AAIM Code of Conduct Policy (approved July 12, 2023)
I. AAIM Code of Ethics:
The Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) is a professional society dedicated to the advancement and professional development of its members who prepare the next generation of internal medicine physicians and leaders through education, research, engagement, and collaboration. To achieve this purpose, it is imperative that we adhere to the highest ethical standards in all professional activities, therefore, AAIM expects its leaders, members, staff, affiliates, and vendors to:
- Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public; strive to comply with ethical design and sustainable development practices; protect the privacy of others; and disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment.
- Uphold the highest standards of integrity, responsible behavior, and ethical conduct in research, clinical, educational, and professional activities.
- Treat all persons fairly and with respect; harassment, bullying, or discrimination, and injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious actions, rumors or any other verbal or physical abuses are not tolerated.
- Evaluate the work of colleagues fairly and with open-mindedness, courtesy, and respect; seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work; acknowledge and correct errors; be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data; recognize past and present contributors to medicine and education; and credit properly the contributions of others.
- Avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible and disclose them to affected parties when they do exist.
- Expose scientific, clinical, and professional misconduct or unlawful conduct promptly.
- Strive to make internal medicine a welcoming discipline for all faculty, staff, fellows, learners (residents and students) who work in academic internal medicine, regardless of age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, body size, socioeconomic background, level of education, disability, veteran status, or other identity and demographic factors.
- Comply with all laws and regulations that apply to medicine, in research, clinical care, education, and administrative aspects.
- Read, understand, and comply with the AAIM Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy.
The purpose of the AAIM Code of Ethics is to foster a culture of integrity and excellence through our work as a professional organization and in furtherance of AAIM's tax-exempt charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. In adopting the code, AAIM underscores the importance of making ethical decisions in service to the discipline of internal medicine, its patients, its stakeholders, its learners, and its faculty and staff.
II. Values Statement:
The Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) is committed to promoting and championing diversity, equity, and inclusion as a strategic imperative. AAIM endeavors to promote an inclusive environment and welcoming home within AAIM in support of academic internal medicine physicians, administrators, and physicians-in-training and to promote similar environments for members and learners.
In pursuit of that environment, AAIM is committed to equity, both in opportunity and in treatment, for all of its members. AAIM will not discriminate in its activities or services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, body size, socioeconomic background, level of education, disability, or veteran status or any other individual characteristic prohibited by law. AAIM will strive to ensure that all AAIM sponsored meetings and events are conducted in a professional manner in which all participants are treated with dignity and respect.
III. Application of the Code:
The Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy applies to all members of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, including physicians, administrators, physicians-in-training, vendors, and to all participants in AAIM and AAIM-sponsored events. Membership or participation in AAIM and its virtual and in-person meetings, conferences, and events constitutes an agreement to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy. These policies cover participant conduct in all professional and educational settings and related environments and in relation to both members and non-members. These settings may include, but are not limited to:
- Any professional workplace, networking event, or activity;
- Conferences, meetings, discussion panels, and other activities at AAIM-affiliated or sponsored meetings, in-person and virtual;
- Oversight and adjudication of written and verbal communications;
- Educational environments, including formal and informal educational spaces, transport vehicles, and housing associated with them;
- Informal spaces where there are social activities with AAIM members;
- Informal and professional social networking sites and online platforms both affiliated and not affiliated with AAIM.
IV. Expected Behavior:
All members of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, including physicians, administrators, physicians-in-training, vendors, and participants in all professional and educational settings covered by the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy shall:
- Treat all members, participants, attendees, staff, and vendors with respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions.
- Treat others with dignity and respect, regardless of their own or another’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, body size, socioeconomic background, educational background, disability, military service, veteran status, or other identity and demographic factors.
- Neither harass nor request nor accept inappropriate favor from participants, attendees, staff, vendor, or colleagues.
- Give fair and equitable consideration to all physicians, administrators, physicians-in-training, AAIM staff, and vendors, regardless of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic background, educational background, disability, or military service or veteran status.
- Communicate openly with respect for others, critiquing ideas rather than individuals. Members shall avoid personal attacks directed toward other members, participants, attendees, AAIM staff, and vendors.
- Not attempt to injure the reputation of or professional opportunities for others by false, biased, or undocumented claims.
- Not practice, incite, encourage, or condone prohibited behavior, as listed in section V below, including but not limited to harassment in any form.
- Respect the rules and policies of the meeting/event venue, as well as any other applicable meeting or generally applicable codes of conduct in AAIM co-sponsored meetings and events. Meeting or event attendees found to be in violation may be asked to leave the event and associated hotel accommodations without warning or refund and at cost to the attendee.
V. Prohibited Behavior:
Behaviors that are prohibited and which may result in consequences when a violation of the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy is found include:
- Harassment in any form, including sexual harassment, denigrating jokes, stereotyping, or a recurring pattern of microinvalidations, microassaults, microaggressions, and microinsults;
- Physical abuse or intimidation, including disregard for another’s safety;
- Verbal or written abuse or intimidation (in-person or remotely), including but not limited to: harmful or negative comments related to race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, body size, socioeconomic background, level of education, disability, veteran status, or other identity and demographic factors;
- Violating the previously communicated (verbally or nonverbally) physical, emotional, and sexual boundaries of others through the continuation of otherwise prohibited behaviors or through verbal or written comments founded on any personal aspect of another individual;
- Photographing, recording, or videotaping of others and/or the dissemination or distribution of photographs, recordings and video tapings of others that could reasonably viewed as malicious, harassing, bullying, threatening, intimidating, or disparaging;
- Display or distribution of images or recordings involving provocative behavior, bigotry, nudity, sexual activities, or physical force against oneself, another person, or a community, including inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces or in presentations;
- Intentional, unwelcomed physical behaviors (in-person or remotely), including but not limited to stalking, physical contact, and aggressive or intimidating displays and/or body language;
- Threats (implied or real) of physical, emotional, professional, or financial harm, including threatening or stalking any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, AAIM staff member, service provider, or other meeting guest;
- Ethical violations as defined in AAIM Code of Ethics Policy (see Section 1 above);
- Copying or taking screenshots of virtual session recordings for the purpose of reproducing/replicating the material without giving proper attribution to the speaker/presenter;
- Copying or taking screen shots of the Q&A, and session chat activity that takes place in the virtual space;
- Using presentations, postings, and messages which contain promotional materials, special offers, job offers, product announcements, or a solicitation for services that have not been expressly approved through a partnership agreement;
- Retaliatory behavior during or after the reporting process by any individuals involved in a potential violation of the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy, including the reporting party/target/victim, witnesses, and those reported to have engaged in prohibited behavior(s); and
- Any other behaviors that may reasonably be assumed to have the effect of creating, contributing to, or maintaining an environment that is hostile toward or damaging to a person or group.
VI. Reporting Process:
Any AAIM member or anyone participating in an AAIM sponsored event can report harmful behavior or a potential violation of this code to the AAIM Safe Officer at the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org (AAIM has contracted with Accountability Ignited who will serve as the AAIM Safe Officer and perform investigations).
When responding to a report, AAIM will prioritize respecting each person’s safety and confidentiality while also protecting the AAIM environment. AAIM has contracted with an external Safe Officer to offer confidential reporting to AAIM participants who feel uncomfortable making an internal complaint. The reporting party’s identity will be kept confidential if they so wish, until and unless there comes a time that disclosure is needed to address the problem, and they agree to the disclosure of their identity.
There is no absolute deadline or statute of limitations for reporting potential violations to AAIM. Reporting parties are encouraged to come forward at any time so that any harm to reporting parties may be addressed and that a safe and inclusive environment for all members can be maintained.
AAIM will ensure the timely investigation of reported allegations. A report initiated in writing to the AAIM Safe Officer will be acknowledged and reviewed in a timely manner. At the reporting party’s request and if appropriate, the AAIM Safe Officer will initiate a preliminary investigation and will recommend to the AAIM Compliance Committee (CC) whether to continue with a full investigation.
Consequences for a violation of the code may include, but are not limited to:
- a verbal or written request to cease and desist conduct in violation of the code.
- removal of messages and solicitations in violation of the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy and banning the sources of those solicitations.
- removal from a conference, a meeting, a room, or an event, virtual or in-person, without warning or refund; or a ban on future attendance at conferences or events.
- limiting rights to participate in AAIM activities, committees, or leadership for a specified time, including specified remedial actions.
- suspending members from AAIM leadership or membership for a designated time or with conditions for participation, up to and including expulsion from AAIM membership.
Procedures for reviewing cases of potential violations by members and participants will follow those outlined in the current version of the Procedures for Reviewing Reported Violations of the Code of Ethics and Conduct of Conduct Policy.
VII. Honors and Awards:
The Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) confers honors and awards, including but not limited to elected leadership positions within AAIM; its entities that confer awards; selection for service on standing and ad hoc committees and task forces of AAIM; awards made by AAIM and its units in recognition of lifetime or specific research and service contributions and achievements; and the honor of having an award that will be conferred on others named after you.
The Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy applies to all candidates for honors and awards, including elected leadership positions. The acceptance of any honor or award or agreeing to be considered for any elected or appointed position in AAIM constitutes an agreement to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy.
Honors and awards are determined in AAIM’s judgment and discretion. AAIM retains the right to grant, defer or decline to grant an honor or award to any person. AAIM also retains the right to revoke or suspend an Honor or award already granted if, in its judgment and discretion, AAIM determines that it is in the best interests of the field to do so. Suspension means the Honor (and the ability of the recipient to exercise any associated privileges and rights) are held in abeyance until notice by AAIM that the Honor is reinstated or revoked.
All candidates for honors and awards, including leadership positions, will be asked to verify whether they have been subject to a formally filed complaint, investigation, or finding of misconduct related to harassment or discrimination based on prohibited personal characteristics or a formally filed complaint, investigation or finding of misconduct related to medical ethics or any other conduct that would potentially violate the AAIM Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy. While an affirmative answer will not be automatically disqualifying, the member will be contacted for a confidential discussion of the details of the complaint, investigation or finding. AAIM may contact the responsible party at your employer or institution to inquire about any complaints, investigations or findings involving you regarding harassing or discriminatory behavior or breaches of medical ethics.
AAIM Code of Conduct Policy (approved July 12, 2023)