The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is dedicated to pursuing its tripartite missions of research, education and patient care. The School is also committed to fostering a working environment that encourages and supports unfettered scientific inquiry and the free and open exchange of ideas that are the hallmarks of academic freedom. Consistent with these overriding and fundamental principles and commitments, the School of Medicine seeks to create an environment in which members of the community are civil and respectful of individuals and individual differences, that effectively and efficiently supports the missions of the School of Medicine, and that is free of behaviors that undermine the missions of the School.
University and its School of Medicine have in place policies, standards of conduct and procedures that govern the relationships between the School and the members of the community. For example, staff of the School of Medicine must abide by standards of conduct that are spelled out in the Johns Hopkins University Personnel Policies Manual and Staff Handbook; students at the School of Medicine are governed by the expectations of the School’s Guidelines for Conduct in Teacher/Learner Relationships and applicable conduct policies; faculty are expected to comply with the standards set forth in the Gold Book, the Procedures for Dealing with Issues of Professional Misconduct, the School’s Guidelines for Conduct in Teacher/Learner Relationships and other policies.
Consistent with the School’s missions, commitments and other policies, the purpose of this code is to set forth with more clarity the School’s expectations for the professional conduct of its faculty. This Code is intended to be consistent with and amplify existing University and School of Medicine policies, rather than supplant any policy.
Code of Professional Conduct
Consistent always with the missions, commitments to academic freedom and freedom of expression, and other policies of the University and its School of Medicine, faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are expected to:
- Treat all staff, students, trainees, volunteers, patients and their families, research subjects and their families, faculty, and health care professionals with respect, civility and fairness.
- Treat all staff, students, trainees, volunteers, patients and their families, research subjects and their families, faculty, and health care professionals without bias based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
- When in a supervisory role provide clear direction and timely feedback as well as constructive suggestions and opportunities for improvement or remediation when needed. Resolve conflicts and counsel colleagues and subordinates in a non-threatening, constructive and private manner.
- Teach, conduct research, and care for patients with competence, honesty and high ethical standards. Clinicians must not make provision of care contingent upon personal business relationships with patients, research subjects, or their families.
- Meet professional responsibilities.
- Familiarize themselves with and follow University and School of Medicine policies and procedures applicable to their work and require those reporting to them to do the same.
- Promptly address violations of institutional policies and cooperate with investigations and audits as called upon.
- Respect the privacy of all individuals and the confidentiality of information entrusted to them regarding individuals, The Johns Hopkins University, and The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
- Maintain all licenses and certifications required for their positions, participate in education and training as necessary to maintain professional competence, and be fit for duty during work time, including on-call responsibilities.
- Use University and School of Medicine facilities, equipment, supplies and resources, including telecommunications and information technology resources, responsibly and for legitimate University business.
Faculty must refrain from:
- Behavior that is disrespectful of others and unprofessional interpersonal behavior that interferes with the working and learning environment.
- Unwanted physical contact with others or threats of such contact.
- Sexual harassment or harassment based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability or sexual orientation. If a faculty member becomes involved in a romantic relationship with an individual who reports to her/him, s/he is expected to promptly disclose the relationship to her/his department director and institute director and to make an appropriate transfer of supervisory authority. If the department director is involved in a romantic relationship with an individual who reports to her/him, s/he must disclose to the Vice Dean for Faculty and, if applicable, to her/his institute director.
- Maintaining a supervisory role over a family member, including a domestic partner. If a faculty member becomes the supervisor of a member of her/his immediate family, s/he is expected to promptly disclose that fact to her/his department director and institute director (or to the Vice Dean for Faculty in the case of a department director) and to make an appropriate transfer of supervisory authority.
- Loss of civility that interferes with the working and learning environment (for example shouting, personal attacks or insults, throwing objects or other displays of temper).
- Discrimination in violation of University policy based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
- Requesting that individuals they supervise perform personal favors.
- Misappropriating University or School of Medicine property or excessive use of University or School of Medicine resources for personal business.
A partial list of additional policies with which faculty are expected to comply may be found online at:
Guidance for Dealing with Unprofessional Conduct; Addressing Violations
Inappropriate conduct or behavior that violates this Code of Professional Conduct can be addressed through the procedures referred to below. Often, though, the most effective way to handle a situation may be to address it immediately and non-confrontationally. An individual simply may be unaware that his/her behavior has offended someone and when alerted to the behavior will correct it appropriately if given the opportunity to do so in a way that is not threatening. The way to raise such an issue is to describe the behavior factually (“When you said…”), describe how the behavior made you feel (“I felt…”), and state that the behavior needs to stop or not be repeated (“Please, don’t do that again.”).
In some cases such a request is not successful, the person repeats the behavior, or an individual does not feel comfortable speaking directly with the person who has engaged in the behavior. Then it may be helpful to get informal advice and counsel from a supervisor, an administrator, a program director, or a division or department director or a Human Resources representative or an assistant, associate or vice dean. These individuals may offer additional suggestions for resolving the matter informally, such as, for example, speaking to the person, addressing the issue in a faculty or staff meeting, assisting in writing to the person whose behavior is of concern, or engaging in direct intervention to get the behavior to stop.
If no satisfactory resolution is reached after these discussions, or if the matter is very serious and warrants formal review and action, following are the procedures that will be used:
Violations of the Code of Professional Conduct by faculty will be handled in accordance with the School of Medicine Procedures for Dealing with Issues of Professional Misconduct.
Violations of other University and School of Medicine policies will be handled as applicable in accordance with:
Faculty with medical staff appointments
Faculty and postdoctoral trainees who also have appointments to the medical staff of The Johns Hopkins Hospital or Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center are reminded that their conduct is also governed by the policies and procedures of the hospitals. Conduct or behavior that violates School of Medicine or University policies may also constitute a violation of applicable hospital policies for which disciplinary action may also be taken under the applicable Medical Staff Bylaws.