Honor Code and Professionalism

Since professionalism is an integral part of medical education and being a physician, professional conduct is an academic issue.  Students are expected to demonstrate integrity and honesty, concern and respect for others and act in a responsible and professional manner.

Honor Code 

Matriculation into the University of Louisville School of Medicine constitutes acceptance of the Honor Code and the policies and procedures involved in administering it. 

If conduct during medical school includes behavior that violates the Honor Code, the Medical Student Affairs Office will investigate the reported behavior through established School of Medicine procedures.  These procedures often involve the School of Medicine Student Promotions Committee.  The Student Promotions Committee will make a recommendation to the Dean of the School of Medicine the action to be taken, which may include suspension or expulsion from the School of Medicine.  The Dean’s decision will be final.

To demonstrate intellectual integrity and honesty, the student will:

  • Submit for course credit the student’s own work and not that of another, in whole or in part, nor take credit for passages taken either word-for-word or paraphrased from the work of another.
  • Give full and clear acknowledgement to collaborators when collaboration to produce a project or report is permitted.
  • Offer only individual work when instructed to do so, rather than working in groups; seek clarification from course director if in doubt as to whether work is to be done individually or in groups.
  • Offer original work for course or research credit and not submit work done previously for credit in another course.
  • Respect the intellectual property and learning materials of others understanding that to take, keep, tamper with or destroy such property would result in unfair academic advantage.
  • Take all examinations when scheduled unless appropriately excused.
  • Use only access codes, passwords, login codes, keys, and facility access cards issued to the student.
  • Not create, distribute or use unauthorized materials or assistance to gain unfair academic advantage over colleagues prior to, during or after an examination or other evaluative procedure.
  • Report promptly any suspected violations of the Honor Code to appropriate authorities.

 To demonstrate concern for the welfare of others and act responsibly, the student will:

  • Treat patients, family members, and research subjects with respect and dignity both in their presence and in discussions with others.
  • Undertake clinical duties and persevere to the best of the student’s ability, striving to recognize limits on the capacity to persevere due to limited knowledge or skills, exhaustion, or impairment.
  • Strive to recognize the limitations of the student’s knowledge and skills, and seek supervision or advice before acting when appropriate.
  • Learn to recognize when his/her ability to function effectively is compromised, ask for relief or help, and notify the responsible person if something interferes with the ability to perform clinical or research tasks safely and effectively.
  • Remain free of illegal substances.
  • Not engage in romantic, sexual, or other nonprofessional relationships with a patient or patient’s family members, even upon the apparent request of a patient.

To demonstrate respect for the rights of others, build trust in professional relationships, and demonstrate professional demeanor, the student will:

  • Deal with professional, staff and peer members of the health care team in a considerate manner and with a spirit of cooperation.
  • Speak and act with an egalitarian spirit toward all persons encountered in a professional capacity regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual preference, disability or socioeconomic status.
  • Be truthful in communications with others, admit errors and not knowingly mislead others or promote themselves at the patient's expense.
  • Respect patients' and research subjects’ modesty and privacy.
  • Respect the right of the patient or research subject and his or her family to be informed about and participate in patient care.
  • Maintain and safeguard the confidentiality of patient and research subject information, including paper records, computerized records, and verbal communication.
  • Maintain neat and clean appearance, and dress in attire that is acceptable as professional to the medical community.
  • Strive to maintain his/her composure under pressures of fatigue, professional stress or personal problems.
  • Use appropriate and professional language and behavior in the classroom, clinic, hospital, or laboratory.
  • Clearly identify himself/herself as a student rather than a licensed or certified health care provider.

​Honor and Professionalism Advocacy Council (HPAC)

The Honor and Professionalism Advocacy Council (HPAC) is a peer-to-peer professionalism accountability and advocacy system instituted in the Spring of 2014.  This committee of students from M1 through M4 work to identify and address any professionalism issues brought to their attention by faculty, staff, and their fellow students.  Through the use of an electronic submission form, the Early Concern Note (ECN), specific issues are securely handled by the HPAC, who contact the student of concern for an informal discussion on his or her Note.  The goal of the HPAC is to make students aware of how he or she is being perceived by those around them and, more importantly, provide insight and advice as to how they can better the professionalism impressions that he or she makes in the future.

The first Early Concern Note is a low stakes opportunity for students to improve their professionalism issues.  Hopefully, issues become resolved after the first Early Concern Note, reducing the chance of negative evaluations during clerkship years and negative statements on his or her Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), which is forwarded to residency programs.  Students receiving second and third Early Concern Notes lead to more serious consequences with School of Medicine administration, as these students have shown a pattern of unprofessional behavior as well as a disregard for previous recommendations.  Again, the HPAC is a body of medical students, serving to improve the future graduates of UofL School of Medicine and produce residents that uphold our university's reputation at their respective programs.

For  more information about the Honor and Professionalism Advocacy Council and the Early Concern Note, visit the Medical Student Affairs web page at: louisville.edu/medicine/studentaffairs/student-services/hpac.

Mandatory Self-Reporting Policy for Criminal Behavior

All accepted and currently enrolled medical students are required to promptly report any criminal charges ever filed against them, including felony and misdemeanor charges other than minor traffic violations.  These reports should be made in writing and sent to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.  They should include conviction information, all types of adjudication, and all legal processes not yet resolved (e.g., an arrest record for an offense pending court disposition, an unresolved bench warrant, a failure to appear in court.)  Any charges that were previously disclosed on the secondary admissions application need not be reported again. 

The report will be reviewed by the Criminal History Review Committee, which consists of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Associate Dean for Admissions, Associate Vice President for Health Affairs/Diversity Initiative, Dept. of Public Safety representative, School of Medicine legal counsel, and a mental health professional (university student health counselor).  

Discussion and the recommended course of action will be in the context of future implications for licensure, threat to patient safety and the ability to be an appropriate member of the medical profession.