Fitness Committee Procedure and Review of Professional Performance
The purpose of the Fitness Committee is to protect the public and medical profession by ensuring that the professional standards of the Larner College of Medicine are upheld. The Fitness Committee investigates and recommends appropriate action if
a student's behavior brings into question their fitness for a career in medicine. Findings and recommended actions of the Committee are final unless the student appeals to the Dean and the Dean overturns the Committee decision.
The Fitness Committee consists of five faculty members who serve three–year terms (appointed by the Dean), one of whom is elected annually by the Committee to serve as chair. The appointed members are not responsible for the final summative
assessment of students. The Committee meets as needed depending on the number and nature of referrals. The proceedings of the Committee are strictly confidential, and its voting members will not advise or advocate for individual students.
- A student whose behavior is considered to render them unfit for a career in medicine may be dismissed at any time from the Larner College of Medicine. Such negative behavior includes, but is not limited to, demonstrated poor judgment, lack
of personal integrity, lack of personal accountability, or the conviction of any criminal act when such an act is found to adversely affect the student’s ability to practice medicine. Students of the Larner College of Medicine are expected
to meet, at a minimum, the behavioral expectations found in the Student Handbook (Statement on Medical Professionalism, Tenets of Professionalism, Larner College of Medicine Technical Standards, Student Honor Code, and the Policy on Standards
for Professional Code of Conduct), University’s Student Code and the Code of Academic Integrity. It should also be recognized that this code cannot anticipate every potential offense and that unprofessional behavior not specifically
mentioned in this policy and linked policies can still be subject to academic sanctions.
- Violation of any University policy and/or behavior calling into question a student’s fitness for a career in medicine may result in referral to the Fitness Committee. The Fitness Committee considers the facts established and recommends
appropriate action if a student’s behavior brings into question their fitness for a career in medicine. The Fitness Committee may issue sanctions as a result of their review up to and including dismissal from the Larner College of Medicine.
Among other actions, the Committee can dismiss medical students secondary to appropriate and independent institutional investigation outcomes for any prohibited acts (listed in the University Policy 2.8.9 Code of Student Conduct), upon conclusion
of independent investigation(s).
- A student’s fitness for a career in medicine may be called into question at any time. In such an event, a faculty member will prepare in writing the specific allegations giving rise to the question and submit the statement to the chairperson
of the Fitness Committee. On receipt of the statement of allegation, the chairperson shall convene the Committee to investigate the matter. A student referred to the Fitness Committee will be informed of the pending investigation via emailed
letter from the Committee chairperson. This notification shall:
- State that any student who appears before the Fitness Committee is at risk of dismissal.
- State the specific allegations giving rise to the question of the student’s fitness.
- Advise the student of their right to appear before the Fitness Committee and to be accompanied by a faculty or student advisor of the student’s choice. The advisor must be a member of the University community and shall not be an attorney
or a family member.
- Inform the student of the membership of the Committee. If the student objects to the participation of any member of the Committee, the student must provide a written statement of the objection, including the factual basis for the objection,
to the chairperson of the Committee at least twenty-four hours before the meeting of the Committee. If the objection is deemed reasonable by the chairperson, the member(s) challenged shall recuse themselves from the students review and
be replaced by an alternate, if necessary, to maintain quorum. A member of the Committee will only be removed for actual demonstrated bias. The alternate member will be appointed by the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education in consultation
with the chairperson of the Committee. If the student challenges the Committee’s chairperson, the Senior Associate Dean shall consider the objection and if deemed reasonable shall appoint a substitute chairperson from the faculty
membership of the Fitness Committee or the faculty-at-large. Any appointed alternate member will have full voting rights in the deliberations of the Committee. Members of the Fitness Committee are reminded at each meeting by the chair
that anyone who has provided sensitive health, psychiatric or psychological services to a medical student before the Committee must recuse themselves from taking part in decisions regarding that student’s fitness; moreover, each
member reviews, reaffirms and signs a documented commitment to recuse themselves under the aforementioned circumstances on an annual basis.
- Advise the student of their right to review their file before any hearing by the Committee.
- The student shall have the right to appear before the Fitness Committee and to be accompanied by a faculty or student advisor of the student’s choice. The advisor must be a member of the University community and shall not be an attorney
or a family member. The student shall have the right to review their file before any hearing by the Committee. At the hearing, the student shall have the right to hear the evidence upon which the proceedings are based and attempt to clarify
or correct. The student may present additional data to the Committee. The student may identify witnesses to give evidence. Additional witnesses may be called by the committee at the initial or subsequent meetings.
- Following its investigation, the Committee in executive session will determine whether sanctions, up to and including dismissal are warranted. Decisions will be made by majority vote of the members present and voting. The Fitness Committee
may require continued monitoring of the student by the Committee or by a designated agent. The Committee may also determine appropriate corrective sanctions, which may include, but are not limited to, restitution, specific training, limitations
on placements, etc. A record of the Committee directives and vote will be documented. The student will be furnished a copy of the Committee’s final report. If a student fails to comply with any imposed sanctions the committee will reconvene
to consider further actions. The committee may be alerted of a student’s failure to comply with sanctions by a faculty member or a designee.
- Fitness Committee decisions may be appealed to the Dean of the Larner College of Medicine. The written appeal must be based solely upon issues of procedural error(s), or clear abuse of discretion during the proceedings before the Fitness Committee,
or new evidence which was not available during any hearing before the Fitness Committee.
- The student must provide written notification of intent to appeal a Fitness Committee decision within forty-eight hours of delivery of the committee’s written notification by email.
- The formal written appeal must be provided to the Dean within eight (8) business days of the date indicated on the Fitness Committee decision letter. Unless written appeal is received by the office of the Dean of the College on or before the
8th business day, the decision will be effective as of the ninth business day. In the specific instances where the decision of the Committee is dismissal from the Larner College of Medicine.
- During the interval between receipt of written notification of the decision and the expiration of the appeal period, the student remains actively enrolled in the College.
- If the student submits notification of intent to appeal, they may request personal leave during this period, or they may continue normal student activities, except in instances in which a student has been placed on administrative leave.
- If no notification of intent to appeal is submitted, the student will be placed on administrative leave until the expiration of the appeal period.
- If a student files a formal written appeal within the stipulated requirements, but the dean affirms the decision of the committee in writing, the initial action shall be effective on the date of the dean’s decision.
- The decision of the Dean shall be final.
Applicability of the Policy
All Medical Students
Related Larner College of Medicine Policies
Related University of Vermont Policies
Related Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) Standard(s)
- 3.5 Learning Environment/Professionalism
- 7.7 Medical Ethics
- 5/20/2014 Policy Adopted/Affirmed [Medical Curriculum Committee]
- 7/21/2015 Policy Revised [Medical Curriculum Committee]
- 8/20/2019 Gender Neutral Language Edit [Medical Curriculum Committee]
- 12/17/2019 Reformatted [Medical Curriculum Committee]
- 1/26/2021 Policy Edited/Re-titled [Medical Curriculum Committee]
- 2/16/2021 Policy Edit [Medical Curriculum Committee]
- 9/21/2021 Policy Revised [Medical Curriculum Committee]
- 11/21/2023 Policy Revised [Medical Curriculum Committee]
- 12/19/2023 Policy Revised [Medical Curriculum Committee}
Associate/Assistant Dean for Students
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