Established in 1908, the Stanford University School of Medicine (SUSM) is one of the most prestigious and selective medical schools in the United States. The unique and multifaceted curriculum trains medical students to be experts in their respective fields, emphasizing diversity and closing the inequality gap. SUSM is part of the Stanford Medicine complex. Its hospital, Stanford Health Care, is among the top-ranked in California.
Being part of the SUSM community takes hard work, perseverance, and responsibility. SUSM policies underscore the importance of professionalism and academic performance to preserve its reputation as one of the best medical schools nationwide. Students who consistently underperform or breach ethical principles risk severe sanctions – with permanent dismissal being the most damaging. Without the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney advisor, students risk delaying graduation and even placement at SUSM.
SUSM Professionalism Principles
According to SUSM's Professionalism Principles, ethical behavior is among the highlights of the physician's profession. Professionalism, therefore, is not just a requirement on campus but in all facets of a medical student's life. In addition, the policy promotes principles of altruism, accountability, and responsibility and states that:
“Professionalism comprises those attributes and behaviors that serve to maintain patient interests above physician self-interest. Professionalism extends beyond interactions with patients and their families, however. Professionalism also involves relationships and interactions between all those involved in medical education and the delivery of patient care including physicians, students, administrators, and allied health professionals”.
SUSM has a three-step process to address issues listed in the Procedures for Addressing Performance, Professionalism, and Technical Standards Concerns. Those who suspect the breach of professional standards must report the infarction to the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and the Committee on Performance Professionalism and Promotion (CP3).
Students receive notice of the alleged infarction, and the Senior Associate Dean attempts to resolve the issue. If the parties do not agree, the matter escalates to a CP3 informal Hearing. If the problem still needs review and no parties are satisfied with the outcome, then a formal hearing occurs.
Unlike some medical schools, SUSM allows students to have an attorney-advisor present during the Formal Hearing. However, the advisor may not participate directly in the proceedings. Since these hearings involve an inspection of a student's record and may lead to permanent dismissal, an attorney's experience and guidance are invaluable during this process.
Students must master their coursework to handle the pressure of their future profession effectively. Thus, SUSM holds its students to a high academic standard and may dismiss them if they do not maintain good grades.
Students with academic deficiencies receive a review by the CP3, receiving a notice if there is an issue with their performance.
The CP3 places failing students on academic probation and restrict their curriculum until they can complete their coursework. Moreover, the CP3 may require the student to complete a remedial curriculum or stay on administrative hold. Those who fail to improve their academic performance despite these initiatives face permanent dismissal from SUSM.
It is no secret that medical school is grueling for students and keeping up is no simple task. However, it's pertinent to remember that students are also human and juggle multiple responsibilities daily. Remediation may be burdensome, but it is the only option that medical students have when their degree is on the line.
Expulsion from SUSM
Students work tirelessly to receive admission at a medical school as prestigious as SUSM. However, a lapse in judgment, mistake, or even a false allegation of misconduct can end the student's placement and chances of attending other high-caliber medical programs.
SUSM reserves permanent dismissal for only the most egregious offenses. Still, it doesn't mean that the panel is immune to making mistakes. Unfortunately, students under the mercy of these panels also have to deal with the possibility of bias and procedural errors.
An expulsion charge comes with long and short-term consequences that some students may not consider. Examples include:
- A record of expulsion on their transcript
- Reputation damage that transcends personal life and affects career opportunities and specific licensing requirements
- Difficulty enrolling in another medical school due to strict admission requirements
- Having to start from zero if the student manages to enroll in another program
- Increase in debt due to unexpected expenses and taking on additional student loans
- Loss of scholarships, privileges, and housing
Students facing expulsion have the right to appeal the decision of the Senate Executive Committee. The student must send the appeal as a grievance to the Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine. After the Dean reviews the case details, they make a final decision regarding the matter and inform the student.
An attorney advisor can help students formulate an appeal letter to increase the likelihood of receiving a favorable outcome. However, students should contact an advisor before sending an appeal – ideally, as soon as they learn about the allegations against them.
Although advisors can only be present during a formal hearing, they can guide students from the onset of the process to reduce the likelihood of receiving such extreme sanctions.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
No matter how hard a student works, even the brightest and most ethical can make a mistake. However, without a proper defense strategy, students risk facing a stressful process alone. They may not defend themselves adequately through the process or in front of a panel.
Attorney Advisor Joseph D. Lento helps medical students facing allegations of professional misconduct and those facing remediation or expulsion due to academic underperformance. Attorney Lento understands the pressure that medical students face and fights for their rights when bias or procedural errors threaten their rights. A lapse in judgment or genuine mistake should prevent a student from graduating and achieving their goals.
Don't let academic underperformance or professional misconduct allegations ruin your graduation prospects. You don't have to face a panel alone. Instead, call the Lento Law Firm today for a discreet and thorough consultation at 888-535-3686.