A Message from the NATA Committee on Professional Ethics
It’s up to you to protect our association and our credential…
By Dr. Jim Berry, ATC, Chair – NATA Committee on Professional Ethics
As the Chair of the NATA’s Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) for the past year, I have grown increasingly concerned about the number and types of cases that are being reported to our committee for investigation and adjudication. Of greater concern is the fact that, in most cases, the incidents that are being reported to the COPE are not coming from our membership but rather from media and other public reports. This is extremely troubling because it seems to be indicative of a professional membership that is either unwilling to report those who are behaving unprofessionally/unethically, or a membership that simply does not understand what its responsibilities are when it comes to reporting unprofessional/unethical behaviors on the part of their athletic training colleagues.
Many members also do not realize you have a professional and ethical obligation to do so. NATA Code of Ethics Principle 2.3 states: Members shall report illegal or unethical practices related to athletic training to the appropriate person or authority. Sadly, in 14 of the past 16 cases investigated recently by the COPE, the information about the alleged violation did not come from NATA members but from other sources unrelated to the NATA. In nearly every case the information was public knowledge and had been broadcast or published in the local media, yet not one NATA member provided information to the NATA COPE about the case(s).
The process for filing an ethics complaint is quite simple and members have several options for doing so. First, you may go to the NATA website and complete the online complaint form at this address: http://www.nata.org/ethics-complaint-form. Second, you can contact the NATA Staff liaison to the NATA COPE – Jessica McDowell – via email (email@example.com) or telephone (972-532-8830), and she can assist you with filing a complaint. Third, you may contact your District COPE representative and they can assist you with questions you may have or with filing a complaint. It is important to note that as a matter of policy, all complaints must be made in writing and should offer as much detail as possible regarding the situation/incident that has precipitated the complaint. ALL complaints are kept strictly confidential and the identity of the individual(s) making the complaint is never revealed to the subject of the complaint. Likewise the identity of the subject of the complaint is also never released publicly or privately before, during, or after the investigation/adjudication process unless specifically required as part of the final outcome of the case, ie, a public censure.
I hope that this information is helpful to you in understanding your professional and ethical obligations as a member and should you have any further questions, comments, or concerns please address them to your district COPE representative or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.340.9506.
Dr. Jim Berry, Chair
Don Bagnall, ATC
Mary Mundrane-Zweiacher, ATC
Dr. Jatin Ambegaonkar, ATC
Dr. Katie Grove, ATC
Dr. Lana Loken, ATC
Tom Monagan, ATC
Dr. Debbie Craig, ATC
Mike West, ATC
Dr. Marisa Colston, ATC
Charles Liggett, ATC