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Ethics Committee

The AAVMC should adhere to the highest ethical standards because it is the right thing to do and, as a matter of self-interest, because public trust in its performance is the bedrock of the Association's legitimacy. The strength of the board is grounded in the ethical conduct and approach of each of its board members.

Role and Charge of the Ethics Committee
The AAVMC Ethics Committee recommends effective ethics management processes for the AAVMC, and represents the Association's and employees' interests by ensuring that the ethics management systems are effective and meet the requirements of any applicable laws or guidelines in an independent, impartial and fair manner.

How the Ethics Committee Conducts Its Business
The AAVMC Ethics Committee is advisory to the AAVMC Board of Directors. Any AAVMC Board member, officer, employee, member institution representative, committee chair, or committee member may bring any Association issue to the AAVMC ethics committee for their review, evaluation, consultation and recommendation. The Ethics Committee provides its review, evaluation, consultation and recommendations to the person(s) requesting the services of the Committee and to the AAVMC Board of Directors.

The Committee shall have authority to seek any information from the Association, the Association's Board of Directors and Officers, Association employees, or volunteers for the Association to carry out its work effectively.

The AAVMC Ethics Committee is not the facilitator of Association policy or the dispenser of punishment. The Committee does not serve nor represent any of the individual institutional members of the Association and does not review, evaluate, consult, or recommend ethical issues for any individual AAVMC institutional member.

The Ethics Committee should have yearly goals and an annual internal evaluation by the Board. The Committee shall report to the Board annually and submit all of its meeting minutes to the Board.

Definition of Ethics
Ethics is the principle of conduct governing the association and the methods of applying them. This includes:
  • Notions of competence
  • Reliability
  • Diligence
  • Concern for others
  • Concern for the organization
  • Concern for society
  • Full attention to implications of actions
  • Notions of integrity
  • Notions of honesty

Functions of the Ethics Committee
Functions of AAVMC Ethics Committee are to:
  1. Inform AAVMC Board members, officers, employees, volunteers on ethical issues.
  2. As directed by the AAVMC Board or requested by an AAVMC employee or member institution volunteer, make ethical judgment recommendations on current or proposed policies and procedures.
  3. As directed by the AAVMC Board or requested by an AAVMC employee or member institution volunteer, develop policy and/or procedure recommendations on specific ethical issues.
  4. Provide consultation in cases that present ethical dilemmas.
All Ethics Committee meetings should include time for education within the Committee and the Board should provide a time, at least once yearly, at its Board meetings for the Committee to provide ethics education. The ethics committee should offer ethical education to other AAVMC committees. The Board should provide a line-item budget amount for the committee to carry out its functions.

Determining Ethical Judgments
In reviewing, evaluating, consulting and making recommendations, the Committee shall involve three steps in making ethical judgments:
  1. Gather relevant factual information.
  2. Select the moral norm(s) that are most applicable:
    1. Utility: Does it optimize the satisfaction of all constituencies?
    2. Rights: Does it respect the rights and duties of the individuals involved?
    3. Justice: Is it consistent with the canons of justice?
    4. Caring: Is it consistent with the responsibility of caring for one another. During the analysis procedure any factors overriding one or two of the four ethical norms should be considered. The Committee shall take ethical standards held by society but subject them to critical evaluation allowing for "common sense" morality to be criticized.
  3. Make recommendations on the ethical judgment on the rightness and wrongness of the act or policy.

Members of the AAVMC Ethics Committee
The AAVMC Ethics Committee is an Board Committee with the members appointed by the president of the AAVMC. The Committee shall consist of seven members. The current AAVMC immediate past-president shall serve as the Chair of the Committee. Other Committee members shall be:
  • The current chair of the AAVMC Finance Committee.
  • Four representatives from AAVMC voting member institutions and preferably at least one representative having training and expertise in ethics.
  • One representative from AAVMC affiliate member institutions.

See an overview of the ethics committee's recent evaluation of the current ethics policy 


2013-2014 Committee Roster

Deborah Kochevar
AAVMC Past President, Chair (Voting)
Dean, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Tufts University
Douglas Freeman
AAVMC Treasurer  (Voting)
Dean, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
Lisa Nolan
Institutional Member (Voting)
Juelsgaard Dean, Vet Medicine Administration
Iowa State University 
Shelley Newman
Institutional Member (Voting)
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Tennessee
Tsegaye Habtemariam
AAVMC Member (Voting)
Dean, College of Vet Med, Nursing & Allied Health
Tuskegee University
Grace Mulcahy
AAVMC Member (Voting)
Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine,
University College Dublin
Karen Rosenthal
AAVMC Member (Affiliate)
Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine
St. Matthew's University

Dotty Gray
Staff Liaison
Chief Operating Officer
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