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About the Academy
Submissions to the Ethics Committee

The Academy's Ethics Committee accepts two types of formal submissions: those asking a question (an "inquiry") and those challenging the actions or behavior of an Academy fellow or member (a "challenge").

Frequently Asked Questions About Submissions
Who may submit?
What constitutes a submission?
How do I submit an expert witness testimony challenge?
Where do I send a submission?
Are there submission forms?
How are submissions handled by the Ethics Committee?

Who may submit?
Inquiries or challenges may be submitted by ophthalmologists (whether or not they are Fellows or Members of the Academy), other physicians, health care institutions, health care reimbursers, allied health professionals, patients and their families or organizations representing any of these.

What constitutes a submission?
Any submission to the Ethics Committee, whether or not it is designed to be an inquiry or challenge, may be construed by the chairman of the committee as either an inquiry or a challenge, depending on the information it contains. Inquiries may be considered without regard to their means or form of submission. Challenges relating to information not in the public domain (i.e., not advertising materials) are not considered unless they are submitted in writing and signed by their submitters. Challenges unrelated to a fellow or member of the Academy are not within the Ethics Committee's purview.

How do I submit an expert witness testimony challenge?
The Ethics Committee recognizes that expert witness testimony submissions are distinguishable in many ways from other submissions: the volume of each submission, the uniqueness of each case, the emotions involved and most significantly for the Committee, the time and expense needed to give each case its due.  The Ethics Committee has developed a specific submission form to enable these challenges to be submitted with specificity.

Expert Witness Testimony Submission Form (DOC 269K) 

Where do I send a submission?
Send submissions to the Ethics Committee's attention at the Academy's San Francisco office:

Ethics Committee
American Academy of Ophthalmology
P.O. Box 7424
San Francisco, CA 94120-7424

Submission Forms
The Ethics Committee has developed three submission forms. One is for physicians' use, the second is for the use of patients and the public, and the third is for expert witness testimony. Complete the forms carefully and enclose any material relevant to your challenge that you wish the Ethics Committee to review. Specific information can be found on the forms themselves.

Physician Submission Form (DOC 114K)
Patient and Public Submission Form (DOC 112K)
Expert Witness Testimony Submission Form (DOC 269K)

How are submissions handled by the Ethics Committee?
If a submission involves materials not in the public domain, the Ethics Committee may proceed only if the challenge is submitted in writing, is signed by the submitter and the submitter agrees to have his or her challenge disclosed to the fellow or member who is the subject of the challenge. Typically, the Ethics Committee then forwards the submission to the fellow or member who is being challenged and requests a response. If the challenge cannot be resolved based on written communications, the Ethics Committee may hold a private adjudicative hearing. The details of the hearing process are set forth in the administrative procedures of the Code of Ethics.