Section VIII: Access to Records and Policies on Confidentiality

Student Records

There are three student information systems used at the medical school. Information about each system is listed below. The first two are specific to the medical school. The third system (Banner) is Brown University’s official student information system.

Every student can view his/her information. Administrative access to this information is tightly controlled.

EMSR (https://apps.biomed.brown.edu/emsr)

The Electronic Medical Student Record (EMSR) is a secure online system for storing information about AMS students. EMSR serves as the student’s official file and is maintained by the AMS Office of Records and Registration. EMSR is the repository for documents including letters of recommendation, MCASP (Medical Committee on Academic Standing and Professionalism) action letters, MSPE (Medical Student Performance Evaluation) letters, and student status change forms. Another component of EMSR is a student portfolio, which is the only component of EMSR that is maintained by the student. Information automatically stored in EMSR includes:

  • AMCAS application
  • Academic status
  • Emergency contact information
  • USMLE scores
  • Health care worker certification dates such as HIPAA, BLS, ACLS and N95 respirator fitting
  • Student portfolio and Scholarly Concentration information

OASIS (https://oasis.med.brown.edu)

OASIS is a registration and evaluation system designed specifically for medical students. Student evaluations and grades are submitted electronically to OASIS. Students can view their evaluations and grades once they have completed all required faculty and course evaluations.

First- and second- year students use OASIS for evaluating lecturers, small group leaders, and Doctoring mentors. Student grades and evaluations are also stored in OASIS.

Third- and fourth- year students use OASIS for the clerkship and sub-internship lotteries, to schedule electives, and to evaluate courses and faculty. Grades and student performance evaluations in clinical rotations are stored in OASIS. Senior students can also view progress towards meeting clinical course requirements.

Course registrations and grades are submitted first to OASIS and then uploaded to Banner (see below).

Banner (https://selfservice.brown.edu)

Banner is Brown University’s official student information system. Information stored includes course registrations, grades, biographical data, and financial aid and student account information regarding charges and payments. Official transcripts are produced from Banner. Requests to order an official transcript can be submitted online at http://brown.edu/Administration/Registrar/guidelines/records/index.html#ordering

Unofficial transcripts, also known as "grade cards," are produced by the AMS Office of Records & Registration staff upon special request.

Access to Student Records

Brown University's policies pertaining to student access to records and the protection of confidentiality comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of l974 (FERPA).

When students meet with advisors or members of the administrative staff, memos summarizing that meeting may be prepared and uploaded to EMSR. Students may view all information contained in their own EMSR at any time.

Documents containing information of a highly confidential nature will not be uploaded to EMSR, but instead will be kept in a confidential file in the AMS Registrar's office. If a confidential file is being kept, a flag in EMSR will indicate that additional information is on file in the Registrar's office. Students have the right to review all information contained in their own confidential file.

Within the medical school, only those members acting in the students' educational interests are allowed access to EMSR and OASIS. No one outside the medical school can have access to EMSR nor will the medical school disclose FERPA protected information from the students' education records without the written consent of students, except to personnel within the institution, officials of other institutions in which the students seek to enroll, persons or organizations providing students financial aid, accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, persons in compliance with a judicial order, or, in an emergency, to persons charged with protecting the health or safety of students or other persons.

Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading may discuss their file with the Associate Dean for Medical Education. If the Associate Dean concludes that the student's request has merit, the student’s EMSR will be amended. If not, the student may add his or her own written comments to the record and/or request a formal hearing. Procedures for such a hearing are described under Section X-Appeal & Grievance Procedures.

Confidentiality

Students have a right to expect that faculty and staff will respect their privacy and deal with sensitive information in an appropriate and professional manner. Information on an individual student's grades, performance on external examinations (e.g., USMLE), financial status, medical issues, personal problems, and similar sensitive information is handled carefully to prevent it from becoming known to unauthorized individuals.

The staff is mindful of standards of professional conduct designed to keep sensitive personal information confidential. This includes keeping confidential information under secure conditions, limiting access, shredding rather than throwing away sensitive documents, not leaving sensitive documents exposed on desktops, not discussing sensitive information on the telephone when unauthorized persons are present, and not gossiping.

Notification of Rights under FERPA for Postsecondary Institutions

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. EMSR and Banner are compliant with the following guidelines:

(1) The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

(2) The right to request the amendment of education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

(3) The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901

Evaluations

All AMS courses, except preclinical electives, use online evaluation forms. Faculty are required to complete evaluations about student performance. Students are also required to complete evaluations about courses and faculty before receiving final grades in all required courses and clerkships. At AMS, the evaluation forms are distributed by and stored in OASIS.

Student Performance Evaluations

During years 1 and 2, students receive clinical evaluations in the Doctoring Program from both small group faculty and mentors. Likewise, small group faculty complete evaluations of student performance in small-group and laboratory  sessions in the integrated medical science (IMS) courses. Student performance evaluations during years 3 and 4 vary widely depending on the course. For clinical clerkships and  sub-internships, students are evaluated by multiple physicians. For these rotations, students receive a “summary” evaluation for their performance in the course. This electronic document is a compilation by the course leader of the evaluations completed by individual attending and resident physicians. Students can view their summary, but not their individual, evaluations in OASIS. 

Students who wish to review individual formative evaluations should start by contacting the appropriate course administrator. The teachers who complete these evaluations are instructed that students are not able to view any individual evaluations that would identify which faculty wrote what comments. In the event that students do review individual evaluations, the course teams may share the role of the evaluator (intern, resident, attending, etc.) who completed the evaluation but will keep the specific names of the evaluators anonymous. 

For advanced clinical mentorships (ACM), independent studies, away rotations, and most AMS clinical electives, students are evaluated by one physician who writes the evaluation him/herself based either on direct observation or on feedback provided by other attending and resident physicians.

At AMS, final grades should be available approximately four to six weeks after a course ends. For all courses, students can view their student performance evaluation in OASIS once they have completed their faculty and course evaluations (see below).

Faculty Teaching Evaluations

Students are routinely required to complete faculty teaching evaluations in all four years of medical school for individual lecturers, small group teachers, Doctoring mentors, and clinical faculty including residents, attending physicians, and course leaders. On individual faculty evaluations, the name of the medical student is automatically redacted in OASIS so that their identity is masked from the individual faculty member, the course leader, and course administrator.

Faculty members can only view a report of their own teaching evaluations once they have received at least three evaluations for the same course in one academic year. Faculty cannot see the identity of any individual student who has submitted an evaluation form. Course administrators can see what percentage of students enrolled in a course have completed their evaluations, as well as which students have completed evaluations and which have not.

Faculty use teaching evaluations to become better teachers. Teaching evaluations are also a critical component of the university’s academic promotion process. Outside of this formal, anonymous process, students are encouraged but not required to bring any concerns about their teachers to appropriate course leaders, the Directors of the Preclinical Curriculum (Drs. Luba Dumenco and Paul George), and/or the Director of Medical Education  (Richard Dollase, EdD). 

Course Evaluations

Course evaluation forms are distributed at the end of every course in Years 1-4. Course leaders and administrators can view aggregate reports of the course evaluation data. As with faculty evaluations, the identity of individual students is automatically redacted to ensure that the feedback is confidential. In addition, student feedback about clinical electives is summarized and uploaded to the OASIS course catalog where it serves as a resource for medical students choosing electives in future years.

Course leaders and administrators use course evaluations to look for patterns as a way to improve and refine their curriculum and courses for future students. If a student rates a component of a clinical clerkship as a 1, the lowest point on the rating scale, notification is automatically sent to the course leader(s) for review and intervention, if needed. The identity of the student who completed that course evaluation is automatically redacted.

Mistreatment Forms

Mistreatment forms are a special type of course evaluation used in every core clerkship. If a student reports a problem using the mistreatment form, notification is automatically sent to the following people: the Director of Career Development (Ms. Alexandra Morang), the Lead Ombudsperson for students regarding mistreatment issues and liaison for the Student Health Council on issues of mistreatment and student wellness (Dr. Christine Montross), and the Associate Dean for Medical Education (Dean Allan Tunkel).

The identity of the student is not revealed at any time during this process.

Data are used by the medical school’s administration to identify and address both individual incidents as well as patterns of reported mistreatment. Dr. Montross is available as an ombudsperson for individual and private meetings for any medical students who have any concerns about mistreatment.

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

The MSPE is a composite evaluation from the medical school for medical students applying to postgraduate (residency) training programs. This evaluation is written by a member of the Postgraduate Referral Committee on behalf of the Medical School.  Students are assigned to a member of the committee during the spring of their third year. Assignments are based on the students chosen career path. For example, a student applying to pediatrics residency programs would be assigned to a pediatric faculty member on the committee.

In preparation for writing the MSPE, it is expected that the committee member will meet with the student to discuss the student's background, academic record, interests, activities, and professional goals. The committee member should serve as a resource for the student, providing information on the National Resident Matching Program and on specifics of the programs the student is considering.

In addition to information gathering during a personal meeting, committee members are expected to review a student's academic record and biography in preparation for writing a draft of the MSPE. The institution's goal is that the MSPE provide a realistic assessment of each student's qualifications for residency. Narrative comments from the clerkship instructors are included to allow the residency program to judge the applicant's qualifications. The completed MSPE will also include graphs to provide residency programs with information on the student's performance relative to the performance of their peers.  While students are encouraged to review the draft of their MSPE for accuracy, final decisions as to its content will be made by the Postgraduate Referral Committee member.