Kasra Sarhadi

Petition to Resolve UMMSM MD and MD/MPH Scheduling Inequalities

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Kasra Sarhadi
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This petition aims to identify individuals who believe in the following:

  • The need for greater efforts put forth by the MD/MPH administration to organize student schedules in a way that minimizes student burnout.
  • The need for equal consideration to be given to the MD Program schedule and MD/MPH Program schedule when planning classes, exams, events, and holiday breaks.
  • The need for more uniform mandatory requirements between the MD/MPH and MD cohorts outside of the MPH curriculum.

We, the undersigned, are concerned MD, MD/PhD, or MD/MPH students of the the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine who urge our administrators to make changes in how the MD/MPH schedules are designed.

In the time between our start in medical school and the present, we have collectively identified a clear inequality in how the administration considers scheduling of classes, exams, events, and holiday breaks for the MD cohort compared to the MD/MPH cohort. We have collected a series of attached evidence highlighting the increased thought and lenience given to scheduling MD Program requirements, while this level of consideration is absent from the MD/MPH scheduling efforts.

We believe recognizing and ameliorating this inequality is of vital importance. Not only does this discrepancy in scheduling efforts increase the already present divide between the students of the two programs, but it fosters an unhealthy level of stress placed on the MD/MPH students (who already have an increased workload) that promotes burnout, instability, and an overall decrease in enthusiasm for the program.

We understand resolving this issue will take time and effort, and we are all committed to contributing towards this effort, if not just for the current MD/MPH classes, but for all MD/MPH classes that will follow.

Based on the following evidence, we are asking the administration to take the following actions:

  • To provide similar options for breaks from the normal curriculum schedule, including removal/rescheduling of mandatory classes/exams and observation of requested religious/spiritual holidays, to both the MD and MD/MPH cohorts.
  • To make attendance to doctoring and physicianship lectures optional for the MD/MPH cohort, just as it is for the MD program.
  • To seek more student guidance with regard to curriculum scheduling, which may involve appointing a student representative to discuss curriculum planning in detail with the administration throughout the year so that student body sentiments and opinions are factored into the curriculum organizational process.

Evidence in Support of our Claims and Our Related Thoughts

In September of 2017, all students in the MD Class of 2020, irrespective of religious affiliation, were given time off to observe the Rosh Hashanah holiday and all classes were cancelled. We believe the administration should have presented this option to the MD/MPH Class of 2020.

On November 17th, 2017, the administration approved an exam date change requested by students of the MD Class of 2021 that would allow students to attend a sporting event. Given this precedent for adjusting exam dates due to student concerns, we believe the administration should be more receptive to changing exam dates if a large proportion of students in the MD/MPH class request it.

  • For instance, we believe the administration should approve a currently standing request by the MD/MPH Class of 2021 to move an exam in the Neurology Organ Module that is currently scheduled for the Monday after Pinning Weekend, and is currently preventing students from fully enjoying this momentous time and occasion with their families, friends, and loved ones.

The MD Class of 2020 has repeatedly had exams scheduled on Fridays, leaving them a weekend after each exam to decompress, relax, and take care of their mental health. However, the MD/MPH Class of 2020 has had every exam scheduled on Monday this year other than our Oncology exam (out of 7 exams total), providing for minimal time off and increased burnout. We advocate for a more balanced mix of Friday and Monday exams, thus giving more time to relax to those who want it throughout the year, while preserving a number of Monday exams throughout the year so that individuals who prefer more time to study on weekends before exams are happy as well.

MD/MPH Class of 2020 students in the Student Training Aides Program have been greatly limited in their participation in the program, as nearly every training date has conflicted with the MD/MPH Class of 2020 schedule. We ask that the individuals in charge of planning training dates please consider the MD/MPH schedule prior to scheduling these training sessions.

When classes resumed after Hurricane Irma, the MD Class of 2020 had an entire week of PBL removed from their schedule, and were given multiple options to take the Respiratory Organ Module Exam, including an option that would give them a 5-day holiday between the conclusion of the Respiratory Organ Module and the beginning of the Renal Organ Module. We believe the MD/MPH Class of 2020 should have been given more flexible scheduling options, rather than defaulting to the overlap of the end of the GastroIntestinal Organ Module and the beginning of the Hematology/Oncology Organ module. This scheduling decision fostered an incredibly stressful two-month stretch detrimental to student health and well-being.

For the Thanksgiving Holiday Break of 2017, the MD Class of 2020 collectively informed the administration that the majority of the students would request Personal Days if any mandatory class was scheduled on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The administration responded by cancelling mandatory sessions on Wednesday, November 22nd. Furthermore, the MD Class of 2020 students were given the option to write a 250-word paper in order to miss a Doctoring Lecture on Tuesday, November 21st, effectively providing them with the option to have a week-long holiday for Thanksgiving. The MD Class of 2021 also did not have mandatory class after Monday, November 20th. We believe that the MD/MPH Classes of 2020 and 2021 should have been given similar leniency rather than having mandatory class through Wednesday, November 22nd.

MD students are not required to attend Doctoring Lectures live. We ask that MD/MPH students be given the same leniency with regard to attendance for Doctoring and Physicianship Lectures.

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