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Code of Professional Conduct

The Jefferson Medical College Honor Code is concerned with standards of professional conduct and honorable behavior for the Jefferson Medical College community.

1. Faculty

Faculty Professional Code Committee (Faculty PCC)

The Faculty PCC is a body of faculty peers that provides assistance to the JMC Community in matters relating to faculty violations of the JMC Honor Code. Problems are to be handled with goals similar to those used for handling the impaired physician, with members aiming for assistance to rather than judgment of the faculty member. Thus, the Faculty PCC is not a disciplinary body and does not function as such. The Faculty PCC is not intended to alter those terms and conditions of employment set forth in the JMC Bylaws, the JMC Faculty Handbook, and Thomas Jefferson University Policies.

Allegations of any serious misconduct, such as research misconduct, violations of the conflict of interest policy, IRB noncompliance, unlawful discrimination or harassment or conduct which could be cause for dismissal as outlined in Section 10 of the JMC Bylaws, should be handled by the appropriate committee or institutional official.

Since the Faculty PCC is not a disciplinary body, it cannot make a determination of guilt. It is a committee charged with exploring the problem with the faculty member(s) involved. The following options are available to it:

  1. No further action.
  2. Remedial action through assistance to the faculty person and based upon his/her concurrence.
  3. Deferred action for future contingencies.
  4. Referral to the Dean or his designee.
  5. Referral to the Faculty Affairs Committee.
  6. Other action as appropriate.

A person who becomes aware of any unprofessional behavior by a faculty member must act in one of the following ways:

  1. Approach the identified faculty member concerning a possible breach of the Honor Code.
  2. If the matter is still unresolved, one of the actions below must be pursued:

    1. Discuss the matter with a member of the Faculty PCC.
    2. Refer the matter to the chairman of the Faculty PCC for action.
    3. Other action sanctioned by the College, e.g., direct contact with the chairman of the department, or the Dean or his designee.

All of these actions are confidential. Failure by a faculty member or student to take action as outlined would be a violation of the JMC Honor Code.

2. Students

Student Professional Code Committee (Student PCC)

A Student PCC member is selected in the first-year class and elected in the following three classes to deal confidentially with all student conduct matters brought to its attention. The committee will consist of students from each class and one basic science and one clinical science faculty member. (For details of composition, election, and proceedings see Appendix 1.) Problems are to be handled in a similar fashion to that used for the impaired physician, with the goal for students and faculty of assistance rather than judgment of the individual student. Thus, the Student PCC is not a disciplinary body and does not function as such. If the Student PCC determines that a violation of Article VIII (Student Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities) may be present, the matter will be referred as delineated therein.

It is preferable that all matters pertaining to student conduct first be routed through the Student PCC with the clear understanding that any possible serious misconduct (as specified in Section VIII) shall be referred promptly to the Office of Student Affairs or Judicial Board on student conduct for appropriate investigation and action. Although it is understood that students, faculty, and administration have the right to proceed directly to the Office of Student Affairs, it is hoped that the Student PCC will be utilized as an initial step for problems relating to student behavior.

Since the Student PCC is not a disciplinary body, it cannot make a determination of guilt. It is a committee charged with exploring the problem with the student(s) involved. The following options are available to it:

  1. No further action.
  2. Remedial action through assistance to the student and based upon concurrence by the students involved.
  3. Deferred action for future contingencies.
  4. Referral to the Office of Student Affairs.
  5. Referral to the Judicial Board on student conduct.
  6. Other action as appropriate.

If a student commits a serious dishonorable action for the first time but makes a conscientious and voluntary effort to rectify the situation prior to any investigational procedures the Student PCC may recommend to the Office of Student Affairs or to the Judicial Board on student conduct that the dishonorable action by the student(s) be overlooked.

No details of the proceedings of the Student PCC will be included in the student's permanent record unless the Student PCC deliberations become part of the basis for subsequent action by the Office of Student Affairs or Judicial Board on student conduct.

A person who becomes aware of any academic or clinical dishonesty or other unacceptable professional behavior by a student must act in one of the following ways:

  1. Approach the suspected student concerning a possible breach of the JMC Honor Code to determine whether suspicion was correct.
  2. If the matter is still unresolved one of the actions below must be pursued:

    1. Discuss the matter with a member of the Student PCC.
    2. Refer the matter to the chairman of the Student PCC for action.
    3. Some other action sanctioned by the College; e.g., direct contact with the Office of Student Affairs.

All of these actions are confidential. Failure by a student to take action as outlined would be a violation of the JMC Honor Code.

3. Implementation

During orientation of each first-year class, the role of the Honor Code at Jefferson will be discussed. New faculty appointees and incoming students to the Medical College will be expected to pledge their support to JMC Honor Code.

Early in the academic year, positions will be filled for membership on the Student PCC (see Appendix 1), and the Faculty PCC (see Appendix 2).

For details of conduct of examinations see Appendix 3, 4, and 5.

4. Monitoring and Continuing Evaluation of Professionalism

The principles underlying the JMC Honor Code should not change with time. However, the details of implementation might need revision in subsequent years. Review of the JMC Honor Code shall be conducted by a standing committee of faculty and students, which will meet at least annually. This is called the Committee on Professionalism. This committee shall consist of eight persons: four faculty and four students. The Committee on Committees shall appoint two faculty and the Student Council, two students; the Student PCC, two students and Faculty PCC, two faculty members. Input in this evaluation process shall come from the following possible sources:

  1. Periodic questionnaire to faculty and students.
  2. Examination of the records of the Faculty PCC and the Student PCC.
  3. Invited input from students and faculty; (e.g., Student Council, Faculty meetings [general, Professorial]).
  4. Office of Student Affairs.
  5. Committee on Student Affairs.
  6. Committee on Faculty Affairs.
  7. Committee on Curriculum.

APPENDIX 1 - Faculty PCC

1. Composition of Faculty PCC

The Faculty PCC will be selected by a vote of the Professorial Faculty as overseen by the Faculty Professorial Advisory Committee. The membership shall be ten faculty members serving a term of two years. They may be renewed twice for additional two year terms. A chairman, vice chairman, and recording secretary will be elected from among the members at the first meeting of the academic year. The chairman will be responsible (1) for presiding over the meetings (and in his or her absence, the vice chairman) according to Roberts' Rules of Order; (2) for seeing that minutes of each meeting are kept by the recording secretary. Members of the Faculty Affairs Committee and members of the Faculty Grievance Subcommittee shall also not be members of the Faculty PCC.

2. Proceedings of Faculty PCC

Meetings shall be called by the chairman of the Faculty PCC, and will be held promptly within one week whenever possible after a complaint is received by the committee. Individual students, Student PCC, or faculty or administrators may refer matters to the Faculty PCC. A quorum shall consist of 50 percent of committee membership. For a matter involving either a basic science or a clinical science faculty member at least three members of the appropriate science faculty should be members of the Faculty PCC, respectively. If the problem involves a volunteer or full-time clinical science member, appropriate representation should be present.

APPENDIX 2 - Student PCC

1. Composition of Student PCC

The Student PCC will consist of five students from each class. First-year members will be selected by the current student PCC members and the second- through fourth-year members will be elected. In addition, there will be two faculty advisors: one basic science and one clinical science faculty member appointed by the Student PCC. The faculty advisors will attend by invitation of the chairman of the Student PCC. Members will serve for one year but may be reelected. A chairman, vice chairman, and recording secretary will be elected from among the members at the first meeting of the academic year. The chairman will be responsible (1) for presiding over the meetings (and in his or her absence, the vice chairman) according to Roberts Rules of Order; (2) for seeing that minutes of each meeting are kept by the recording secretary; and (3) for keeping the Office of Student Affairs informed of student problems in general, while retaining, whenever possible, the confidentiality of the students.

2. Election of Student PCC

Election of students from the second- through fourth-year classes will be carried out by secret ballot, the procedures to be followed being the same as for elections to Student Council. Students from the first-year class will be selected by the current Student PCC members in the month of September. The elections of the second-, third- and fourth-year members will take place during the previous spring. The Nomination Committee (NC), composed of the previous years Student PCC, will prepare a slate from students who volunteer spontaneously or upon solicitation by appointees of the NC, with the objective of selecting students who represent a broad, balanced spectrum of each class.

Second-year nominations will occur during the spring of the first year so that the ballot can be prepared for registration the following September. Third- and fourth-year nominations will occur during the spring so that the ballot can be prepared for their registration in July.

3. Proceedings of Student PCC

Meetings shall be called by the chairman or by petition of 50 percent of the membership of the committee. Meetings will be held quarterly or promptly within one week, whenever possible, after a complaint is received by the committee. Students, faculty, or administration may refer matters to the Student PCC. A quorum shall consist of 50 percent of the committee membership. All decisions shall be rendered by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present.

APPENDIX 3 - Affirmation of JMC Honor Code for Faculty and Students

I have read, and I understand, the Jefferson Medical College Statement of Professional Conduct. I shall conduct myself in a manner consistent with the JMC Honor Code. I understand that I am responsible for my own actions as well as for upholding the integrity of the medical profession. Should any of my colleagues appear to violate the JMC Honor Code, I shall address the matter personally with that colleague, and/or discuss it with a member of the Faculty Professional Conduct Committee or Student Professional Conduct Committee, as appropriate, to resolve the matter, or take any other action consistent with the terms of this Statement.

Print Name: _________________________________________________

Signed:_____________________________________________________

These affirmation statements will be collected by a member of the Student PCC at registration.

Faculty affirmation statement will be signed yearly.

APPENDIX 4 - Conduct of Examinations

These procedures will be followed for all written examinations:

1. Deportment during examinations will be the responsibility of each individual student and the collective responsibility of all students present. A "Statement of Professional Conduct for Examinations" will appear as the cover sheet on each examination taken as a reminder to students of the way the Statement of Professional Conduct applies while taking examinations (see Appendix 5).

2. The faculty will not proctor examinations, except when required by outside agencies; e.g., United States Medical Licensing Examinations. A faculty member shall be present only to administer the examination.

APPENDIX 5 - Statement of Professional Conduct for Examinations

This examination, as all examinations at Jefferson Medical College, shall be taken in a manner consistent with the Statement of Professional Conduct. Examinees will neither give nor receive aid during this examination. In the case of a possible violation of Professional Conduct, the observer shall approach the student in question personally and/or discuss the matter with a member of the Student PCC to resolve the matter, or take any other action consistent with the terms of the JMC Honor Code.