Dear College of Medicine Students,
It has come to our attention that a petition is being circulated via the platform Change.org regarding a NEOMED student who feels unjustly treated based upon a disability. We commend those of you who are engaging in this dialog, and in fact, concern for equity and fairness are inherent characteristics of the health care professionals we train and work with every day. While we are unable to comment on individual student issues, we believe the interactive process followed by the Disability and Accommodations Committee was one of fairness, integrity and compassion.
NEOMED fully complies with all state and federal laws protecting people with Disabilities and has an active and engaged Disabilities and Accommodations Committee, which works individually with every student seeking accommodation. Information about Disabilities and Accommodations can also be found in the Student Handbook.
Every college of medicine is required to hold students to a set of academic standards as well as a set of technical standards. Academic standards relate to the knowledge and skills students must master, while technical standards speak to what students must be able to do to successfully complete the program. Medical schools are particularly challenged in upholding technical standards since students’ abilities to meet technical standards may not become clear until well into their medical school careers. Colleges of Medicine are also required to communicate these standards clearly so that students know, before they enroll and throughout their education, what is required of them. NEOMED’s technical standards (also known as “essential functions”) are taken directly from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). All NEOMED students are required to sign a statement that they understood and could meet these requirements. Our accrediting agency, the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), requires us to have a single standard for the graduation of all students. That means we cannot simply waive our core curricular requirements for individual students.
While you have been exposed to one side of a story, please know that there is a wealth of information and details within the other side of that story, most of which will not and can not be shared out of respect for student confidentiality. NEOMED’s College of Medicine cares deeply for each of our students and works tirelessly to that end. We acknowledge the importance of your concerns and view this communication as only the first of our opportunities for the student voice to be heard and responded to. Our next step will be to convene the Student Communication Summit, made up of all peer-elected student representatives M1 through M4 to discuss the best ways to allow for effective communication regarding student concerns.
On behalf of the College of Medicine, my ongoing thanks and appreciation for your engagement and commitment to our COM community.
Elisabeth H. Young, M.D.
Dean, College of Medicine