Founded in 1876, Meharry Medical College (MMC) is one of the oldest medical schools in the United States and home to the Center for Health Policy. MMC is a historically Black school affiliated with the United Methodist Church, expecting students to maintain principles of integrity and professionalism in all aspects of their lives. Medical students attending MMC can expect a wealth of professional opportunities after graduation due to the distinction of the school's programs. The majority of doctors who graduate from MMC later help underserved communities receive high-quality medical and dental care.
Medical students have more responsibilities than the average student, as evidenced by their rigorous curriculums and lengthy study times. However, with the pressure to perform and the multiple responsibilities they juggle, students may buckle under the weight of their course load. The numerous responsibilities may cause medical students to act unprofessionally, negatively affecting their studies, or even their future, as doctors. When sanctions threaten their future, students need the help of an attorney advisor to help them deal with the hearing process and reduce the impact of harsh penalties.
MMC Honor Code
Medical students wishing to become future doctors must abide by professional and ethical standards that highlight their profession. The Student Handbook contains the MMC Honor Code and outlines acceptable behavior and the policies related to professional misconduct. All matriculated students pledge to abide by the Honor Code, which emphasizes:
“The highest standards of individual responsibility. The Student Code of Professional Conduct and Honor Code promotes personal honor and integrity in the best traditions of the health sciences professions. The Honor Code promotes academic honesty and integrity in the classroom, laboratory, clinics, and other academic endeavors. The Honor Code requires students to uphold its principles of fairness, professionalism and ethical behavior; and it also provides procedures to adjudicate alleged violations”.
Maintaining ethical behavior is not the only requirement for graduation: grades must also be up to par. Students who consistently underperform may be subject to sanctions and even permanent dismissal if they cannot keep up with their peers. Without the proper support and guidance during this stressful time in their lives, students can make mistakes that impact their reputations.
The advice of an attorney-advisor during this time is crucial for both moral and procedural support. Attorney advisors understand the pressures of medical school and help students navigate the complicated hearing process. With a studied approach and strategy, students may significantly decrease the impact of penalties and get their academic lives back on track.
Academic achievement and progress are necessary for students to graduate and become doctors. Students who consistently fail to meet the grade requirements of their courses are subject to academic review by the PA Progress Committee that proposes a remediation program for students. Those who fail to meet grade requirements cannot graduate and receive a dismissal from MMC.
Although remediation is a hassle for students already overburdened with studies and exams, it is often the only way to remain in medical school. Remediation keeps grades in perspective and allows students to focus on improving their performance before it's too late. Although inconvenient at times, it is the key to remaining in medical school when no other alternatives exist.
Expulsion is the final option that medical schools resort to in the event of a severe violation of professional conduct or chronic underperformance. Medical schools have set programs that students must follow to graduate. With a permanent discharge, students face more than delayed graduation – in some cases, they drop their dream of becoming a doctor and start a new major. Some of the issues that students must address if they receive an expulsion from MMC include:
- Limitations when getting into another program. Medical schools are already challenging to get into, and an expulsion remains on a student's permanent record. Students who wish to enter a new medical program may not have good options. Admissions officers prefer students that don't have a negative notation on their transcript.
- Time and effort lost. Some students receive an expulsion when they have a few semesters left to graduate. All the time and effort spent on the medical degree becomes obsolete, and they must start over. While some students take on the challenge, it can be too late for others.
- Heavy financial repercussions. Since some students resort to taking on debt to complete medical school, expulsion significantly harms their finances since they may take on another loan. Add daily expenses and even new housing to the mix, and students find that their debt will take over a decade to pay.
Students who violate MMC's policies and procedures and who have received sanctions may appeal the Student Disciplinary Committee’s decision. Students must send a written letter within 72 hours of receiving the decision to the President. The President reviews the evidence and details of the case and makes a final decision regarding appropriate sanctions. An attorney advisor helps students draft a convincing and thorough appeals letter that can boost their chance of a favorable outcome and decrease sanction severity.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
With the mounting pressure of medical school and student responsibilities, a lot can go wrong. One mistake, however, should not mean the end of your dreams of becoming a doctor. With the help of an attorney-advisor like Joseph D. Lento, you don't have to navigate the hearing process alone.
If you or a family member receive notice of a professional violation, don't wait until the panel decides on a penalty. Every minute counts, especially when you are facing suspension or expulsion. With a notation on your permanent record, you may not get into another medical program and lose precious time when you should be training to become a doctor.
Professional misconduct is a serious charge – don't let it ruin your academic and professional life. Call Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a consultation.