Student Treatment

Statement of Policy

The Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago is committed to maintaining an academic and clinical environment in which faculty, fellows, residents, students, nurses, and other medical staff work together freely to further education and research and provide the highest level of patient care, whether in the classroom, the laboratory, or the hospital, and clinics. The school's goal is to educate future physicians to meet high standards of professional behavior as outlined in the Pritzker School of Medicine's Guidelines of Professionalism and to practice in a learning environment where effective, humane, and compassionate patient care is demanded and expected.

The school takes any mistreatment of students by residents, faculty, and medical center employees very seriously and has appointed two faculty members to serve as Ombudspersons to facilitate confidential reporting of potential mistreatment and to raise awareness of appropriate standards of behavior among members of the medical school community.

Expectations of Civil Behavior

The school expects civil behavior in an educational and clinical setting as set forth by the University in the Student Manual of the University Policies and Regulations and the University of Chicago Medical Center's Professionalism and Disruptive Behavior policy. Consistent with these policies, the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine regards all acts of physical harm, threats of physical harm, imposition of physical punishments and evaluation of students on grounds other than those relevant and material to the course or clinical activity as violations of these standards.

The Pritzker School of Medicine encourages faculty and residents to promote a positive learning environment by adhering to the MODEL principle:

M Model professional behavior
O Offer feedback
D Delineate expectations
E Evaluate fairly
L Prioritize learning

Mistreatment is defined on the Association of American Medical Colleges Graduation Questionnaire as follows: "Mistreatment arises when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and unreasonably interferes with the learning process. It can take the form of physical punishment, sexual harassment, psychological cruelty, and 

discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, sex, age, or sexual orientation." The AAMC provides the following examples of mistreatment:

  • Public belittlement and humiliation
  • Threatened with physical harm
  • Asked to perform personal services
  • Denied opportunities because of gender
  • Denied opportunities because of race or ethnicity
  • Asked to exchange sexual favors for grades/awards
  • Subjected to unwanted sexual advances

The Pritzker School of Medicine has developed the following rubric to help students and faculty better communicate about inappropriate behaviors.




Not Mistreatment



Malicious Intent

On the first day of third year, the ward clerk says to the student, “I can tell you guys are newbies,” then offers to help the students find a computer station.

Resident purposely gives student misinformation before rounds. Student overhears resident laughing about messing him over.


Intimidation on Purpose

Student working with the chairman of surgery says he feels nervous about operating with him since the chairman can "make or break" his career.

Resident tells a student that they intend to make them cry before the rotation is over.


Sexual Harassment

Male student asked not to go into a room because a female patient only wants a female to examine her.

Student subjected to offensive sexist remarks or names.


Threatening Verbal or Physical Behavior

A student is yelled at to "get out of the way" by a nurse as a patient is about to be shocked during resuscitation.

An attending grabs the student's finger with a clamp OR tells them they are an "idiot" after they could not answer a question.


Racism or Excessive Discrimination

Attending gives student feedback on how to improve performance.

Student subjected to racist or ethically offensive remarks or names.


Excessive or Unrealistic Expectations

Student is asked by an attending to review an article and present it on rounds to the team.

A resident tells a student that it is their job to perform rectal exams (necessary or not) on all the patients admitted to the service.


Abusive Favors

A student is asked to get coffee for themselves and for the team prior to rounds since the resident did it yesterday. The team gives the student money.

A student is asked to pick up an attending’s dry cleaning.


Trading for Grades

A resident tells a student that they can review and present a topic to the team as a way to enhance their grade.

A student is told that if they help a resident move that they will get honors.

Students are strongly encouraged to report Mistreatment using this online form. Students with concerns about abusive conduct should contact the school's Ombudspersons, any of the Pritzker faculty deans, relevant faculty members (course director, preceptor or the department chair, etc.) or Director of Medical School Education. Any of these individuals can discuss options with the student, offer guidance and support, and assist the student in attempting to resolve the matter informally. Every reasonable effort will be made to maintain confidentiality in such discussions.

If informal resolution is unsuccessful or inappropriate, the student can file a formal complaint under the Pritzker School of Medicine’s Grievance Policies:

1) Formal grievance complaints alleging mistreatment must be submitted using the following electronic form (https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?UnivofChicago&layout_id=42). The form and any provided written documentation will be reviewed by the Dean for Medical Education or an individual designated by the Dean to determine if:

  • The case is appropriate for formal resolution pursuant to the grievance policy (i.e., it alleges mistreatment as defined by the AAMC in this policy and is not covered by another policy);
  • The case cannot be resolved by informal means.

The student will receive written notification of whether the case meets the criteria for formal resolution within 30 calendar days of submitting the formal grievance complaint. If extenuating circumstances require a delay in notification, the student will be notified of a short extension.

2) Formal grievance complaints:

  1. against Pritzker Medical School students will be reviewed, investigated and adjudicated by a committee composed of the Associate Dean of Students, the Assistant Dean for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Assistant Dean of Medical School Education, and the Associate Dean for Medical Student Advising and Academic Advancement.  The complainant and respondent(s) will be given the opportunity to provide relevant documentation, provide names of relevant individuals, and meet with the committee or a designated representative of the committee.  In the absence of mitigating circumstances, the complainant and the respondent will be notified of the committee’s findings within 60 calendar days of initial receipt of the formal written complaint.  Disciplinary procedures governing students may apply.
  2. against Pritzker Medical School faculty will be filed with the faculty member’s department chair for review, investigation and adjudication.
  3. against UC residents and fellows will be filed with the trainee’s program director for review, investigation and adjudication.
  4. against UC staff will be filed with University Human Resources Management for review, investigation and adjudication.
  5. In cases involving complaints against faculty, residents, fellows, and staff, students will be formally notified, in writing, by the Dean of Students or designee at the conclusion of the process to confirm that an investigation and adjudication took place and that an outcome has been reached. Outcomes will be reached not more than 90 calendar days after the case was initially submitted. If extenuating circumstances require a delay in notification, the student will be notified of a short extension.

    In the event that a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of their formal grievance and the prescribed procedures were not properly followed, they may be eligible to request a review of the outcome under Academic Unit Grievance Review Procedures. Students can contact Amanda Young (amanday@uchicago.edu), the Associate Director for Graduate Student Affairs in UChicagoGRAD, with any questions about review options.

    3) Exclusions:

  6. Allegation of sexual harassment, misconduct and unlawful discrimination are addressed exclusively under the University's Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct and Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment. More information about these policies and options for reporting and support are available through the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.
  7. Allegations of academic fraud (e.g. plagiarism; fabrication or falsification of evidence, data, or results; the suppression of relevant evidence or data; the conscious misrepresentation of sources; the theft of ideas; or the intentional misappropriation of the research work or data of others) should be brought forward in accordance with procedures established in the University’s Policy on Academic Fraud.
  8. Issues related to the conduct of members of the University of Chicago Police Department should be directed to the University’s Safety & Security Complaint Process.
  9. 4) There is no time limit on filing a grievance, though a grievance may only be filed by a current student or a student on an approved leave of absence. Students are encouraged to file a grievance as soon as is practicable as it maximizes the University’s ability to respond promptly and effectively.

    5) The University prohibits retaliation against any person who exercises any rights or responsibilities under this policy. Any act of retaliation may be a separate violation of this Policy. 

    6) A grade dispute or complaints about other academic evaluations may be evidence in support of a formal grievance but these complaints cannot constitute a formal grievance on their own. Pritzker students wishing to dispute grades or evaluations outside of a      mistreatment context should refer to the Pritzker School of Medicine’s Summary Evaluation or Course Grade Appeal Policy.

In extraordinary circumstances, students may request that a grievance case be handled by the Office of the Provost. If a student wishes to submit a grievance case to be handled by the Provost’s Office, they must provide supporting rationale for why their case cannot be fairly heard within the Pritzker School of Medicine. Using reasoned judgment, requests will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost to determine if the case is appropriate for University review. Decisions by the Office of the Provost are final and unreviewable.

While the Pritzker School of Medicine anchors its formal and informal grievance procedures in instances of student mistreatment as defined by the Association of American Medical Colleges, University Grievance Procedures are limited to allegations of abuse of authority by current students or those on an approved leave of absence against faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff.

Abuse of authority is the arbitrary or capricious exercise of authority for purposes inconsistent with the University’s educational and research mission. Expression occurring in an academic, educational or research context is considered a special case and is broadly protected by academic freedom. Such expression will not constitute abuse of authority unless (in addition to satisfying the above definition) it is targeted at a specific person or persons and serves no bona fide academic purpose.

University Grievance Procedures are detailed in the Student Manual (see below). Students with questions about this policy are encouraged to contact the Associate Director for Graduate Student Affairs in UChicagoGRAD.

University Grievance Policy for Graduate Students: https://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/university-policies/graduate-student-grievance-policy/

Graduate Student Grievance Review Process: https://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/university-policies/graduate-student-grievance-policy/graduate-student-grievance-review-process/

Anonymous Reporting Option

Students who wish to notify the University of concerns about abuse of authority by faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers, and other academic appointees, but who do not wish to have their individual concern acted upon, may submit anonymous reports through this online form.

Anonymous reports will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost and shared with academic units as appropriate.

As an educational and healthcare organization, Pritzker and the University of Chicago Medicine are committed to continuous improvement in their learning, research and clinical environments.  From this perspective, biased behaviors falling short of the malicious or abusive conduct described above are valuable learning opportunities for students, house staff, staff and faculty.  Examples of non-malicious bias include language or behaviors that unintentionally reflect inappropriate bias regarding race, sexual orientation, gender, age or ability.  Just as with errors in clinical, ethical and professional judgment, such language and behaviors warrant feedback with the goal of improvement.

Students may report such behaviors through the Pritzker Bias and Mistreatment Reporting Instrument for review.  Assuming permission is given by the student, this feedback will then be used to provide feedback to individual students, house staff, staff or faculty with the specific goal of performance improvement.