University of Hawai’i John A. Burns School of Medicine

Located on the island of O'ahu, John A. Burns School of Medicine, or JABSOM, is a part of the larger University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. The school consistently ranks as one of the best national institutions of health throughout the United States. The school's expectations of its students are, naturally, high.

Students can face challenges retaining their status with the university for a myriad of reasons, though. JABSOM's expectations regarding academic performance and also JABSOM's honor code and applicable sanctions can make it difficult for a student to make it through the school's program unimpeded. What's more, though, certain sanctions can make it impossible for the school's students to pursue careers in their chosen field.

Academic challenges or allegations of misconduct at JABSOM can leave students feeling directionless. That, however, is where an attorney-advisor can step in to help. Attorney-advisors can help students break down the language surrounding their academic issues or professionalism accusations and address them accordingly.

Honor Code

All medical schools, including JABSOM, assess their students' professionalism alongside their academic performances. In doing so, the university claims to vet its students' aptitude for the medical field. That is where the university's code of conduct comes into play. Here, the University of Hawai'i medical school outlines its expectations of its students as well as those behaviors that may result in sanctions.

In terms of professionalism, students are expected to maintain civil relationships with one another, their instructors, university staff, and any patients who come to the university. Similarly, students are expected to engage respectfully with all university equipment, including cadavers that may have been donated to the school.

The university responds poorly to students who engage in illegal activities on- or off-campus. Students are also expected to abide by the administrative directives set forth by university representatives.

What's more, the student code of conduct notes that “any behavior judged to be unbecoming of or inconsistent with being a medical professional” can result in on-campus sanctions, including dismissals. That broad language can see many students brought up on charges that the school otherwise did not specify. Should those charges hold, medical students can see their futures in the field ripped away from them.


In the eyes of JABSOM, students can fall behind professionally in one of two ways. They can engage in any of the aforementioned inappropriate behaviors, or they can show signs of academic failure.

The Evaluation Review and Remediation Committee (ERRC) reviews each student's academic and professional performance once a semester. This committee watches students who seem to be performing poorly and can intercede if necessary. Should a student fall behind academically or have a habit of engaging in unprofessional behavior, then the ERRC will recommend a remediation program.

Remediation programs at JABSOM require students to establish a timetable on which they will improve their behavior, grades, or both. The ERRC will assign the student a supervising faculty member as well as a date for re-evaluation. Should a student fail to abide by the standards established in their remediation timetable, they'll be referred to the Student Standing and Promotion Committee (SSPC), which may assign them sanctions.

The university records all instances of remediation in a student's permanent files, meaning that they are available for professionals to access upon request.

Dismissal and Additional Sanctions

Students who come before the SSPC have their standing within the school of medicine brought into question. Normally, students who come to these debates have failed academically, received an unsatisfactory evaluation in a course, or otherwise been referred to the committee for unprofessional behavior. Instances of academic misconduct can also land a student in front of the SSPC.

Once here, the committee will consider the student's history in the classroom, behavioral records, and failed remediation. Interested parties will be invited to present testimonies regarding the student's behavior. Instead of appealing to a jury of their peers, students will instead place their fates in the hand of the committee, which decides the student's status but unanimous vote. Sanctions issued by the SSPC can include:

  • Continuation of active status as a student
  • Academic probation
  • Administrative leaves of absence
  • Dismissal from the program

Medical students are given many opportunities to realign with the university's professionalism standards prior to their dismissal from the program. That said, JABSOM has several causes to separate a student from their program. These include:

  • Failed remediation
  • USMLE exam failure
  • Failure to complete the medical school curriculum within seven years
  • More than five appearances before the SSPC
  • A history of unprofessional behavior
  • Failure to register for courses
  • Extended absences from campus


Each student has the right to appeal the decision the SSPC made regarding their standing. To do so, students are required to deliver a written appeal to the Chair of the Academic Appeals Committee within a week of learning of the SSPC's decision. These appeals, however, only move forward if the student can prove that the SSPC came to their decision arbitrarily or with malicious intent.

Discuss Allegations of Misconduct with an Attorney-Advisor

JABSOM expects much of its students. It strives to preserve the university's standing in the eyes of both the academic and medical communities. Students, then, who struggle academically or are accused of engaging in unprofessional behavior on or off campus can face serious, and undeserved, repercussions. The remediation and dismissal process can make it more difficult for a student to continue their education or otherwise pursue the career of their dreams.

Students facing academic issues or accusations of unprofessional behavior or other misconduct at JABSOM are not alone. Interested parties can contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. The Firm knows how to break down the language behind a school's honor code and can provide students with legal counsel should they be accused of misconduct.

Don't leave a future in the medical field up to fate. Reach out to attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm by calling 888-535-3686 or via the Firm's online form.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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