Teaching-Learning Environment and Student Mistreatment

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) have encouraged a learning environment that encourages and inspires critical thinking, personal exploration, and professional development. All interactions should demonstrate mutual respect and should include collegiality, honesty, fairness, and equal treatment.

In order to uphold the standards of such a learning environment, the Medical College has a PDF icon Teaching-Learning Environment and Student Mistreatment Policy whose purpose is to ensure an educational environment conducive for learning, define mistreatment of students, and describe the process of reporting, monitoring, and responding in the event mistreatment should occur. All students should familiarize themselves with the full policy.


Teacher Learner Committee (TLC)

The Teacher-Learner Committee is the body charged with monitoring, reviewing, investigating and aiding in the resolution of mistreatment issues at the Medical College.

TLC Membership

Chloe Nims, MD (CHAIR) Assoc Prof of Clinical Psychiatry 525 E. 68th Street, Room F 24-35 New York, NY 10065 chn2001@med.cornell.edu 212-746-4121Charles Inturrisi, PhD Prof of Pharmacology 1300 York Ave, Room LC-519A, New York, NY 10065 ceintur@med.cornell.edu 212-746-6235
Nada Abdallah, Class 2024, nat4005@med.cornell.eduAngela Kadenhe-Chiweshe, MD, Asst Prof of Surgery 520 E. 70th Street, L-718, New York, NY 10021, ank7004@med.cornell.edu 212-342-8586.
Joseph Abularrage, Ph.D., Professor Clinical Pediatrics, jja9001@med.cornell.edu 718-670-1033Heather Lipkind, MD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1282 York Avenue, 12th FL, New York, NY 10065, hlipkind@med.cornell.edu 212-746-3045
Daniel Barone, MD, FAASM, FANA, Associate Prof of Clinical Neurology, 425 East 61st Street, DV Building, 6th fl, New York, NY 10065, dab9129@med.cornell.edu, 646 962 9315 Robert Minutello, MD Assoc Prof of Clinical Medicine 525 E. 68th Street, Room F-444 New York, NY 10065 rmm2002@med.cornell.edu 212-746-8295
Shanna Sykes Hill, MD, Assoc. Prof of Clinical Anesthesiology, 525 E. 68th Street, New York, NY 10065 scsykes@med.cornell.edu 212-746-2902.Elizabeth Poole-Disalvo, MD Asst Prof of Pediatrics 505 E. 70th Street, Room HT-386A New York, NY 10065 elp9066@med.cornell.edu 646-962-4303
William Holloman, MD Prof Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology 1300 York Avenue, Rm. D-308, New York, NY 10065 wkhollo@med.cornell.edu 212-746-6510Peyman Razavi, Class 2024, per4001@med.cornell.edu

Reporting Mistreatment

The College has a policy of zero tolerance for mistreatment. It takes all allegations seriously and encourages students to report any instances or perceived instances of mistreatment. There are three proposed mechanisms for reporting mistreatment; each mechanism will be collected via a structured intake form to collect the necessary information for the TLC to review.  Because mistreatment issues can be complex and the TLC seeks to provide the student with advice and information, in-person meetings or phones calls are preferred over reporting incident details in the initial contact email or voice mail message.

1. Teacher-Learner Committee: Students wishing to report a violation, ask a question, or seek advice may contact the TLC by emailing TLC@med.cornell.edu.  When emailing the TLC, students may, if desired, request follow-up from a specific member of the TLC.  Students need not provide extensive detail regarding mistreatment or potential mistreatment in the initial contact. A member of the TLC will reach out to set up a meeting, phone call or continue the conversation via email. 

Persons reporting mistreatment to the TLC are entitled to understand:

  1. their role in the investigation and resolution process
  2. the extent to which their anonymity may or may not be assured
  3. the timing of the investigative and adjudication processes
  4. information about how the incident was resolved to the extent permitted by the College’s bylaws and by local, state, and federal laws.

2. Course Evaluation System: Alternatively, students may report incidents of mistreatment anonymously through the Course Evaluation system. Reports that contain named individuals and descriptions of the incident will be reviewed by the TLC, and if warranted, be investigated and adjudicated; however, students who file reports using this method will not be able to learn about the resolution of the incident given the anonymity of the reporting mechanism.

3. Other: Students may also choose to discuss concerns or seek advice regarding the teaching-learning environment with the Weill Cornell Student Ombudsperson (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., course/clerkship directors or others; however, such individuals are NOT responsible for keeping records of student reports, reviewing or investigating alleged incidents, or working through resolution.

Students may also ask for a consultation with a student/peer member of the TLC to explain the facts of the incident and to explore the level of concern for mistreatment. 

Mistreatment Defined

The range of possible mistreatment is wide; examples include:

  • Verbal abuse, including belittling and/or humiliating a student;
  • Speaking, writing, using gestures, or employing curricular materials that are disparaging;
  • Intentionally singling out a student for arbitrary or selective treatment;
  • Exploitation of any type;
  • Denying opportunities for training or denying rewards based on a student’s background;
  • Pressuring a student to perform medical procedures for which the student is insufficiently trained;
  • Interfering with a student’s need to properly attend to a potentially serious health problem;
  • Making sexual advances, harassing a student;
  • Threatening or committing any act of physical violence; or
  • Assigning a grade based on factors other than a student’s performance and/or professionalism.
    • Students who believe they may be graded unfairly based on statements or behaviors made by a faculty member are strongly advised to report their concerns to the TLC before the course ends. The TLC may opt to discuss the matter with the course director immediately or to retain the report on file in the event the matter ultimately becomes part of a grade appeal process. Students are permitted to contest their grades through the appeal mechanism (Grade Review Policy). Challenges to overturn grades based solely on allegations of mistreatment may be less likely to succeed if mistreatment is reported after the final grade has been established and is known to the student.

Investigation and Resolution Process

The TLC will conduct an initial investigation and may refer the incident for additional investigation by other officials. Sanctions are related to the incident classification.

See the full Teaching-Learning Environment and Student Mistreatment Policy for additional information about the TLC, types and categories of mistreatment, the TLC review, investigation, resolution, and follow-up process and more.

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Office of Medical Education 1300 York Avenue, Room C-118 New York, NY 10065 (212) 746-1050