4.20 Faculty-Student Familial Relationships and Recusal Requirements


Faculty-Student/Patient Familial/Intimate Relationships and Recusal Requirements

To the extent possible, a student should not be assigned to an Academic Society, learning group, research lab or clinical team led by a faculty instructor who is a family member of or in an intimate relationship with the student. Students should likewise not be assigned to clerkships that are directed by a faculty member who is a family member of or in an intimate relationship the student. In no case should a faculty instructor evaluate the performance of or provide feedback regarding a student who has a familial or intimate relationship with the instructor. To this end, familial/intimate relationships between teaching faculty and students should be disclosed to the HMS Registrar (registrar@hms.harvard.edu) in the Program in Medical Education before matriculation or enrollment in the course or clerkship, or to the course or clerkship director if the assignment is made after enrollment in the course or clerkship.

Clinician-Patient Relationship Conflict of Interest Policy

Providers of medical and psychiatric/psychological services to a medical student should have no involvement in the academic assessment of or decisions about the promotion of that student. If a student is assigned to a learning group, clinical team, preceptor or advisor in which the faculty member has served as their caregiver, the student or clinician should work with the student’s Society Advisory Dean to arrange an alternative placement.

Recusal Requirements

Faculty and students who have voting roles on committees that may make decisions about students’ academic status must recuse themselves from the discussion and vote when a student whose academic status is being considered and voted on is a family member or has a personal relationship with the committee member, including physician-patient relationships, or other conflicts of interest in the outcome of the deliberations.


See also: Harvard Medical School Faculty Policy on Unprofessional Relationships and Abuse of Authority 

Related: Policy on Conflicts between Advising and Assessing Roles

Last updated 10/9/18