Ethics Consultation Services

What is an Ethics Consultation?

Ethical challenges arise in the training, practice, and profession of biological anthropology. Sometimes there is uncertainty about the appropriate course of action to avoid, manage, or resolve an ethical concern. When an ethical question or concern arises, it is sometimes helpful to speak with someone who can offer an independent perspective on the matter or point you to useful resources. The Ethics Committee is available to help AABA members identify, analyze, and resolve ethical challenges.

Ethics consultations provide an opportunity to discuss a specific matter with one or more members of the Ethics Committee who will listen to concerns and help reason through possible options to resolve them. Consultations are typically conducted by phone, email, or video conferencing. (In-person consultations are not typically possible given the geographic distribution of the committee and AABA membership.)

NOTE: The Ethics Committee is a non-adjudicative body. Ethics consultations do not involve investigations of misconduct, hearing of grievances, or resolution of disputes.

Who may request an Ethics Consultation?

Ethics consultation services are available only to current AABA members.

How do AABA members request an Ethics Consultation?

If you are an AABA member and would like assistance with an ethical question or concern, you may request an ethics consultation by contacting the committee co-chairs.

Will the Ethics Consultation be confidential?

Ethics consultations often involve sensitive matters that individuals are reluctant to discuss without assurances that the information will remain confidential. Information shared during an ethics consultation will be kept confidential to the extent possible. However, privacy and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Unlike some professions with privileges recognized at law (e.g., priest-penitent, physician-patient, or attorney-client), there is a possibility that committee members could be compelled by a court to disclose information shared during ethics consultations. Additionally, certain topics covered in a consultation might raise mandatory reporting requirements. 

What does an Ethics Consultation cost?

Ethics Consultations are provided for free to AABA members as a benefit of membership. Ethics committee members do not receive compensation for provision of consultations.

Is the Ethics Committee required to provide a consultation when one is requested?

The Ethics Committee has the discretion to decline requests and does not need to provide a reason when a request is declined.