Established in 1872, the University of Missouri School of Medicine is one of the oldest medical schools in Missouri, renowned for exceptional research activity and high-quality, patient-centered care. MU School of Medicine ranks among the top nationwide medical schools for family and community medicine and primary health. Being part of this vibrant community opens multiple doors after graduation, with career and research opportunities backed by early clinical training.
Becoming a doctor is a long, challenging, and rewarding road. Medical students must demonstrate exceptional moral and professional ethics as part of their training to prepare for the rigors of their profession. A violation of MU School of Medicine's professional conduct standards may lead to sanctions that include expulsion and withdrawal of recognition. Without the help of an attorney advisor, students accused of professional misconduct face numerous challenges that prevent them from starting their careers on time.
Honor Code and Professional Standards
According to the MU School of Medicine student handbook, professionalism is a core component of the future physician's personality. To protect its reputation and patients' lives, the school cannot tolerate violations of its Foundation Values and standards of conduct. Upon matriculation, students pledge to uphold the honor code and the standards appropriate for a medical professional. The policy maintains that:
“The University of Missouri School of Medicine's Foundation Values emphasize collaboration and collegiality, respect for others, and a commitment to diversity. We hold in high regard professional behaviors and attitudes, including altruism, integrity, and the pursuit of excellence. We assert that effective learning [flourishes] in an environment of mutual respect between teachers and learners, in which teachers are role models and set the tone for learners”.
Multiple avenues exist to report misconduct violations at MU School of Medicine. Initially, the reports undergo a review by the Associate Dean of Student Programs. Depending on the offense, the Associate Dean may add a formal letter of misconduct to the student's file, alert the Committee on Student Promotions, and the Honor Council if applicable.
Students who violate the standards of conduct face multiple sanctions. Some of these penalties include warnings, probationary status, loss of privileges, temporary dismissal, suspension, and expulsion. Students facing permanent dismissal have the right to appear before a committee to defend themselves before the decision is final.
Students have the opportunity to make up for failing grades through MU School of Health's remediation policy. The remediation courses occur during winter, spring, and summer breaks to reduce pressure and stress. However, failing students may receive academic probation, which changes depending on the student's academic progress. Students cannot progress to the next phase of their training unless they pass their courses. Even if students complete the remediation program, unsatisfactory grades remain on their transcript.
The remediation policy at MU School of Health allows students to plan and gives them ample time to catch up. Although some may feel that the courses are burdensome, they are the only way to stay enrolled at MU School of Health. Moreover, since they don't occur within the standard timeframe of the semester, students don't have to miss the rest of their courses or pause their studies.
Students who commit egregious offenses and regularly violate the standards of conduct may face permanent dismissal. Expelled students may assume that they can quickly seek another medical school – but the matter is more complicated than they believe. Medical schools reserve this step for offenses that may place others at risk. Admissions officers consider these factors when reviewing applications. Some of the issues that expelled students face include:
- The inability to find another medical program in time to graduate with their peers
- A note of expulsion that remains on their final transcript
- Reputation damage that extends beyond school to professional settings
- Loss of time and effort if the student must start a new program over
- Financial burdens that leave them thousands of dollars in debt
- Loss of housing privileges that cause them to seek unexpected accommodation
- Decrease in morale that prevents them from pursuing a medical degree
Expulsion can end a student's dream of becoming a doctor. Those who do not have a robust defense strategy are at risk of losing their right to a fair hearing. Although students can contest the termination recommendation after a committee hearing, the process takes a psychological toll.
Fortunately, students may appeal the panel’s decision for permanent dismissal. Moreover, students may continue to attend courses until their case receives review. An appeal is not a guarantee that students won't receive permanent dismissal. However, it offers students a chance to defend themselves and present new evidence that positively affects their case outcome.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical students are still exploring their boundaries and are only human. Mistakes can happen, as do lapses in judgment. Despite these issues, students should not have to pay a price that affects their academic progress and, ultimately, their future careers. Getting into medical school is a feat unto itself, requiring years of planning and dedication to actualize. A student's hard work and effort crumbles with a professional misconduct charge, especially one that leads to expulsion.
An attorney advisor during this time can significantly improve a student's chances of receiving a favorable case outcome. Even if the advisor cannot participate directly in a hearing, their guidance boosts student morale and helps them address allegations confidently. Attorney advisors recognize procedural errors, bias, and lack of due process.
Attorney Advisor Joseph D. Lento works with students to decrease the likelihood of receiving an unreasonable or overly harsh sanction. With years of experience helping students fight for their right to a fair hearing, Attorney Lento is there when all hope seems lost.
An academic issue or professional misconduct charge at MU School of Health does not have to be an academic death sentence. Every student deserves a second chance and has rights, regardless of the case details. Contact the Lento Law Firm today for a discussion about the next steps at 888-535-3686.