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Academic Success

Policy on Educational Conflicts of Interest and Recusal

The Zucker School of Medicine is committed to ensuring that students are taught, assessed, and advised by faculty members, fellows, residents, other allied health profession, or committee members whose primary interest is the student’s educational development. This policy sets forth the process for avoiding potential conflicts of interest by ensuring that any faculty member, fellow, resident, or committee member with a possible conflict of interest recuses him/herself from participation in any actions related to the transaction or matter where a conflict may exist.

Conflicts of interest include but are not limited to the following:

  1.  Member has or has had a family relationship with the student, such as that of a current or former significant other, partner, spouse, child, sibling, or parent;
  2. Member has or has had a social relationship with the student;
  3. Member has a private financial interest in the outcome of the decision related to the student in question;
  4. Member has provided health services to the student;
  5. Member is aware of any prejudice, pro or con, that would impair his/her judgment of the student in question;
  6. Member has participated or intends to participate in deliberations about the student’s circumstances at another level of review;
  7. Member believes his/her recusal is necessary to preserve the integrity of the review process.

Providers of Healthcare and Assessment:

If a faculty member, fellow, resident, or other allied health professional is assigned to a role in which s/he will assess a student with whom s/he has previously provided health care services including psychological counseling, the faculty member, fellow, or resident must recuse him/herself by advising (without breaching confidentiality) the course/clerkship (“course”) director or the Office of Curriculum Support and the student will be re-assigned.

In event that a faculty member, fellow, resident, or other allied health professional has not already recused him/herself from assessment duties and a student is assigned to an educational environment in which the faculty member, fellow, or resident assigned to assess the student has previously provided health care services to the student, the student must advise (without breaching confidentiality) the course director or the Office of Curriculum Support and the student will be re-assigned.


Student Advancement Committee & Student Professionalism Committee Members:

A member of the Student Advancement Committee (SAC) or Student Professionalism Committee (SPC) must recuse him/herself from the presentation, deliberation, and vote about a student with whom s/he has a conflict of interest by notifying the committee chair. In addition to those outlines above, the following constitutes a conflict of interest:

  • Member is the director of a course, clerkship, or curricular thread that prompted a referral to the committee.

Prior to his/her presentation at the Student Advancement Committee, the student will be provided with a list of committee members. If the student identifies a conflict of interest with any member of the committee, that committee member must recuse him/herself from the presentation, deliberation, and vote about the student.

In most cases, students presented to the Student Professionalism Committee are done so in a de-identified manner. If ever a student’s identity were going to be revealed to the SPC members, the student would have an opportunity to identify conflicts of interest by reviewing a list of committee members, prior to the committee meeting. If the student identifies a conflict of interest with any member, that committee member must recuse him/herself from the presentation, deliberation, and vote about the student.


Admissions Committee Members:

If a member of the Admissions Committee has or has had a family relationship, such as that of a current or former significant other, partner, spouse, child, sibling, or parent with anyone in the current AMCAS application pool, that committee member must recuse him/herself from participation on the Admissions Committee for the entirety of that academic year.

Other conflicts of interest, described above, for members of the screening subcommittee may be resolved by reassigning the applicant to a different screener. Other conflicts of interest, described below, for members of the interviewing subcommittee may be resolved by reassigning the applicant to a different interviewer, or, if it is too late to adjust the interview schedule, by excluding that interview scenario from the student’s overall interview score. Other conflicts of interest, described above, for members of the voting subcommittee may be resolved by reassigning the applicant to a different voting committee meeting.

Providers of Confidential Advice: 

Faculty and staff members in the Office of Student Affairs who provide students with confidential advice regarding student’s personal matters, especially ones of a sensitive nature, should not assess students or make decisions about a student’s advancement, graduation, or dismissal. To alleviate this concern, students may request an alternate MSPE writer.


Violations:

Violations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Students and educators who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.


References to Regulations and/or Other Related Policies
Faculty Bylaws
LCME Element 9.9: Student Advancement and Appeal Process
LCME Element 10.2: Final Authority of Admission Committee
LCME Element 12.5: Non-Involvement of Providers of Student Health Services in Student Assessment
Procedure for Requesting a Different MSPE Writer

Last Updated: June 2019

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