorough and discreet consultation at (888) 535 – 3686.