Dating its beginnings back to 1909, Loma Linda University School of Medicine is one of eight schools within Loma Linda University, a health sciences institution affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. It is also connected to the Loma Linda Medical Center, which treats upwards of 30,000 patients per year.
The medical profession is a public trust—and in the eyes of Loma Linda University, also a sacred one. Students are held to the highest standards of academic and professional excellence. A stellar academic record can open many career doors for students, but conversely, being disciplined for academic or professional misconduct can severely impact career opportunities. For that reason, it can be extremely beneficial to have an attorney-advisor to assist in student defense for misconduct investigations.
Honor and Professional Accountability Code
Students at Loma Linda School of Medicine are expected to abide by the school's Honor and Professional Accountability Code, which it summarizes as "acquiring behavioral patterns and attitudes consistent with the Loma Linda University School of Medicine Physician's Oath and being accountable for one's own conduct, as well as assuming responsibility for the professional behavior of one's colleagues."
Students' academic progress is monitored and administered by the Academic Review Committee, while acts of misconduct and breaches of professionalism are subject to review by the School of Medicine Professionalism Committee—which, in turn, answers to the Office of the Dean. The school takes allegations of academic or professional misconduct seriously. If a student is found in violation of the standards of conduct, they may be subject to sanctions which can include suspension or dismissal from the school.
Medical students face intense pressure to keep up with rigorous academic schedules while maintaining minimum grades—so much so that sometimes even the most disciplined students struggle to keep up. To help struggling students right the ship academically, the Academic Review Committee may recommend a plan of remediation, among other options, as an alternative to dismissal for academic shortcomings. Remediation may include repeating courses or "deceleration"—putting the student on a lighter workload and a longer graduation timeline. Remediation can cost the student additional time and money, and in some cases, it may be avoided by a successful grade appeal. However, when a struggling student faces dismissal for poor academic performance, remediation may provide a lifeline to save their career.
If a medical student continues to fail to perform academically, or if an investigation concludes the student violated academic or professional policies, Loma Linda School of Medicine may opt for dismissal of the student. This action can severely or permanently damage a student's career prospects. In addition to the immediate humiliation of dismissal itself, the student may now face a cascading array of complications, including:
- Barriers to re-enrolling. Medical schools tend to have stringent admissions policies, and someone who has previously been dismissed from medical school won't likely be considered a priority candidate.
- Loss of academic progress. Provided a medical student manages to re-enroll elsewhere, their prior academic progress won't carry over. The student will start again from the beginning.
- Student debt difficulties. If the student took out financial aid to attend medical school, those student loans would have to be repaid, even without the advantage of a physician's salary. For some medical students, this debt can easily mushroom to $100,000 or more.
Medical students who are suspended or dismissed have the right to appeal the decision. At Loma Linda University School of Medicine, the student has ten days to file an appeal in writing to the dean. The dean then schedules a hearing for the student in front of the School of Medicine Executive Committee to hear their case and make a final decision. Ultimately, this appeals process may be the last line of defense to rescue the student's career.
Attorney-Advisor for Medical Students
Medical schools naturally face intense public pressure to keep a flawless reputation and maintain high academic and professional standards. This pressure sometimes results in a lack of due process, or disproportionate punishment for the medical student accused of misconduct, damaging the student's career prospects in the process. Hiring an attorney-advisor can mitigate this risk and the resulting damage. An attorney-advisor can help the student fully understand the disciplinary process and the best steps to provide a fair defense and ensure due process. In many cases, an advisor's support can make the difference between a positive and negative outcome, often rescuing the student's career.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have successfully helped many medical students who face an uncertain future due any school-related issue, including academic or professional misconduct allegations. Take the proper steps to protect your rights now. Call (888) 535-3686 to learn more.