Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

Medical Student Mistreatment

The Carver College of Medicine provides students the highest quality medical education in the state’s premier academic medical center.  Students at the Carver College of Medicine can excel because the College maintains and expects an academic environment that is free from student mistreatment.  The CCOM  seeks to eliminate the mistreatment of medical students and to promote and support a welcoming and professional environment for students in the College of Medicine and associated educational and clinical settings. The Honor Council is available to hear, evaluate, and respond to reports concerning mistreatment. If you are uncertain whether an incident should be reported you can contact the Honor Council for consult and assistance.  

The Carver College of Medicine's Medical Education Committee has used AMA guidelines to create the following definition of medical student mistreatment.

Defining Mistreatment (3.6)

On the behavioral level, mistreatment may be operationally defined as behavior by healthcare professionals and students which is exploitive or punishing.  For the purposes of this policy, examples of mistreatment include:

  • physical punishment, physical threats, or violence;
  • sexual harassment or sexual assault;
  • discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  • repeated episodes of psychological punishment of a student by a particular superior, such as public humiliation, threats, intimidation, or removal of privileges;
  • grading used to punish a student rather than to evaluate objective performance;
  • assigning tasks for punishment rather than educational purposes;
  • requiring the performance of personal services;
  • taking credit for another individual's work;
  • intentional neglect or intentional lack of communication.

Additional Information about examples of mistreatment:

Mistreatment education for medical students entering clinical training

If you are uncertain whether an incident should be reported you can contact the Honor Council for consult and assistance.

Reporting Mistreatment (3.6)

Student mistreatment should be reported as follows:


Students who are the victims of misconduct that is also a crime are encouraged to contact the University’s Department of Public Safety (“DPS”).

Students should call 911 in an emergency.

The Carver College of Medicine may refer allegations of mistreatment that may constitute criminal behavior to DPS.


Students are encouraged to report incidents of violence to the College or to the University’s Department of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (“EOD”).

The Carver College of Medicine may refer allegations of mistreatment that may constitute a violation of the University’s violence policy to EOD for investigation and resolution.

Sexual Harassment/Assault

Students are encouraged to report criminal incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault to DPS.

Complaints may also be forwarded to the College, to the University’s Department of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (“EOD”), the Office of the Dean of Students, or to the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator.

The Carver College of Medicine will refer allegations of sexual assault to the appropriate University office for investigation and resolution. The College may refer allegations of sexual harassment to the appropriate University office for investigation and resolution.

Other Mistreatment

All other types of mistreatment covered by this policy will be investigated and resolved by the Carver College of Medicine.

Mistreatment can be reported to any of the following:

  • CCOM faculty member
  • Course or clerkship director
  • Faculty learning community director
  • Collegiate dean
  • Medical Student Counseling Center

All students are asked as part of the clinical clerkship evaluation to report mistreatment they experienced or witnessed during that clerkship. https://opsmanual.uiowa.edu/.

Investigating and Resolving Mistreatment (3.6)

Any student complaint concerning mistreatment should ideally be reported within 15 days of the event in question or within 15 days of completion of the clerkship/rotation/course, whichever is shorter. The student may bring the mistreatment complaint to the attention of any CCOM faculty member, a course or clerkship director, Faculty Learning Community Director, or a collegiate dean.  All complaints of mistreatment received by a course or clerkship director of mistreatment will be subsequently reported to the Student Dean for appropriate action.

The Dean of the College of Medicine, or the Dean’s designee, shall investigate a complaint of mistreatment pursuant to this policy or will make a referral to an appropriate University office for investigation of the mistreatment complaint.  When matters are investigated by the Carver College of Medicine, the Dean or the Dean’s designee will promptly issue a response to the student, and will determine whether it is more likely than not that mistreatment occurred.  When possible, the response to the student will be issued within 10 working days after the complaint is received by Dean of the College of Medicine or the Dean’s designee.  Investigations of mistreatment handled by other University departments may take longer to resolve.

Whenever possible, the report and any subsequent investigation will be handled confidentially.  Unless requested by the student, the process of investigation and resolution will attempt to avoid meetings between the student and respondent.

Appealing a Finding of Mistreatment (3.6)

A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of an academic complaint against a faculty member at the collegiate level may ask the Office of the Provost to review the matter.

At any time, the student may also file a formal complaint with the University that will be handled under the procedures established for dealing with alleged violations of the Statement on Professional Ethics and Academic Responsibility as specified in section III-15 of the University Operations Manual.

A description of these formal procedures, found in section III-29 and following of the University Operations Manual, can be obtained at https://opsmanual.uiowa.edu/.