Essential Standards for Matriculation, Promotion, and Graduation at Central Michigan University College of Medicine

A. Overview​

It is important that all applicants and current students read this document to better understand what is expected at the CMU College of Medicine.

Medical education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous development of specific skills and other competencies. Our College of Medicine has a responsibility to society to graduate the best possible physicians:

  • Admission to the College of Medicine is offered to applicants who present outstanding qualifications for the study and practice of medicine.
  • All students must successfully complete the entire medical school curriculum.
  • All students must meet both our academic standards and our standards for capacity (SFC) in order to progress through the College of Medicine and graduate.

Academic standards refer to acceptable demonstrations of mastery in various disciplines, before matriculation and after, as judged by faculty members, examinations, and other measurements of performance. Acceptable levels of mastery are required in six broad areas of competency once a student matriculates at CMU College of Medicine:
  • Medical/scientific knowledge
  • Clinical Skills
  • Professionalism​
  • Communication/interpersonal skills
  • Practice-based learning (engaging in self-assessment and making improvements in one's learning and performance)
  • Systems-based practice (effectively carrying out responsibilities in a complex system of medical and associated professionals)

Standards for capacity, also known as technical standards, are the essential aptitudes and abilities that allow medical students (and physicians) to perform in the vast array of requisite ways summarized by the six areas of competency above. "Standards for capacity" may sound unfamiliar, even though the abilities they represent are extremely important in the field of medicine. Those abilities are the foundation for academic success at the College of Medicine, and for the eventual practice of medicine itself. Our standards for capacity are described in detail in this document.

B. Disabilities

It is our experience that a number of individuals with disabilities (as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act) are qualified to study and practice medicine with the use of reasonable accommodations. To be qualified for the study of medicine at the College of Medicine, those individuals must be able to meet both our academic standards and the standards for capacity, with or without approved accommodation. Accommodation is viewed as a means of helping students with disabilities to meet essential standards, not to circumvent them.

C. The Use of Auxiliary Aids and Intermediaries

Qualified students with documented disabilities are readily provided with reasonable accommodations at CMU College of Medicine, and those accommodations sometimes involve an intermediary or an auxiliary aid. However, no disability can be reasonably accommodated at the College of Medicine with an auxiliary aid or intermediary that provides cognitive support or medical knowledge, substitutes for essential clinical skills, or supplements clinical and ethical judgment. That is to say, accommodations cannot eliminate essential program elements.

The faculty believes that visual impairments severe enough to require a medically trained intermediary cannot be accommodated at the College of Medicine. Certainly there are advances in technology all the time, and at some point there may be acceptable accommodations for blind students, but an intermediary that would have to select and interpret visual information (e.g. slide configurations, clinical presentations, etc.), would constitute cognitive support and/or a supplement to clinical judgment. This kind of assistance would also, undoubtedly, depend on medical/scientific knowledge to some extent. Use of this type of intermediary, in the faculty's opinion, would represent a fundamental alteration to the medical program. Reliance on an intermediary trained to perform physical exams for a student with a severe physical disability would also be unacceptable for the same reasons.

CMU College of Medicine Standards for Capacity

Students at the CMU College of Medicine must have capacities/abilities in five broad areas:
  • Perception/observation
  • Communication
  • Motor/tactile function
  • Cognition
  • Professionalism (Mature and Ethical Conduct)

A. Perception/Observation

Students must be able to accurately perceive, by the use of senses and mental abilities, the presentation of information through:
  • Small group discussions and presentations
  • Large-group lectures
  • One-on-one interactions
  • Demonstrations
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Patient encounters (at a distance and close at hand)
  • Diagnostic findings
  • Procedures
  • Written material
  • Audiovisual material

B. Communication

Students must be able to Communicate skillfully (in English) with faculty members, other members of the healthcare team, patients, families, and other students, in order to:
  • Elicit information
  • Convey information
  • Clarify information
  • Create rapport
  • Develop therapeutic relationships
  • Demonstrate Competencies

C. Motor/tactile function

Students must have sufficient motor function and tactile ability to:
  • Attend (and participate in) all classes, groups, and activities which are part of the curriculum
  • Read and write
  • Examine patients
  • Do basic laboratory procedures and tests
  • Perform diagnostic procedures
  • Provide general and emergency patient care
  • Function in outpatient, inpatient, and surgical venues
  • Perform in a reasonably independent and competent way in sometimes chaotic clinical environments
  • Demonstrate Competencies

D. Cognition

Students must be able to demonstrate higher-level cognitive abilities, which include:
  • Rational thought
  • Measurement
  • Calculation
  • Visual-spatial comprehension
  • Conceptualization
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Organization
  • Representation (oral, written, diagrammatic, three dimensional)
  • Memory
  • Application
  • Clinical reasoning
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Sound judgment

E. Professionalism: (Mature and Ethical Conduct)

Students must be able to:
  • Consistently display integrity, honesty, empathy, caring, fairness, respect for self and others, diligence, and dedication
  • Promptly Complete all assignments and responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients (beginning with study in the first year)
  • Communicate with, examine, and provide care for all patients—including those whose gender, culture, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs are different from students' own.
  • Develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships, not only with patients but with all members of the medical school community and healthcare teams
  • Maintain sobriety in all academic and clinical environments, and refrain from the illegal use of substances at all times.
  • Abide by all state, federal, and local laws, as well as all CMU and the CMU College of Medicine codes of conduct.
  • Tolerate physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding workloads
  • Function effectively under stress, and proactively make use of available resources to help maintain both physical and mental health
  • Adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and be able to learn in the face of uncertainty
  • Make responsibility for themselves and their behaviors

All graduates of CMU College of Medicine must have the knowledge, skills and other Competencies to function in a wide variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Historically, undergraduate medical education in the United States has been structured as a broad general training, which is intended to produce "undifferentiated physicians", capable of undertaking their choice of medical specialty. Our academic standards and standards for capacity are based on that model, and whereas a truly undifferentiated physician may not be achievable, our standards attempt to insure capable, well-rounded future clinicians.

Without the essential capacities, students cannot fulfill the requirements of all the courses and clerkships at the College of Medicine. Meeting the Standards for Capacity is, therefore, required for matriculation (insomuch as the abilities can reasonably be determined before matriculation), subsequent promotion from term to term, and finally graduation from CMU College of Medicine.