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Institutional Governance & Planning

The Committee System - Where Does a Student Fit in?

A number of committees are actively involved in shaping the School of Medicine, particularly the curriculum and other essential aspects of your medical education. As a student you have a voice on many of these committees. Furthermore, you can have an impact through the Student Council. How strong an impact you make largely depends on your own initiative in the decision-making process.

The following committees/councils include students in their voting memberships. Students also may be invited to serve on special task forces and temporary committees. If you have an interest or expertise in a particular area, let the OSA staff know so that we may consider you for appointment to one of these temporary committees.

Curriculum Coordinating Committee (CCC) and Subcommittees

The task of the CCC is to study and evaluate the curriculum and methods of instruction continually, make recommendations concerning changes and innovations in the curriculum and instructional procedures, make a continuing study of the evaluation process of student achievement and recommend changes when necessary. Students are appointed each Fall to fill vacancies as they occur, normally through graduation. Student representatives to this committee are the class officers and the curriculum committee representatives.

Year I and II Committee

This Committee functions in an advisory capacity for the CCC, examining both general and specific matters pertaining to the medical school curriculum as they impact on the first two years. The Committee is comprised of the course directors and/or departmental chairpersons for each of the preclinical courses, as well as a class officers and curriculum representatives from the 1st and 2nd year classes and non-voting administrative advisors (Associate Deans for Student Affairs and Medical Education). Issues pursued by this committee typically include final examination schedules, proposed curriculum revisions, and peer review of the courses. The Committee serves as an essential forum to preserve the concerns of the preclinical years within the context of the more general curricular issues of the medical school as a whole.

Clinical Years Committee

The Clinical Years Committee consists of course directors, class officers and curriculum representatives from years 3 and 4 and Dean's Office leaders who are responsible for the clinical aspects of the curriculum. The committee meets monthly to design and monitor the progress of the third and fourth years of medical school. Issues of content, format, schedule and requirements are discussed.

School of Medicine Council

According to the School of Medicine By-Laws, the student body shall have 11 representatives to serve on the School of Medicine Council. These representatives shall include the President of the Student Council and the President of each of the four classes (if a class has 2 Presidents, only one may be appointed to serve as a representative). The other representatives should be selected as prescribed by the Student Council. An alternate should be elected/appointed for each class representative. All student representatives shall serve a term of one year. The names of student representatives should be submitted to the Dean's Office. The School of Medicine Council is the official body that provides the forum for input on academic and educational policies of the Medical School. The Council meets on a monthly basis during the academic year (September through June). There are approximately 85 voting members. If both the representative and alternate are present, only the representative would be eligible to vote on an issue. Prior to each meeting, a Council packet will be mailed from the Dean's Office, which includes the agenda and other pertinent information. To have an item placed on the agenda, you may contact the Dean's office, at 410-706-7410; or Fax 410-706-0235 or by E-mail; or write c/o Office of the Dean, School of Medicine, Room 14-029, Bressler Building, School of Medicine, 655 W. Baltimore Street, University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Judicial Board

Two students each from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year classes are selected by the Student Council as student representatives to the Judicial Board. The term of office for students shall be until graduation or earlier separation from the medical school community, as long as they remain in good standing with the school. For a more complete description of the Judicial Board see "Professional Conduct," and the complete text of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's "Statement of Ethical Principles, Judicial Review System and By-Laws of the Judicial Board".

Ethical Advisory Committee (University of Maryland Medical Center)

This state-mandated committee is composed of about 25 physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, clergy, attorneys and other personnel, and welcomes the input of students and residents as non-voting participants. On request the committee advises hospital staff and families regarding difficult ethical decisions such as life support for terminal patients, and also helps develop hospital policy regarding such critical situations. The committee also serves an educational function to hospital staff and reviews legal and legislative decisions. For information contact Dr. Henry Silverman, committee chairman at 410-706-6250.

Special Task Forces

On occasion, special committees, task forces and retreats are set up to examine school policies or curriculum issues. When these issues have direct relevance to students, the classes are frequently invited to recommend representatives. Major changes in policy or curriculum typically take two or more years to plan and take effect, and this may be frustrating to students who will be members of each class for only one year. At the same time, however, each group of entering students reaps the benefits of changes to which their predecessors have contributed, and have the opportunity to leave their successors a similar legacy.

UMSOM Guidelines on Committee Participation and Conflict of Interests

For purposes of participation on a School committee, a conflict of interest refers to personal, financial, or professional considerations that may compromise or appear to compromise a committee member’s professional judgment in carrying out committee duties. Committee members must communicate conflicts of interest to the chair of the committee and recuse themselves from committee discussion and voting if necessary. Conflicts may arise in various circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

• a committee member knows or has a personal or professional relationship with a party or student involved in a matter being reviewed
• a committee member has had direct involvement in a matter being reviewed
• a committee member has a financial interest in the outcome of a matter that is being reviewed
• a committee member believes that recusal is necessary in order to preserve the integrity of the committee process

If committee members are uncertain whether a conflict exists, they should communicate the potential conflict to the committee chair. The committee chair will make a determination about whether a conflict exists and recusal is necessary. In making this determination, the committee chair will take into account the potential conflict of interest and balance it against the value and design of having diverse expertise represented on the committee.

In the event that the committee chair has a conflict of interest, the chair shall delegate another committee member to temporarily perform the responsibilities of the committee chair and recuse him/herself from participating in committee deliberation or voting.

All School faculty are also expected to comply with USM and UMB policies relating to conflict of interest:

• III-1.11 Policy on Conflicts of Interest in Research or Development:
• III-1.11(A) Procedures Implementing Board of Regents Policy on Conflicts of Interest in Research or Development:
• III-1.11(B) Policy and Procedures on Financial Conflict of Interest to Promote Objectivity in Public Health Service-Funded Research: