Code of Ethics

The Southern Thoracic Surgical Association (STSA) is the organization which represents southern and southern-trained members of the cardiothoracic surgery community in the pursuit of the highest quality patient care, education, scientific achievement, and life balance. Membership within STSA carries with it not only the general ethical obligations inherent in our role as physicians, but also adherence to the highest standards of conduct with respect to how we interact with other health care professionals, our peers, and the community at large. The purpose of the STSA Code of Ethics is to provide all STSA staff members, leaders, and members with guidelines for reporting inappropriate behavior as it relates to harassment, bullying, and discrimination.

STSA is committed to the treatment of all individuals with dignity and respect. Thereby, all volunteers, members, and staff assigned to STSA are expected to conduct professional relationships in a manner that is free from bias, prejudice, harassment, bullying, humiliation, intimidation, or discrimination. This policy applies to all STSA activities, including on-site meetings, virtual meetings, abstract selection, award recipient selection, leadership selection, membership selection and all other STSA activities.

In order to keep this commitment, STSA maintains a strict policy of prohibiting unlawful harassment, intimidation, or humiliation of any kind, including sexual harassment, and harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, sex, age, physical or mental disability, or any other characteristics protected by federal, state, or local discrimination laws. With specific regard to sexual harassment, this includes but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This policy applies to all volunteers, members, staff assigned to STSA or affiliates who engage in unlawful harassment in matters associated with the organization.

If at any time an employee assigned to STSA or a member has a concern regarding conduct that could constitute unlawful harassment or intimidation of any kind, including sexual harassment, and harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, sex, age, physical or mental disability by another person acting on behalf of STSA, the employee or member is urged to promptly report the matter to the Executive Director or the President. The Executive Director or the President will investigate the matter and share the results of the related investigation with the STSA Executive Council.

If management is unresponsive, if the complainant believes management will be unresponsive, or if management is itself the subject of the concern, the employee or member should contact the STSA Council Chair directly to report his or her concerns.

These matters may be reported anonymously. However, because of the need to investigate the report, correct a problem, or prevent future problems, STSA cannot promise complete confidentiality. It is illegal for STSA to punish the complainant in any manner whatsoever. No punishment – including firing, demotion, suspension, harassment, failure to consider the employee for promotion, or any other kind of discrimination – is allowed in response to the notice of alleged impropriety.

STSA supports these core principles:

  • Sexual harassment and gender inequity have no place in health care.
  • Every health care staff member should have equal opportunities and support, and should be compensated fairly.
  • To address a problem, it is necessary to understand its scope and impact.
  • STSA is committed to tracking and measuring sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination within the organization, and will take steps to respond to issues and prevent them from happening in the future.

As a condition of STSA membership and leadership appointment, members and leaders agree to comply with the STSA Code of Ethics, which mandates the highest level of professional deportment in all interpersonal interactions.