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 administrator 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.

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 basic concepts and fundamental principles governing the AAVMC and its actions supporting decent human conduct, distinguishing right from wrong. This includes:

  • Competence
  • Reliability
  • Diligence
  • Concern for Others
  • Concern for the Organization
  • Concern for Society
  • Full Attention to Implications of Actions
  • Integrity
  • 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
5. Provide opportunities for ethical education or discussion to the Board of Directors and committees as directed.

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:
a) Utility:  Does it optimize the satisfaction of all constituencies?
b) Rights:  Does it respect the rights and duties of those involved?
c) Justice:  Is it consistent with the canons of justice?
d) 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 "Other Assembly Committee" with the members appointed by the president of the AAVMC.  The Committee shall consist of five members.  The AAVMC Secretary shall serve as the Chair of the Committee.  Other Committee members shall be:
  • The current Chair of the AAVMC Finance Committee
  • Two representatives from AAVMC voting member institutions, preferably at least one representative having training and expertise in ethics
  • The SAVMA liaison to the AAVMC Board of Directors

Approved by BOD July 12, 2009

Revised by BOD March 12, 2014

Revised by Ethics Committee and approved by BOD July 28, 2014

Revised by BOD July 21, 2017

Revised by Ethics Committee and approved by BOD July 13, 2018

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


2020-2021 Ethics Committee 


Dr. Ruby Perry, Chair
Dean & Professor
College of Veterinary Medicine 
Tuskegee University 
AAVMC Secretary
Dr. Mark Stetter
Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Colorado State University
AAVMC Treasurer
Dr. Antoinette Marsh
Associate Professor
College of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Term expires 2021
Dr. Erik Clary
Associate Professor of Surgery & Bioethics
College of Veterinary Medicine
Oklahoma State University
Term expires 2023
Ms. Kylie Watson                            
Lincoln Memorial University 
SAVMA Liaison
Ms. Dotty Gray, Staff Liaison
Chief Operating Officer