In This Section

Student Affairs Policies and Procedures

AAMC Compact Between Teachers and Learners of Medicine

Preparation for a career in medicine demands the acquisition of a large fund of knowledge and a host of special skills. It also demands the strengthening of those virtues that undergird the doctor/patient relationship and that sustain the profession of medicine as a moral enterprise. This Compact serves both as a pledge and as a reminder to teachers and learners that their conduct in fulfilling their mutual obligations is the medium through which the profession inculcates its ethical values.

Guiding Principles

DUTY Medical educators have a duty, not only to convey the knowledge and skills required for delivering the profession’s contemporary standard of care, but also to inculcate the values and attitudes required for preserving the medical profession’s social contract across generations.

INTEGRITY The learning environments conducive to conveying professional values must be suffused with integrity. Students learn enduring lessons of professionalism by observing and emulating role models who epitomize authentic professional values and attitudes.

RESPECT Fundamental to the ethic of medicine is respect for every individual. Mutual respect between learners, as novice members of the medical profession, and their teachers, as experienced and esteemed professionals, is essential for nurturing that ethic. Given the inherently hierarchical nature of the teacher/learner relationship, teachers have a special obligation to ensure that students and residents are always treated respectfully.

Commitments of Faculty

  • We pledge our utmost effort to ensure that all components of the educational program for students and residents are of high quality.
  • As mentors for our student and resident colleagues, we maintain high professional standards in all of our interactions with patients, colleagues, and staff.
  • We respect all students and residents as individuals, without regard to gender, race, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation; we will not tolerate anyone who manifests disrespect or who expresses biased attitudes towards any student or resident.
  • We pledge that students and residents will have sufficient time to fulfill personal and family obligations, to enjoy recreational activities, and to obtain adequate rest; we monitor and, when necessary, reduce the time required to fulfill educational objectives, including time required for “call” on clinical rotations, to ensure students’ and residents’ well-being.
  • In nurturing both the intellectual and the personal development of students and residents, we celebrate expressions of professional attitudes and behaviors, as well as achievement of academic excellence.
  • We do not tolerate any abuse or exploitation of students or residents.
  • We encourage any student or resident who experiences mistreatment or who witnesses unprofessional behavior to report the facts immediately to appropriate faculty or staff; we treat all such reports as confidential and do not tolerate reprisals or retaliations of any kind.

Commitments of Students

  • We pledge our utmost effort to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors required to fulfill all educational objectives established by the faculty.
  • We cherish the professional virtues of honesty, compassion, integrity, fidelity, and dependability.
  • We pledge to respect all faculty members and all students and residents as individuals, without regard to gender, race, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • As physicians in training, we embrace the highest standards of the medical profession and pledge to conduct ourselves accordingly in all of our interactions with patients, colleagues, and staff.
  • As physicians in training, we embrace the highest standards of the medical profession and pledge to conduct ourselves accordingly in all of our interactions with patients, colleagues, and staff.
  • In fulfilling our own obligations as professionals, we pledge to assist our fellow students and residents in meeting their professional obligations, as well.

Policy on Academic and Learning Environments


This policy on Academic and Learning Environments has three main components:

  1. A statement regarding the Lewis Katz School of Medicine’s standards of behavior in the treatment of medical students.
  2. A description of the educational process used to keep the academic community aware of these standards as well as the process by which they are upheld.
  3. A description of the process the Lewis Katz School of Medicine uses to respond to allegations of mistreatment emanating from medical students.

Learning Environment/Professionalism

The Lewis Katz School of Medicine provides an environment conducive to effective learning by creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and collegiality among faculty, residents, healthcare providers, staff and students. Inappropriate behavior towards, or mistreatment of, students is contrary to the educational mission of the medical school and is not tolerated. Examples of inappropriate behavior or mistreatment may include but are not limited to: sexual harassment; discrimination based on race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, health, or sexual orientation; purposeful humiliation, verbal abuse, threats or other psychological abuse; and not respecting the political and other opinions of students. 

Ongoing Education Concerning Appropriate Treatment of Medical Students

To promote an environment consistent with our standards of behavior, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine provides ongoing education to students, faculty and residents about the appropriate treatment of medical students, standards of behavior, and the School’s process for dealing with allegations of inappropriate behavior or mistreatment. At the first class meeting of each academic 
year, this policy is reviewed and distributed to each student. An electronic copy of this document will remain available. Each year, faculty and residents receive a copy of the policy. The department chairs make certain that the faculty members in their departments are aware of the policy and that violations of the policy have consequences. 

Process for Reporting and Responding to Allegations of Student Mistreatment

When an allegation of inappropriate behavior or mistreatment arises, the parties involved may attempt to resolve the matter themselves. Students are encouraged to address their concerns locally to the degree feasible, by discussing the behavior with the course or clerkship director, supervising attending physician, or another appropriate faculty member involved in the setting where alleged mistreatment occurs. Because it is often difficult for medical students to raise the matter directly with a faculty member or the parties may be unable to resolve the matter themselves, a more formal process is also available. This process is designed to be fair to all parties involved and to prohibit retaliation.

Students are encouraged to report their concerns about mistreatment to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the Senior Associate Dean for Education, or any member of their offices. One member of the Student Affairs office, the Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion, has been designated as an Ombudsperson to help resolve disputes between faculty members, students, and staff. The Assistant Dean for Human Resources and Administration is another Ombudsperson. The Ombudspersons are appointed by the Dean and hold positions that should not make a student, faculty member or staff member reluctant to report possible inappropriate behavior or mistreatment. The Ombudspersons have the authority to attempt to resolve complaints of inappropriate behavior or mistreatment under this policy. If the Ombudsperson is unable to successfully resolve the complaint, (s)he reports the concern to the Learning Environment and Appeals Committee. 

Students, faculty, and staff may use the LKSOM standard forms for reporting exemplary or deficient professional behavior (see Appendix A). They may submit these forms either with their names on them or anonymously. In addition, students may report concerns anonymously on the routine end-of-block or end-of-clerkship evaluation forms administered all four years OR on the quarterly Learning Environment Survey administered in the M3 and M4 years. 

Any hearing on a complaint will be an academic proceeding, not a legal proceeding. The Student Learning Environment and Appeals Committee may consider any evidence that the group deems relevant and trustworthy and need not apply the formal rules of evidence. This group need not arrange for a verbatim transcript of its proceedings. The members of the review group, the parties to any hearing, and any witnesses at the hearing must maintain the confidentiality of any evidence presented at the hearing and of any recommendation made by the review group. Any party to the proceeding may obtain legal advice but shall not be entitled to be represented by legal counsel during any proceeding. After the hearing, the group will make a recommendation to the Dean regarding the validity of the complaint and any action that should be taken. In the event of disagreements among members of the review group, multiple recommendations may be made. The Dean will make the final decision on the validity of the complaint and any action that will be taken. The decision of the Dean will be final and will not be subject to review in any subsequent proceeding. 

The Ombudspersons for the School of Medicine are as follows:

Melanie Cosby: 215-707-8856 or
Greg Zimmaro: 215-707-1484 or

Relation of Other University Policies

The process established by this policy does not apply to sexual harassment as there is a separate policy concerning such mistreatment.

Protection from Retaliation

Retaliation in any form is strictly prohibited, and any retaliation as a result of a complaint under this policy is a violation of this policy.

Compliance Requirements for Years 1 to 4

Medical students are required to complete a number of health screenings, background clearances and trainings/certifications throughout the duration of their enrollment in medical school. Students are expected to keep copies of all documentation and provide said documentation upon request. 


Health requirements:

  • Pre-Matriculation Physical         
  • TDAP Booster (within past 10 years)
  • Hepatitis B Antibody Titer             
  • Measles Antibody Titer                
  • Mumps Antibody Titer                 
  • Rubella Antibody Titer                
  • Varicella Antibody Titer 
  • Annual PPD skin test (conducted during orientation)
  • Annual flu shot (completed in the fall semester)    

Background clearance requirements:

  • Criminal Background Check conducted by Certiphi, Inc. (prior to matriculation)
  • FBI Fingerprinting Clearance (prior to matriculation)
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance conducted by the Department of Human Services (prior to matriculation)

Training/certification requirements:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens training (completed during orientation)
  • Infection Control training (completed during orientation)
  • Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) online training (completed during orientation)


Health requirements:

  • Annual PPD skin test (conducted during the fall semester)
  • Annual flu shot (completed in the fall semester)    

Background clearance requirements:

  • Criminal Background Check re-screening (conducted in the spring semester)
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance re-screening (conducted in the spring semester)

Training/certification requirements:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens online training (completed in the fall semester)
  • Infection Control training (completed in the fall semester)
  • Respiratory mask fit testing (conducted in the spring semester)
  • Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) in-person training (conducted in the spring semester)
  • Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) online training (conducted in the spring semester)


Health requirements:

  • Annual PPD skin test (completed during the fall semester)
  • Annual flu shot (completed in the fall semester)    

Training/certification requirements:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens online training (completed in the fall semester)
  • Infection Control online training (completed in the fall semester)
  • HIPAA online training (completed in the spring semester)

Please note: Some clinical sites will require additional screenings.


Health requirements:

  • Annual PPD skin test (completed during the fall semester)
  • Annual flu shot (completed in the fall semester)    

Training/certification requirements:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens online training (completed in the fall semester)
  • Infection Control online training (completed in the fall semester)
  • HIPAA online training (completed in the spring semester)

Please note: Some clinical sites will require additional screenings.

For MD/PhD students or any student attending for more than five years, the FBI Fingerprinting Clearance will need to be repeated at the start of the fifth year of medical school. 

Criminal Background Check Policy

  1. Medical School applicants are required to disclose any misdemeanors or felony convictions, including deferred adjudication. Failure to do so may lead to dismissal.
  2. A criminal background check is required by AMCAS and will be done prior to matriculation to medical school by AMCAS. Any information noted on this criminal check that is significant and that was not previously disclosed by the student could result in the nullification of the admission offer. Students will be required to repeat the criminal background check upon completion of the second year of medical school. Any infraction identified on the check not previously disclosed to Office of Student Affairs could result in dismissal. 
  3. A Pennsylvania State Child Abuse check will be required of all applicants upon acceptance to medical school and again upon completion of the second year of medical school. Any infraction noted on the child abuse check could result in a nullification of the students’ acceptance or dismissal. 
  4. Appropriate authorization, with pertinent identifying information necessary to initiate the check, will be received from each accepted applicant through AMCAS prior to initiating a criminal background check. This authorization will inform the accepted applicant that (s)he will have access to criminal background check data about himself/herself to ensure the accuracy of the criminal background check report. The Child Abuse Check will be initiated by the student directly with the State of Pennsylvania and the student is required to return the original documentation from the state outlining the result.
  5. Ultimate decisions about the matriculation of an accepted applicant whose criminal background check and/or child abuse check reveals information of concern will be made by an ad hoc committee appointed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and approved by the Dean or the Dean’s designee. The committee must contain representation from student affairs, medical education, minority affairs/diversity and inclusion, faculty senate and the student body.
  6. No information derived from a criminal background check will automatically disqualify any accepted applicant from medical school matriculation. A final decision about matriculation will be made only after a careful review of factors including:
    • The nature, circumstances, and frequency of any offense(s)
    • The length of time since the offense(s)
    • Documented successful rehabilitation
    • The accuracy of the information provided by the applicant in his/her application materials.
  7. Information from these reports that is unrelated to decisions about admissions and continued enrollment will be maintained in the office of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and not become part of the students’ permanent file unless deemed necessary by the committee reviewing the infraction. Students would be made aware if any information was included in his or her record.
  8. Information obtained will only be used in accord with state and federal laws. Information will be shared with affiliated institutions that provide required rotations as needed as they are part of the educational institution and sharing information is within FERPA guidelines. 
  9. Enrolled students are required to disclose any misdemeanor or felony convictions, including deferred adjudication, within thirty days of occurrence to the Office of Student Affairs. Non-disclosure or falsification may be grounds for nullification of admission, dismissal or degree revocation.

Social Media Policy


Social media offer unique opportunities to connect and communicate with people across the globe. Lewis Katz School of Medicine supports the use of social media initiatives that seek to share and support its educational, research and clinical missions. Members of the LKSOM community are asked to be professional, confidential and technically secure, and transparent of their identity in all communications on behalf of the School of Medicine and University. 

Medical students have a duty to represent the profession of medicine in all interactions with the public. Social media have become important aspects of that professional development: networking, gathering information, and public image. This document is intended to provide students with guidance in their use of social media. Such media include, but are not limited to, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, iTunes, blogs, web feeds (such as RSS and Twitter), Instagram, Snapchat, MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr, community forums, chat rooms, listservs, social bookmarking sites and other forums.

These guidelines apply to all students of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine when engaging in any online conversation, professional or otherwise. It is important to recognize that social media platforms are among new and evolving technologies and discretion should be used to adhere to professional behavior in all social media interactions if not explicitly stated in this policy.

When to use Social Media

Students should use social media in the appropriate settings. Students should not engage in social media when on duty directly interacting with patients, faculty, and staff. Our focus on patient-centered care requires that you give your full attention to your patients and education when engaged in medicine.

Appropriate use of all social media sites

Students and faculty must: 

  1. Follow all existing LKSOM policies and guidelines, including HIPAA, Conflict of Interest Policy, Intellectual Property and general civil behavior guidelines cited above.
  2. Respect copyrights, trademarks and intellectual property of the University, LKSOM and others.
  3. Protect others’ privacy and their proprietary financial, patient care or similar sensitive or private content.
  4.  Not communicate identifiable patient information on any social media site.
  5. Be professional and respectful in all postings. Be mindful that all communications in the online environment can be visible to patients, co-workers, managers, competitors and others. Remember that nearly all content contributed on all social media platforms becomes immediately searchable and can be immediately shared.
  6. When representing LKSOM, identify yourself and your role with the organization in all posts. Use good judgment and strive for accuracy. Errors and omissions could result in liability for you or for LKSOM.
  7. When expressing personal views, and when an association with LKSOM is shared, implied or apparent, make it clear that one’s opinions are personal and do not represent the views or opinion of LKSOM.
  8. Not discriminate against any individual on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other factor prohibited by law. LKSOM is committed to a work environment free of harassment and disruptive behavior, and to providing an equal opportunity work environment where every member of the University community is treated with fairness, dignity and respect. 
  9. Keep personal online social networking activities separate from professional online activities to maintain appropriate boundaries when interacting with patients online and to ensure patient privacy and confidentiality.
  10. Use privacy settings to safeguard personal information on non-work related activities as appropriate. The practice of accepting patients as friends on personal, non-LKSOM accounts is strongly discouraged. Monitor your Internet presence to ensure accuracy and appropriateness of content posted about you. Please also review the AMA guidelines for social media use.
  11. Always adhere to the site’s user terms and conditions.
  12. Ensure that online activities do not interfere with the completion of academic responsibilities.
  13. Avoid conflicts of interest that violate LKSOM policies and guidelines; if someone or some group offers to pay for participation in an online forum on the basis of one’s LKSOM role, this provision could apply.
  14. Alert the LKSOM Office of Student Affairs immediately if anyone from media outlets contacts you about posts you have made in online forums that relate to LKSOM in any way.
  15. Be respectful and factually accurate in any writing about other Universities, the Health System, faculty, peers, or healthcare providers

Using LKSOM Sponsored Social Media

Define LKSOM sponsored Social Media: Any official public or private social media group created by LKSOM or any SGA-recognized organizations.

A)    Appropriate Use
Comments on these previously defined official LKSOM forums containing any of the following, in addition to the guidelines listed above, are in violation of the policy:

  1. Profanity, racist, sexist, discriminatory or other derogatory content
  2. Comments that reflect negatively on the school, any person or persons with the school, the hospital or the health system
  3. Plagiarism or infringement upon or violation of the rights of third parties, such as copyright, trademark, trade secret, confidentiality, intellectual property or patent
  4. False claims, including those not in compliance with AMA, AAMC and ACGME guidelines
  5. Spam, spyware, virus or other component or computer code or script that is or could be harmful
  6. Endorsements of for-profit institutions.
  7. Explicit or implied use of the University’s or School of Medicine’s names, trademarks, logos or images – including pictures of campus buildings – to endorse any product or service without approval by the Office of Student Affairs.

B)    Site Administration
Define site administrator: Any social media group and/or organization using the LKSOM name must officially designate a site administrator, whose name will be made available to SGA.

All site administrators will ensure that:

  1. Content is appropriate, accurate and timely.
  2. Content complies with all privacy, corporate compliance, copyright, disclosure, conflict of interest, HIPAA and other relevant laws and University and LKSOM’s policies.
  3. Appropriate consent is obtained and documented for content including words, graphics, photos, video, audio, images, PowerPoint presentations, artwork, and any other included elements.
  4. Content does not constitute advertising. The University does not endorse commercial enterprises, including in its digital communication unless approved by the Office of Student Affairs. Promotion of an event sponsored by the University or its partners is acceptable.
  5. Content is monitored daily, or more frequently if necessary, and postings and comments adhere to policies.
  6. All errors are immediately corrected and correction notes included with the original post.
  7. Offered links are reviewed and deemed appropriate.
  8. No Patient Information is to be communicated on any social media site.
  9. All TU computer services policies are met and adhered to.

Monitoring and Disciplinary Procedures

Privacy: LKSOM academic administration and/or LKSOM Honor Board may review the social networking activities of its students in cases of suspected violations to ensure compliance with this policy. LKSOM students should therefore have no expectation of privacy regarding their social networking activities if they choose to make information publicly accessible through the internet.

Disciplinary Measures: Violations of this policy will constitute an Honor Code violation resulting in appropriate corrective action. In addition, if the violation involves patient information, violations may result in civil penalties and criminal prosecution at the discretion of the LKSOM Office of Student Affairs.

Dress Code

The following guideline applies to all Lewis Katz School of Medicine students during any and all educational activities at any site involving actual or simulated patients.

Appropriate attire is an important part of a student’s recognition as a medical professional by him- or herself and by others. A professional dress code demonstrates respect for the student’s patients, faculty, administrative staff, other health professionals, and fellow students.
Establishment of a dress code is not an attempt to inhibit a student’s personal freedom, but rather to create a solid frame of reference for a successful career as a medical professional.

Proper attire, including a white coat, should be worn for all patient encounters, events occurring in actual healthcare settings, and activities involving simulated patients or patient instructors unless specifically told otherwise by supervising faculty. More specific guidelines are provided below:

  1. All students must have their LKSOM Identification Badges at all times. Badges should either be worn on one’s shirt, blouse or jacket so that the name and picture are clearly visible or be available for presentation upon request.
  2. Students who have direct patient contact are required to wear either a white laboratory coat or a white laboratory jacket over their clothes. Denim pants and shirts, regardless of color, sweat shirts, cut offs, shorts and sportswear are unacceptable.
  3. For men, shirts with collars and ties are required. Ties should be tucked into shirts in areas where there is the potential for ties to become entangled.
  4. Revealing clothing such as low cut blouses or tops, midriff tops, see-through clothing or extremely tight fitting or short clothing is unacceptable.
  5. Shoes of respectable quality and cleanliness are to be worn with socks or stockings. For safety reasons, open toed shoes and sandals should not be worn.
  6. Tattoos should be covered in the hospital, to the extent possible. Piercings, other than ear piercings, should be covered or removed in the hospital.
  7. Hair, including facial hair should be neat, clean, and well-groomed at all times.
  8. Jewelry that could be hazardous to patients or employees should be avoided.
  9. Fingernails must be clean, trimmed and barely visible above the fingertip, and at an appropriate length. In accordance with the CDC guidelines, any employee providing direct care or service to patients may not wear artificial nails or silk overlays on nails.
  10. Scrub uniforms (dresses, pants, and tops) are available for all students who work in areas where contamination of one’s personal clothing is possible or sterile clothing is required. Department faculty will inform you when the wearing of scrubs is acceptable.

More detailed information may be obtained from department faculty.

Jury Duty Exemption

A student who receives a summons for Jury Duty may bring the summons to the Office of Medical Education (Suite 228, MERB) for a letter of support from the Senior Associate Dean for Education in requesting an exemption. For information regarding Jury Duty exemptions for the St. Luke’s Regional Campus, refer to Appendix B.

Return to the Student Affairs page of the MD Student and Faculty Handbook