Office of the Ombudsperson
The educational program in the School of Medicine has been developed to support and encourage the collegiality and professionalism essential to an effective learning environment. Students who believe that they have been punitively assessed or mistreated because of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age or for any other matters of importance to them have access to the School of Medicine ombudsman: Kevin Kopera, M.D., call 864-455-3754 to leave a confidential message for follow-up; email is not recommended for sharing confidential information.
The ombudsman is empowered to receive and investigate reports of mistreatment in a completely confidential manner, to mediate between the parties involved, and, in the event mediation is not successful, to make recommendations with the student’s consent directly to the Dean of the School of Medicine regarding appropriate resolution of any complaints.
The ombudsman strives for impartiality, fairness and objectivity in the treatment of people and the consideration of issues. The ombudsman advocates for fair and equitably administered processes and does not advocate on behalf of any individual within the organization. These unique characteristics distinguish the ombudsman from mediators, arbitrators, and other alternative dispute resolution professionals. The use of the ombudsman’s services to resolve a complaint represents a form of alternate dispute resolution. For this reason, the services of the ombudsman will no longer be available to a student once that student engages an attorney to initiate legal action against the School of Medicine, the University of South Carolina, or the employees of those institutions.
More general information about the Ombudsman from the University of South Carolina can be found at http://www.sc.edu/ombuds/
The Peer Mentor Program unites students across the years of medical education for reciprocal support and encouragement. Upper class students who volunteer to serve as Peer Mentors are partnered with new students on the basis of interest affinity.
Additionally students will be matched with a volunteer/retired faculty member, serving as a Retired Physician Mentor to assist with adjustment to medical school. Volunteer/retired faculty members have been reviewed and approved for affiliate faculty status.
All students will be assigned a Faculty Academic Advisor at the beginning of the M1 year. These advisors will be responsible for academic advising across the four years. The advising program and timeline are modeled upon the AAMC Careers in Medicine (CiM) program; these activities will be coordinated through the Office of Student Affairs, under the leadership of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions. Faculty academic advisors are full-time biomedical science or clinical faculty members and expected to assist students in matters related to study habits, organization skills, time management skills, mastery of content, preparation for NBME examinations, preparation for residency and personal well-being. During a student’s M1 and M2 years, advisors will work closely with module directors and biomedical science faculty, providing assistance and support as needed, especially for those students in academic difficulty. In addition to the CiM-recommended activities, career counseling for M1 and M2 students will also include the opportunity to attend special interest groups led by residents and faculty in various specialties. These groups will receive administrative support and coordination through the Office of Student Affairs.
M1 and M2 students may also seek the advice of the Office of Student Affairs and their academic advisor to identify volunteer activities, non-credit electives, and a summer practicum to obtain additional research or clinical experience. M2 students will meet with their faculty advisor in the spring of the academic year to schedule required third year clerkships and third year electives, and to identify specialty advisors to discuss possible career options. The Office of Student Affairs will maintain a list of specialty advisors able to assist students in career choice and application to residency.
M3 students will continue to meet regularly with both the academic and specialty advisors to discuss career options in greater detail. Each student will meet individually with the faculty advisor in the spring to plan their fourth year schedule and to discuss plans for residency application and training. Specialty advisors will also meet individually with students to offer advice and guidance for the application and interview process. Information sessions will be held by the Office of Student Affairs to provide students an overview of the application process for residency, discuss rules governing the match process, interview techniques, the ranking process, and appropriate methods of correspondence to and from programs. As the application process moves forward, M4 students will continue to meet with the associate and assistant deans, faculty advisors, and others whom they have chosen to write letters of recommendation. Faculty advisors (academic and specialty), student services personnel, and the associate and assistant deans remain available throughout the application and match process to answer questions and offer support.
The Office of Student Affairs has information available for students interested in locating safe, affordable housing close to campus.
The environment at USCSOM Greenville provides students with a pleasant, accessible, and safe place to study and learn. The Student Lounge, located on the third floor of the Health Sciences Education Building, houses refrigerators and microwaves for student use. Vending machines are available on the 2nd floor of the Health Sciences Education Building. An Au Bon Pain Bakery Café is also located in the Health Sciences Education Building and is open for breakfast and lunch. Outdoor study and relaxation space is also available.
A large restaurant commons at the adjacent Greenville Memorial Hospital, open 24-hours a day, is available to promote community and socialization among the students. Located in the restaurant commons are a cafeteria, Subway, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, and Au Bon Pain.
Medical students are provided a membership to the Life Center located on the Greenville Memorial Hospital campus, within walking distance from the Health Sciences Education Building. The Life Center has a variety of physical fitness equipment, wellness and nutrition programs, an indoor pool, an indoor running track, outdoor running/walking path and organized exercise and fitness programs led by exercise physiologists.
The Life Center is available to all students. During the academic year, the hours of operation are:
||Monday through Thursday
||5:00 A.M. - 9:30 P.M.
||5:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M.
||8:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Services for Students with Disabilities
The University of South Carolina does everything reasonably possible in an attempt to accommodate students with disabilities in the attainment of their academic objectives. Its Office of Disability Services is available to help disabled students with any problems in their campus life experience and to facilitate any adjustments that might be required. Medical students are invited to contact the Office of Disability Services, University of South Carolina, LeConte College, Room 106, Columbia, SC 29208, 803‐777‐6742, (TDD 803‐ 777‐6744) http://www.sa.sc.edu/sds.
As students of the University of South Carolina, medical students are entitled to use all facilities and programs available to University students.
Student Health Policies
Contagious Infections and/or Diseases. The School of Medicine has adopted the following policy regarding applicants and students with contagious infections and/or diseases:
The University of South Carolina School of Medicine supports fully the spirit and intent of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992 in fulfilling its role of providing a medical education to qualified candidates with contagious infections and/or diseases who do not constitute a direct threat to the health and safety of other individuals and who are otherwise able to fulfill the requirements incident to attending medical school.
In fulfilling its obligation to educate future physicians, the School of Medicine is charged with maintaining the integrity of the curriculum; preserving, as part of the curriculum, those elements deemed necessary to the education of physicians; and adhering to procedures consonant with those established with the Centers for Disease Control, among others, to maintain the health and safety of patients.
It is, therefore, the policy of the School of Medicine to fulfill the above‐stated obligation, and to provide expert and safe patient care; protect the personal rights of students with contagious infections and/or diseases, including the right to be free from disparate treatment and improper management of confidential information; provide information, education, and support services that promote the professional and personal well‐being of students; provide a safe working environment for all students; and provide for the implementation of laws and regulations pertaining to public health and welfare.
Therefore, pursuant to the above‐stated policy, in appropriate cases, after obtaining the advice and consultation of the appropriate clinical clerkship director, the School of Medicine will monitor and modify the clinical activities of infected students who pose unwarranted risks to patients. The decision to modify the clinical activities shall be based upon an objective evaluation of the individual student’s experience, technical expertise, functional disabilities, and the extent to which the contagious infection and/or disease can be readily transmitted. The infected student shall be afforded full participation in clinical activities that do not pose unwarranted risks to patients, as determined by the appropriate clinical clerkship director. In all instances where the educational activities of a student are modified, steps shall be taken to ensure that his/her educational experience is equivalent to that of his/her uninfected peers. In such cases, maintaining the integrity of the educational experience afforded such a student shall be of paramount importance.
Chemical Dependency. The School of Medicine has adopted the following policy regarding chemical dependency in medical students:
The USCSOM‐Greenville recognizes that chemical dependency represents a problem of national proportions and that medical students may be at increased risk.
The School of Medicine is therefore committed to providing an integrated substance abuse curriculum to medical students as a component of their medical education, to promoting student wellness by identifying and assisting students who may be chemically dependent, and to providing access for medical students to confidential chemical dependency treatment programs that will not jeopardize their professional career goals.
Definitions. Substance abuse is characterized as insidious, progressive, chronic, malignant, primary, family‐centered, and treatable. The medical consequences resulting from impairment from substance abuse range from a mild hangover to death due to bleeding, infection, or trauma. For medical students, impairment is defined as recurring trouble associated with alcohol or drug abuse; the trouble may occur in any of several domains, including interpersonal (family or other relationships), educational, legal, financial, or medical. Examples include the range of behaviors from absences from class, clinical clerkships, and electives; repeated lateness in the initiation or completion of assigned responsibilities; binge drinking to violence while under the influence of chemicals; traffic accidents and arrests for driving under the influence; attempts to reduce chemical use; receipt of criticism about alcohol and/or drug use from fellow students, faculty members, medical residents, and other clinical supervisors; and, most especially, the student’s continued drinking and/or drug use in spite of adverse consequences.
Sources of assistance. Confidential assistance for medical students with suspected chemical dependency impairment may be obtained from any of the following sources:
Community resources: The South Carolina Medical Association Physicians’ Assistance and Advocacy Committee has formally agreed to provide compassionate assistance to medical students and medical residents with chemical dependency problems. Confidential assistance with assessment, intervention, or treatment questions can be obtained by contacting the Physicians’ Assistance and Advocacy Committee chair at 803‐798‐6207 or 800‐327‐1021. South Carolina Medical Association offices are located at 3210 Fernandina Road, Columbia, SC 29211.
Other resources: A list of resources is published annually by the University of South Carolina in the Carolina Community: Student Handbook and Policy Guide provided to each medical student at the beginning of the fall semester. The Carolina Community also contains those University policies and procedures relating to the use of alcohol and other drugs to which all enrolled University students are subject as members of the University community.
Student Health Services
The School of Medicine is committed to providing all students with appropriate health care and personal counseling in a compassionate, confidential, and professional manner. Student confidentiality is a priority. No physician treating a student will be involved in the education, evaluation or advancement process for the School of Medicine, with the exception of emergency services, wherein USCSOM Greenville faculty and residents may be the clinical staff responsible for the facility to which the student presents, and it is in the best interest of the student to receive immediate care. The student will be transferred to the care of non-faculty physicians as soon as medically appropriate.
For routine, non-emergent health needs, the Employee Care Center (ECC) at Greenville Memorial Hospital serves as a student health center for USC Medical Students. The ECC is staffed by several experienced nurse practitioners with physician back-up and referral when clinically indicated. No member of the ECC staff has any responsibility in medical student education or grading. Hours of operation are from 8:30AM - 4:30 PM Monday-Friday. Appointments (455-2455) are strongly encouraged as walk-in patients may have a long wait. The student health services plan will provide basic gynecological services only at ECC, by appointment every Monday from 2:30PM-4:30PM.
MD360 staffed by non-faculty GHS physicians is also available to students for non-emergent health needs. Services provided will include routine and sick care, radiology services, lab services, vaccinations and basic orthopedic care for minor injuries. For a more comprehensive look at MD360 and the services they provide please visit their website at www.ghsmd360.org. MD360 has 4 different locations in the Greenville area that are available to students. Their hours are Monday - Friday 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 pm -6:00 pm. Formal appointment times are not necessary, but students must complete an online patient information form prior to arriving at a MD360 location.
The cost of all routine office visits at ECC or MD360 is covered by tuition; however students will be charged for ancillary services and various procedures, such as x-rays, lab tests, pharmaceuticals, and physical therapy, on a fee for service basis. When making appointments at ECC or completing the patient information form for MD360 students should indicate their status as a USCSOM Greenville student and be prepared to show their ID badge when they arrive at the facility. If preferred a student can choose to seek health care services other than those outlined above for ECC or MD360, however the cost of those services are the responsibility of the student.
When clinically indicated, students are referred to a GHS subspecialist. All charges incurred by students are based on economical student fee schedules and forwarded to insurance providers for payment if applicable.
TB skin testing and N-95 Respirator Fit Testing will be provided by Employee Health and Wellness; yearly influenza vaccines, as required by GHS, will be offered to students during scheduled vaccination clinics.
Students may use Upstate Medical Pharmacy at Greenville Memorial Hospital to have non-controlled prescriptions filled. If a student requires a controlled medication Upstate Medical Pharmacy has an office in Cross Creek Medical Park at 111 Doctors Drive, where these types of prescriptions can be filled. Students may also contact the Student Health Center at the University of South Carolina and request that a 3-month supply of any non-controlled medication be shipped to their homes.
Counseling services will be provided by the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), located at 1020 Grove Road. EAP is staffed by licensed counselors who take no part in medical education. Services offered through EAP cover many types of counseling as well as referrals when necessary. Appointments can be made Monday 8:30am - 7:00 pm and 8:30am - 5:00 pm Tuesday through Friday by calling 455-2360. USC medical students are eligible to receive most services at the EAP at no additional charge. However, students who request more than 12 sessions of individual counseling per academic year may incur additional charges. You can find more information about their services through their website: www.ghs.org/EAP.
Medical students are required to have a current medical insurance policy throughout the duration of their education. The university sponsored student health insurance policy is automatically added to each semester’s tuition bill. Students who have an equivalent/alternate health insurance plan may waive the university student insurance and its associated fee by submitting a fee waiver request, documenting proof of adequate medical insurance. More information about the benefits and cost of the university’s student health insurance policy as well as information on how to waive the university sponsored plan is available on the Student Health Services website for USC.
Students will be automatically enrolled in a required disability insurance plan with annual premiums, which will be added as a fee to fall semester tuition. More information on this plan is available here.
Prior to matriculation, students will be required to provide a current medical history, the results of a physical examination and immunization data on forms provided by USCSOM‐Greenville. In order to ensure the health and safety of students and patients in both the classroom and clinical settings, students must provide immunization records or laboratory serology titers for rubeola, tetanus, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, varicella, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, and polio at the time of initial matriculation, as well as evidence of a tetanus (TD) or tetanus‐pertussis booster (Tdap) within 10 years of matriculation and a TB test within six months of matriculation. If the results of TB testing are positive or if the student is known to have tested positive previously, the student must provide a statement from the attending physician regarding evidence of active tuberculosis and information on the course of treatment, if indicated. Continuing students will be required to submit TB test results or physician statements prior to the first day of classes or clerkships each academic year. Yearly PPD exams are required by the state of South Carolina for health care workers and students in the hospital.
Workers Compensation Insurance
All medical students are covered by Workers Compensation insurance through the State Accident Fund for any injuries sustained by students during the course of those clinical activities that are a part of their medical educations. The premium for this insurance is paid by the School of Medicine. Information about Workers Compensation insurance policies and procedures and the reporting requirements for injuries sustained by students during their medical educations is provided to students annually and available in the Office of Student Services.
Disability insurance is available and required for all medical students through the University. Policy benefits are included in health insurance information distributed annually to students. Annual premium payment is due at the time of fall registration.
The USCSOM Greenville encourages students to be actively involved in local, regional and national organizations and interest groups. Student Government with the help of the Office of Student Affairs will assist students with the development of student organizations.
Student Government - In each class students nominated and elected by their classmates will form the student government which will represent the class in a variety of capacities related to student life and activities.
Student Committees - USCSOM Greenville has 5 standing committees, Building, Community Outreach, Events, IT and Wellness, that are solely run by students to assist with activities and functions of the school of medicine.
Medical Profession Interest Groups - These groups provide opportunities for students to learn more about medical specialties and professions. USCSOM Greenville currently has interest groups in Academic Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery and Wilderness Medicine.
Organizations and Clubs - Students also participate in a number of clubs and organizations that are related to professional development, personal interests and recreation. Currently these include: American Medical Association (AMA), American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Christian Medical Association (CMA), Greenville Med Band, Intramural Sports, Journal Club, Military Medical Student Association, South Carolina Medical Association (SCMA), Spanish Club, and Student National Medical Association (SNMA).