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Standards of Behavior and Definition of Mistreatment

The following is excerpted from the Student White Book, AY 2015-2016

The University of Colorado School of Medicine has a responsibility to provide an environment conducive to effective learning and compassionate, high quality patient care by creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and collegiality among faculty, residents, students, and staff.  

The School of Medicine is committed to creating a learning, research and clinical care environment that is supportive, that promotes learner well-being and that is free from ridicule, exploitation, intimidation, sexual or other forms of harassment, physical harm and threats of physical harm.  To that end, the University of Colorado School of Medicine will not tolerate the mistreatment of students, nor will it tolerate retaliation against any learner because he or she has reported, in good faith, a violation of the school’s professionalism standards.  The School of Medicine shall also: 1) provide mechanisms and procedures by which learners may safely report mistreatment against them or others; 2) provide information to students about what will happen to their reports of mistreatment; and 3) use data from these reports to educate faculty, residents, professional staff and others about what constitutes mistreatment, with the goal of a reinforcing a culture of respect.

Definition of Mistreatment

The American Association of Medical Colleges states, “Mistreatment, either intentional or unintentional, occurs when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and unreasonably interferes with the learning process.  Examples of mistreatment include: public belittlement or humiliation; verbal abuse (for example, speaking to or about a person in an intimidating or bullying manner); physical harm or the threat of physical harm; requests to perform personal services; being subject to offensive sexist remarks, or being subjected to unwanted sexual advances (verbal or physical); retaliation or threats of retaliation against students; discrimination or harassment based on race, religion, ethnicity, sex, age, or sexual orientation; and the use of grading or other forms of assessment in a punitive or discriminatory manner.  For additional information about mistreatment, click here: Mistreatment Information

Suboptimal Learning Environment

Although it is not mistreatment, a suboptimal work or learning environment can interfere with learning, compromise patient care, marginalize students and cause significant distress among students.  Student feedback about suboptimal learning environments should be given to course or block directors, to the Assistant Deans of the Essentials Core, Clinical Core, or Longitudinal Curriculum as appropriate or reported in your course or block evaluation.  For examples and additional information about suboptimal learning environments, click here: Mistreatment Information