MD Program

Contact Administration

1216 MERF
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2600
Phone:(319) 335-8278
Fax: (319) 335-8643

  • Student Handbook

    Health Policies

    1. Health insurance

    There are inherent risks involved in taking care of patients.  For this reason, all Carver College of Medicine students are required to maintain health insurance (or an equivalent alternative care plan) sufficient to satisfy minimum standards of coverage.  It is recommended that alternative care plans cover immediate evaluation, testing, initiation of necessary prophylaxis, and follow-up for exposure to blood and body fluids.

    If you have questions on the health insurance requirement or the various policies, please call the Benefits Office at 319-335-2676 or toll free 877-830-4001, Fax 319-335-2776 or go to http://www.uiowa.edu/hr/benefits/health/student/index_grad_hs.html .

    Disability insurance, while not required, should be considered. If you are interested in purchasing disability insurance, we urge you to contact your local insurance agent.

    Proof of health insurance coverage 

    If you have other health insurance and do not want to be billed for the University’s policy, you must submit an annual “Proof of Coverage Form” to University Benefits, 120 University Services Building, Suite 40, Iowa City, IA 52242-1911 in early September.  Do not miss this deadline as the Benefits Office does not credit back billed premiums when forms are turned in late.  Proof of coverage forms are available at  http://www.uiowa.edu/hr/benefits/health/student/exempt.pdf

    2. Immunization requirements

    Immunization is your personal responsibility. You can receive immunizations at your own healthcare provider office, or at the Student Health Service.

    These are the basic immunization requirements for health science students:

    • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) (two doses required unless born before 1957)
      • one dose given after your first birthday and in 1969 or later
      • dose two usually given at age 4-6 years or later, but at least 28 days after the first dose
      • copies of MMR titres that verify immunity to all three diseases (lab reports required)
       
    • Tetanus/diphtheria immunization within the last 10 years (new tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis vaccine strongly recommended
      • can be given as early as 2 yrs since last Td dose
       
    • Tuberculin skin test (TST) (Mantoux 5 TU/PPD intradermally only)
      • pre-entrance and annually
      • positive converters or those with history of positive TST need annual TB assessment
      • students with history of receiving BCG vaccine >18 months ago are still required to have TST
       
    • Hepatitis B (see below)
      • must complete hepatitis B series OR submit a positive titre
      • copy of lab report required for titre
       
    • Varicella (chicken pox)
      • two doses of vaccine
      • history of disease 
       

    Students receiving training at other facilities are required to meet the immunization and testing requirements of the training facility.

    Annual influenza vaccination is strongly recommended to reduce the risk of infection not only to the students but also to hospitalized patients who are placed at risk in part because of contact with hospital personnel.

    Hepatitis B

    During the course of clinical training, students will come in contact with patients who have hepatitis B. Students are required to have completed the full hepatitis B immunization series (3 doses), and/or a hepatitis B titre (blood draw) that confirms immunity to hepatitis B, prior to the end of the first semester of medical school. Immunization is the student’s personal responsibility. Students may wish to contact their personal physician for immunization. Immunization and titres for hepatitis B are available through Student Health Service. The vaccine is given over a period of six months, with three separate shots. The titre is drawn 4-8 weeks after the third shot. All three immunizations must be given to increase the likelihood that the vaccine will be fully protective. The first year financial aid budget is adjusted to include the cost of immunization.

    3. Blood Borne Pathogen Exposures

     A student experiencing a needlestick or significant contamination on unprotected skin/eyes/mouth by patient blood or body fluids should immediately:

    • Clean the wound or area thoroughly
    • Identify the source patient
    • Inform the supervisor
    • Students on rotation at the VA Hospital should seek care at the VA Employee Health Clinic
    • Call Student Health Service 319-335-8392
    • If Student Health Service is closed, call UIHC ETC 319-356-2233 and ask to speak to the staff M.D.  
    • Obtain medical care as advised
    • Accept responsibility for follow-up
    • For the complete protocol for medical students at UIHC or off-site, see the Student Health website: http://studenthealth.uiowa.edu/services/blood-and-body-fluid-exposure/

    4. Policy on Respirator Fitting: Airborne Infection Prevention

    For M3/4 students in clerkships a didactic lecture regarding infection prevention is provided in Clinical Beginnings. If the student is required to encounter a patient room designated Airborne Infection Isolation (blue sign on the door stating N95 respirator required to enter room) the student must first make an appointment with Student Health to be fitted for a respirator. For most people the standard N95 respirator is sufficient. The cost of the fitting is $45 and will be reimbursed to the student by OSAC. The student must bring the bill to Financial Services, 1216 MERF. Note that the incidence of students encountering this patient isolation is rare (approx 1 per year) and therefore the respirator fittings will be handled on an as-needed basis only.

    5. Substance abuse

    During recent years there has been increasing recognition that alcoholism and drug dependence constitute a major health hazard for physicians. A study done by the Georgia Medical Society’s program for impaired physicians suggests that one of every eight physicians will have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol at some time during his/her career. Although the average age at which substance abuse is identified in physicians is 45 years, the problem begins much earlier, often in college, medical school or residency. A number of factors contribute to this substantial risk for physicians such as:

    1. lack of education regarding the risk of substance abuse;
    2. easy availability of drugs;
    3. the MDeity complex or physicians’ belief that they should be able to solve all problems and cure all diseases, both those of others as well as their own;
    4. stress of time demands, unremitting responsibility and cultural expectations;
    5. early social use of drugs or alcohol as therapy for stress;
    6. Titanic complex that professes that physicians are “unsinkable”;
    7. short lived relief that alcohol may give those suffering from clinical depression or clinical anxiety; and
    8. the common use of alcohol as a central part of many medical student social functions.

    The purpose of early identification and evaluation of physician trainees who are impaired due to alcohol or drugs is to provide confidential services that are strictly divorced from disciplinary action and to assist trainees in pursuing career plans. Prevention strategies include awareness of the possible problem of substance abuse, development of various personal techniques for coping with stress, developing appropriate support systems, relapse prevention skills, enhanced communication abilities, healthy recreation skills and learning to seek and use assistance.

    Providers for care for students with substance use issues are listed at http://www.medicine.uiowa.edu/md/referrals/, including descriptions of available services and access information.

    Medical students who are concerned that their own or others’ use of drugs or alcohol has led or may lead to any level of physical, social, academic or mental impairment are encouraged to seek assistance through the Office of Student Affairs and Curriculum, the OSAC Deans, the Medical Student Counseling Center, the University of Iowa Counseling Services (335-7294), University of Iowa Student Health or local community agencies or private practitioners.

    The Carver College of Medicine adheres to the policy regarding the use of illegal drugs and alcohol established by the University (Section IID. Policy Regarding the Use of Illegal Drugs and Alcohol, in the Policies & Regulations Affecting Students). This may be found at http://dos.uiowa.edu/policy-list/current-policies-and-regulations-affecting-students-2011-2012-academic-year/student-responsibilities-6/code-of-student-life-2011-2012-academic-year/.  In addition, failure to meet specific promotion requirements of the Carver College of Medicine as a consequence of substance abuse will be handled using standard promotions procedures.

    6. Policies for students with disabilities

    7. Personal counseling