Leave of Absence Policy

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IUSM-PO-EDU-EMR-0002

Full Policy Contents

Scope
Policy Statement
Reason for Policy
Procedures
Definitions
Sanctions

ADDITIONAL DETAILS
Additional Contacts
Forms
Related Information
History

Effective: 8/1/2016
Last Updated: 1/27/2017

Responsible University Office:
Educational Affairs

Responsible University Administrator
Senior associate dean for medical student education

Policy Contact:
bradalle@iu.edu

RESPONSIBLE Senior associate dean for medical student education
Student Promotions Committee
ACCOUNTABLE Senior associate dean for medical student education
Student Promotions Committee
SUPPORT Mentoring and Advising Program, Medical Student Education
Assistant dean of advising
CONSULT Mentoring and Advising Program
Assistant dean of advising
Student Promotions Committee
INFORM IUSM students

LCME Standards

11.1 Academic Advising
12.8 Student Exposure Policies/Procedure


Scope

Any individual enrolled in the Indiana University School of Medicine.


Policy Statement

A leave of absence is a period of non-enrollment and, therefore, students on a leave of absence are not considered to be making progress toward their degree(s). Each request for leave will be evaluated by Medical Student Education deans to determine the conditions of the leave, including duration, effective date, and return date.


Reason for Policy

This policy was developed to serve the best interests of the individual and the individual’s colleagues, as well as the goals of the School of Medicine. It intends to ensure that patient care will not be jeopardized nor will the education of medical students be hampered by absences and vacations. The intent of all absence accommodations is to provide students with the ability to respond to events outside of their control without interfering with their training.


Approval

Approved by Curriculum Council Steering Committee 1/31/17.


Procedures

A leave of absence may be granted to enable a student to resolve personal, academic, health, or financial issues. A leave also may enable a student to pursue research or graduate study. ’A leave may be granted for one of the following reasons:

  1. Academic difficulties. Under certain circumstances, a student experiencing difficulty in the academic program may be permitted to take a voluntary leave of absence for up to one year. A student may be required by the senior associate dean for medical student education or his designee or the Student Promotions Committee to take an involuntary leave of absence for up to one year; in such cases, the senior associate dean for medical student education/designee will specify the terms for re-entry to the IU School of Medicine. Students who take an academic leave must provide their goals for academic improvement and a timeframe for accomplishing those goals during their leave.
  2. Medical. Medical students are encouraged to seek care and will be accommodated under circumstances in which obtaining this care unavoidably interferes with educational activities or patient care. A medical leave of absence is granted by the senior associate dean for medical student e4ducation/designee upon review of the recommendation of an appropriate health care provider. The purpose of the medical leave is to enable students to seek treatment for a health-related condition that interferes with a student’s ability to meet the demands of the curriculum. The leave may last for up to a year, based on the recommendation of the health care provider. The senior associate dean/designee will specify terms for re-entry to the IU School of Medicine. The student will be required to provide a fitness for duty certification to the senior associate dean/designee in order to return. Students requiring accommodations for circumstances listed below should refer to the Disabilities Accommodations Policy. Medical-related leaves also may be for these reasons:
    1. Impaired student. The university, the school, and the affiliated hospitals recognize drug dependency as an illness and a major health problem. The university, school, and the affiliated hospitals also recognize drug abuse as a potential health, safety, and security problem. Absences for these cases will be accommodated as medical leave.
    2. Exposure to infectious disease. An absence for the purpose of seeking treatment for suspected infectious disease exposures (including needlestick and other contaminated injuries) will be accommodated as an unanticipated medical absence. Refer to the Universal Precautions Policy for guidance on responding to suspected infectious disease exposures and subsequent need for medical leave.
  3. Personal. A personal leave enables a student to take time off in extenuating circumstances and to address issues of a personal nature, including those related to the health and well-being of a family member or partner. The senior associate dean/designee will specify terms for re-entry to the IU School of Medicine.
  4. Academic enrichment. An academic enrichment leave is granted by the senior associate dean for medical student education/designee to allow a student to pursue an advanced degree; engage in research training; participate in a medically related fellowship; extend USMLE preparation time; seek supplemental academic coursework; or pursue other educational enrichment activities.
  5. Financial. A student may be required to take a financial leave by the senior associate dean for medical student education/designee when a student is unable to meet tuition and/or other educational financial obligations.

In general, a non-medical leave will not be granted to a student who has not yet completed at least one course block in good academic standing or who is within two weeks of the beginning of final examinations at the end of a course block unless he or she presents a compelling need. All personal leave absences will be decided at the discretion of the senior associate dean/designee.

The maximum cumulative time a student may be absent using one or more leave(s) of absence may not exceed 18 months; however, approved academic enrichment leaves of absence do not count toward this 18-month maximum. Medical students not participating in a combined degree program or pre-approved graduate or research program must complete graduation requirements within six years of matriculation, including all leaves of absence; see the Guidelines for Promotion, Suspension, Dismissal, and Withdrawal for more information.

Students should discuss potential leaves of absence with their lead advisor and complete the Leave of Absence Request Form at least 30 days in advance except for in emergent situations. In the request, students must include the type of leave he/she is requesting (personal, health, academic, research/graduate study, or financial); what he/she plans to accomplish during the leave; and the amount of time he/she is requesting, including the return date. The completed form is routed to the IUSM Registrar’s office and Financial Aid office to determine how the leave of absence will affect registration, insurance and financial aid. The form then is routed to the senior associate dean for medical student education/designee, who arranges to meet with the student in person or by phone. A decision about the leave will be made at this meeting and the form will be routed back to the student for a final signature. Students with questions about refunds for academic fees should refer to the Refund Policy in the Fee Assessment Policy section of the Student Handbook.

Students in their first or second year must notify Medical Student Education in writing of their intent to return to school eight  weeks before the leave ends or as designated by the terms of leave. Students in their third or fourth year must notify Medical Student Education in writing of their intent to return to school four weeks before the leave ends or as designated by the terms of leave. Failure to respond within the required timeframe may lead to academic dismissal from the IU School of Medicine.

Sanctions

Failure to follow the terms of the leave of absence may require the student to appear before the Student Promotions Committee for failure to progress.


Additional Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Email
Academic Advising Abigail Klemsz 317-274-1963 aklemsz@iu.edu

Forms

Request for Standard Leave of Absence Form


Related Information

Impaired Student Form


History

Approved by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee 11/3/2015.
Revision approved by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee 3/11/14
Title changed to Absences and Accommodations; reverted to Leave of Absence (no revisions in language) 1/31/2017.

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