Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
MD Program

Non-Involvement of Providers of Student Health Services, Family Members, or Close Personal Relationships in Student Assessment

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) has several policies to address potential and extant conflicts of interest. Penn’s faculty, administration, students, and staff should avoid conflicts of interest at work and in their studies and are responsible for identifying potential and extant conflicts of interest and seeking appropriate guidance to address them. 

The Penn Audit, Compliance, and Privacy website's COI training resources provide faculty, staff, and students with information on Penn’s policies, procedures, and publications, focusing on compliance with policies related to conflicts of interest.

Purpose: On occasion, medical students may receive treatment from or have a close personal relationship with a healthcare provider who also has a teaching and assessment role in the MD curriculum. It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that these individuals have no influence on the academic progress of the student they are treating. 

Scope: This policy applies to medical students, faculty, residents, fellows, and other clinical staff who provide clinical care to medical students and who also are involved with teaching or assessing medical students. This policy must be distributed annually to all course and clerkship directors, and faculty at large in the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM).


The following applies to cover unique situations that may be encountered at PSOM. 

Providers of healthcare and psychiatric/psychological services to a medical student will have no involvement in the academic assessment of, or in decisions about the promotion of, that student. A faculty member with a close personal relationship (family/friend/etc.) will have no involvement in the academic assessment of, or in decisions about the promotion of, that student. Students are encouraged to confidentially disclose their healthcare providers/family members who are Penn Medicine faculty in their upcoming coursework to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness.

A student assigned to a course, clerkship, elective, or other educational activity with a treating healthcare provider, or a provider with a close personal relationship to the student should request, and will be granted, an alternative assignment. At the beginning of a course or rotation, students are encouraged to review the list of teaching faculty for their course as soon as it is received, and if they have concerns, the student should directly contact the appropriate Associate Dean*. If scheduling accommodations can be made immediately, they will be made; however, should the student need to reorganize their course schedule, they will be assisted by the Registrar’s Office. If scheduling changes are not an option, the healthcare provider or faculty with a close relationship to the student may continue in a teaching role but will be recused as an evaluator.

Even if a student does not request an alternative assignment, any healthcare provider must recuse themselves from teaching and/or academic assessment of a student with whom they may have a patient care or personal relationship.

A healthcare provider that serves on a committee that determines student promotions (i.e., Student Standards Committee), or an appellate committee (i.e. Grade Appeals Committee) must recuse themselves from deliberations and decisions related to a student with whom they have a patient care or personal relationship. Faculty course and clerkship directors, and lecture providers, are expected to review student lists for courses and lectures, and identify any potential conflicts of interest.

List of contacts for reporting potential and actual conflict of interest related to student teaching and assessment by a healthcare provider or close personal relationship: