About the AAO-HNS Ethics Committee

Lauren S. Zaretsky, MD, Chair, Ethics Committee
The Ethics Committee is charged with reviewing all Academy activities from an ethical perspective, raising the sensitivity of Academy members to ethical issues, developing a mechanism to assess possible breaches of our Code of Ethics, and making policy recommendations regarding ethical issues to the Board of Directors for its action.

The Ethics Committee works to improve patient care and the health of the public by examining and promoting physician professionalism. They strive to meet this challenge through the establishment of ethics policies that provide guidance to otolaryngologists-head and neck surgeons, and the development of educational prgrams that inform otolaryngologists-head and neck surgeons on means to address ethical and professional challenges.

Ethics Resource Center

The Ethics Resource Center provides otolaryngologists-head and neck surgeons with the essential tools and skills to address ethical challengaes in a changing health care environment.

Code of Ethics
The complete Code of Ethics contains statements of Principles and Code of Ethics articulate principles of conduct that are deemed appropriate and acceptable by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, Inc. The statements and principles contained herein are not laws, but rather guidelines for honorable behavior. We believe that these ethical principles should be honored by all Fellows and Members intent on maintaining good standing in the Academy. The ethical principles should serve to bring clarity and definition to areas where confusion might occur in the course of contemporary Otolaryngology practice.

Code for Interactions with Companies
In September 2011, the AAO-HNS/F adopted this Code to reinforce the core principles that help maintain actual and perceived independence. By adopting this Code helps to ensure that AAO-HNS/F's interactions with Companies will be for the benefit of patients and members and for the improvement of care in the field of otolaryngology.

Gender Equity Policy and Procedural Guidelines
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Code of Ethics endorses the current opinions of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association. Opinion E-9.035 sets forth the AMA's position against gender discrimination in the medical profession. AAO-HNS Ethics Committee will receive and review complaints about such discrimination in accordance with the procedures, as elaborated in this document.

Procedural Guidelines for AAO-HNS Disciplinary Proceedings
Only Fellows or Active Members of the Academy may file a complaint with the Executive Vice President charging another member with failing to maintain good professional standing. Failure to maintain goodprofessional standing may be evidenced by, but not limited to, a violation of the Academy's Bylaws or Code of Ethics, as amended from time to time. AAO-HNS Ethics Committee will receive and review complaints in accordance with the procedures, as elaborated in this document.

Expert Witness Testimony
The Academy believes it is important for Otolaryngologists to serve as expert witnesses in legal proceedings to assist in the administration of justice. The Otolaryngologist, as a medical expert witness, shall be appropriately qualified and shall be thoroughly prepared with relevant facts so that he or she can, to the best of his or her ability, provide the court with opinions that are accurate and capable of substantiation with respect to the matters at hand. Physicians serving as expert witnesses must provide informed, objective, and truthful testimony without adopting a position of advocacy, and serve as spokesman for the field of special knowledge the medical expert witness represents. It is unethical for physicians to accept compensation for expert witness testimony that is linked to the outcome of the case. Academy members must follow the "Statement on Qualifications and Guidelines for the Physician Expert Witnesses."

Ethics Resource Center- AcademyU Modules


The Ethics Committee has developed two AcademyU® modules using the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation's online library of professional education activities and resources. To access the Gender Equaity in the Workplace or Introducing the AAO-HNS Expert Witness Guidelines modules click here.

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