Code of Ethics Policy Form

Board of Trustees – Code of Ethics

AAO Board Policy (§ 4.6) requires all members of the AAO Board of Trustees to acknowledge their recognition of the ethical parameters of conduct described in the AAO Code of Ethics on an annual basis. Please indicate your understanding and acceptance of the policy by electronic signature at the end of this form.


The Code of Ethics (the Code”) of the Board of Trustees of the American Association of Orthodontists (“AAO”) serves as a code of conduct for members of the Board in their capacity as Board members. Members of the Board affirm their endorsement of the Code, and acknowledge their commitment to uphold and adhere to its principles by accepting membership on, and continuing as a member of, the Board. Violations of the Code may result in sanctions imposed under these Conduct Review Procedures (“Procedures”). These Procedures are intended to augment further any related provisions of the AAO’s Bylaws (including, but not limited to, Article X). To the extent any conflict exists between these Procedures and the Bylaws, the Bylaws shall control.

Basis for Violation

The grounds for disciplinary action are one or more violations of any provision of the Code, or any other conduct deemed inappropriate by the Board of Trustees


The AAO is a professional association with the following purposes:

To advance the art and science of orthodontics;
To encourage and sponsor research;
To strive for and maintain the highest standards of excellence in orthodontic education and practice; and
To make significant contributions to the health of the public.

The business of the association is managed under the direction of the AAO Board of Trustees (the “Board”). This Code of Ethics (the “Code”) serves as a code of conduct for board members. Code violations may result in sanctions imposed under the Board Member Conduct Review Procedures (the “Procedures”). The principles and requirements that comprise the Code and Procedures are based on and are designed to ensure full compliance by AAO and its officers, Trustees and other Board members with the fiduciary duties imposed on such individuals by state corporate law, the federal tax code’s prohibition on private inurement and private benefit, and other requirements of federal tax exemption, common law due process requirements, federal and state antitrust and unfair competition law, state tort law, and other legal precepts and prohibitions. At the same time, the Code and Procedures are not designed to supplant courts of law in the resolution of disputes. Moreover, the checks and balances built into the Code and Procedures are designed to strike the proper balance between ensuring full compliance with the legal obligations described here and ensuring the integrity and efficacy of the code on the one hand and, on the other, the protection of board members, through the use of reasonable due process procedures, against patently false, malicious, or groundless accusations that could result in significant business or personal harm if not properly handled. Members of the Board affirm their endorsement of the Code and acknowledge their commitment to uphold its principles and obligations by accepting and retaining membership on the Board.

Board of Trustees Code of Ethics

Members of the Board (including ex officio members of the Board) shall at all times abide by and conform to the following code of conduct in their capacity as Board members:
  1. Each member of the Board will abide in all respects by the AAO Members’ Code of Ethics and all other rules and regulations of the association (including but not limited to the association’s articles of incorporation and bylaws) and will ensure that their membership (or the membership of the entity for which they serve as officer, director, employee, or owner, as the case may be) in the association remains in good standing at all times. Furthermore, each member of the Board will at all times obey all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and will provide or cause to be provided the full cooperation of the association when requested to do so by those institutions and their persons set in authority as are required to uphold the law.
  2. Members of the Board will conduct the business affairs of the association in good faith and with honesty, integrity, due diligence, and reasonable competence.
  3. Members of the Board will attend meetings prepared to discuss all items on the meeting agenda. Regular use of electronic communication technology is mandatory as it facilitates exchange before, during and after meetings.
  4. Except as the Board may otherwise require or as otherwise required by law, no Board member shall share, copy, reproduce, transmit, divulge or otherwise disclose any confidential information related to the affairs of the association and each member of the Board will uphold the strict confidentiality of all meetings and other deliberations and communications of and among the Board.
  5. Members of the Board will exercise proper authority and good judgment in their dealings with association staff, suppliers, and the general public and will respond to the needs of the association’s members in a responsible, respectful, and professional manner.
  6. No member of the Board will use any information provided by the association or acquired as a consequence of the Board member’s service to the association in any manner other than in furtherance of his or her Board duties. Further, no member of the Board will misuse association property or resources and will at all times keep the association’s property secure and not allow any person not authorized by the Board to have or use such property.
  7. Each member of the Board will use his or her best efforts to regularly participate in professional development activities and will perform his or her assigned duties in a professional and timely manner pursuant to the Board’s direction and oversight.
  8. Upon termination of a member’s Board service for any reason, such member will promptly return to the association all documents, electronic and hard files, reference materials, and other property entrusted to such member for the purpose of fulfilling his or her job responsibilities. Such return will not abrogate such member from his or her continuing obligations of confidentiality with respect to information acquired as a consequence of his or her tenure on the Board.
  9. The Board dedicates itself to leading by example in serving the needs of the association and its members and also in representing the interests and ideals of the orthodontic profession at large.
  10. No member of the Board shall persuade or attempt to persuade any employee of the association to leave the employ of the association or to become employed by any person or entity other than the association. Furthermore, no member of the Board shall persuade or attempt to persuade any member, exhibitor, advertiser, sponsor, subscriber, supplier, contractor, or any other person or entity with an actual or potential relationship to or with the association to terminate, curtail, or not enter into its relationship to or with the association, or to in any way reduce the monetary or other benefits to the association of such relationship.
  11. The Board must act at all times in the best interests of the association and not for personal or third-party gain or financial enrichment. When encountering potential conflicts of interest, board members will identify the conflict, disclose in reasonable detail the nature of the conflict to the Board and, as required, remove themselves from all discussion and voting on the matter. Specifically, board members shall follow these guidelines:
  • Avoid placing (and avoid the appearance of placing) one’s own self-interest or any third-party interest above that of the association; while the receipt of incidental personal or third-party benefit may necessarily flow from certain association activities, such benefit must be merely incidental to the primary benefit to the association and its purposes;
  • Do not abuse board membership by improperly using board membership or the association’s staff, services, equipment, resources, or property for personal or third-party gain or pleasure; board members shall not represent to third parties that their authority as a board member extends any further than that which it actually extends;
  • Do not engage in any outside business, professional or other activities that would directly or indirectly materially adversely affect the association;
  • Do not engage in or facilitate any discriminatory or harassing behavior directed toward association staff, members, officers, other members of the Board, meeting attendees, exhibitors, advertisers, sponsors, suppliers, contractors, or others in the context of activities relating to the association;
  • Do not solicit or accept gifts, gratuities, free trips, honoraria, personal property, or any other item of value from any person or entity as a direct or indirect inducement to provide special treatment to such donor with respect to matters pertaining to the association without fully disclosing such items to the Board; and
  • Provide goods or services to the association as a paid vendor to the association only after full disclosure to, and advance approval by, the board, and pursuant to any related procedures adopted by the board.


The undersigned hereby acknowledges receipt of the foregoing Code, understands the terms thereof, and agrees to comply fully with the requirements set forth therein.

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