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Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics
Music-Thanatology Association International



100 Preamble



The purpose of the Code of Ethics of the Music-Thanatology Association International (MTAI) is to serve as a standard of conduct for members. It contains standards of ethical behavior for music-thanatologists, particularly when that conduct directly relates to the role and identity of the music-thanatologist.

The fundamental objective of the music-thanatologist is to lovingly serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the dying and their loved ones with prescriptively delivered music. Music-thanatologists have an obligation to act in ways that will merit the trust, confidence and respect of those they serve, healthcare professionals and the general public. Therefore, music-thanatologists should lead lives that embody an exemplary system of values and ethics.

This code does not undertake to define standards of professional conduct of members for purposes of civil liability. In becoming a member of the Association, one affirms this Code and holds oneself accountable to it. Membership implies agreement to participate with integrity in any process of the Association to hold oneself or other members accountable to this Code and to accept the Standards and judgments of the Association.


110 General Principles and Values

110.1 The Association and its Members shall demonstrate commitment to these values in relationships with members, those served, colleagues and through conduct in their professional roles.

110.11 The individual person possesses dignity and worth.

110.12 Inclusivity and diversity are foundational values in music-thanatology and are valued throughout the structures of the Association.


120 Ethical Standards for the Association

120.1 The Association shall promote integrity, competence, respect for the dignity of all persons, and collegiality among its members.

120.11 The Association shall admit to membership all qualified persons without discrimination - regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, religion, or faith group.

120.12 The Association shall work for the improvement and growth of music-thanatology according to its mission.

120.13 The Association shall, in conformity to its by-laws, provide structures and resources to maintain its Standards and promote its educational programs.

120.14 The Association shall follow its by-laws, policies, and processes in holding itself and its members accountable to its standards for competency and ethical behavior.

130 Ethical Standards for Members

130.1 Members shall treat all persons with dignity and respect.

130.11 Members shall serve all persons without discrimination regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability.

130.12 Members shall demonstrate respect for the opinions, beliefs, customs, practices and professional endeavors of other members, their colleagues, those they serve, and others with whom they have contact in their professional role.

130.13 Members shall be accountable for maintaining the integrity of their professional relationships. They will not use their professional position with, or knowledge of, another for personal gain. They shall refrain from emotional, financial, sexual or any other form of exploitation.

130.14 Members shall not condone or support unlawful discrimination against colleagues or others with whom they have contact in their professional role.

130.15 Members shall refrain from participating in any activity that demeans the credibility and dignity of the profession.

130.2 Members shall respect the privacy of all persons.

130.21 Members shall follow the policies of their employing institution regarding patient confidentiality, sharing private information about those whom they serve only according to those policies or as required by law.

130.22 Members shall refrain from relating experiences that expose the vulnerabilities of those served or their families to derision or ridicule.

130.23 Members shall seek to guard the identities of those served in any consultations, presentations or publications unless the person served, or their family if the person cannot give consent, has given the member written permission for disclosure of the relationship.

130.24 Members shall respect the private communications of colleagues unless to do so would violate the safety and well-being of another or be in conflict with the laws or policies of the state, an institution, or the Association.

130.3 Members shall conduct themselves with integrity in all their professional relationships including those whom they serve, their colleagues and the Association.

130.31 Members shall accurately represent their professional qualifications and affiliations.

130.32 Members shall be truthful in all forms of professional communication and avoid disseminating information that is false, misleading or deceptive.

130.33 Members shall maintain accurately and currently any patient records, financial accounts or other documents required in the course of their work.

130.34 Members shall conduct professional activities with honesty, integrity, respect, fairness and good faith in a manner that will reflect well upon the profession.

130.35 Members shall provide the Association immediate notice of any complaint of unethical conduct made against them in a civil, criminal, ecclesiastical, employment or another professional organization's forum. Members will provide the MTAI Leadership Council or designee, in a timely fashion any information they request regarding the investigation, adjudication, dismissal or settlement of such complaint. Failure to report or provide accurate, full and truthful information constitutes a violation of this Code. A finding of unethical conduct in one of these forums may lead to discipline within MTAI even if the event did not occur within the scope of the member's professional role or a situation over which MTAI would have jurisdiction.

130.36 Any member who has reasonable grounds to believe that another member has violated this Code has a duty to communicate such facts to the Leadership Council.

130.4 Members shall conform to the Association's expectations of competency.

130.42 Members shall pursue ongoing personal growth and professional development in the six areas of music-thanatology competency: professional, personal, musical, medical, clinical and thanatological.

130.43 Members shall make referrals or obtain consultations when in the best interests of those served and maintain interdisciplinary and interprofessional relationships to foster these practices.

130.5 Members shall conform to the Association's expectations of professional behavior.

130.51 Members shall aim to enhance the dignity and image of the profession through positive public information programs.

130.52 Members shall seek to represent the best interests of those whom they serve.

130.53 Members shall not knowingly use or permit others to use the member's services to secure unfair personal or professional advantage.

130.54 Members shall establish and maintain interprofessional relationships to foster partnerships and interdisciplinary cooperation.

130.55 members shall conduct both competitive and cooperative activities in ways that improve the image of the profession.

140 Grievance Procedure

140.1 In order to be processed by the Music-Thanatology Association International (MTAI), a complaint must be filed in writing to the Leadership Council (LC) of the MTAI within one year of the date of discovery of the alleged violation. The LC has the responsibility to form an Ethics Committee (which will choose a chairperson) of no fewer than three members none of whom are involved in the complaint, to look into incidents brought to its attention regardless of the informality of the information, provided the information can be documented or supported or may be a matter of public record.

140.2 The committee chairperson with the assistance of the committee members initially will determine whether the complaint is an ethical conflict that falls within the purview of the Ethics Committee and is potentially a violation of the Code of Ethics. If it is not, no action will be taken on the complaint and the committee chairperson may communicate this determination to the complainant. If it is, the committee chairperson may determine the appropriate course of action from the following two options:
A. Initiation of a grievance proceeding before the Ethics Committee;

B. Communication by the chairperson to the respondent, orally or in writing, counseling the respondent that, if the allegations are true, the allegations would constitute inappropriate behavior and the respondent should be mindful of the MTAI Code of Ethics. This option would be used only for complaints that do not, in the judgment of the committee, allege a material breach of the Code of Ethics.

140.3 If a grievance proceeding is initiated:
-- Specifics of the complaint will be sent to the respondent by certified mail or courier service. In such mailing, the Ethics Committee will inform the respondent that the grievance proceeding has been initiated and the respondent may respond directly to the Ethics Committee. The respondent also will be asked to cooperate with the Ethics Committee or their designees investigating the complaint.

-- Upon completion of the investigation, any designees outside the Ethics Committee shall present a report in writing to the Committee. In the absence of unusual circumstances, all designees are expected to complete the report and provide it to the committee within 60 days.

140.4 Upon the committee's receipt of the report, the committee shall review it and determine if the grievance procedure should continue. If the committee so determines, it shall schedule a hearing, which the respondent may attend at his or her option and at which the respondent may be represented by counsel. The hearing may be conducted by means of a telephone conference or other means determined by the committee. The respondent may submit written material in lieu of attendance at the hearing or as a supplement to hearing testimony, according to a schedule determined by the Ethics Committee.

140.5 The Committee shall make its written recommendation to the LC as to what action shall be taken and the reasons therefore. The LC shall make a decision, and a copy of the LC's decision will be mailed to the respondent by certified mail or courier service. In such mailing, the respondent will be notified that, within 30 days after the mail date of the LC's recommended decision, the respondent may file a written appeal of the decision with the LC.

140.6 If an appeal to the LC is filed timely, the MTAI President shall appoint an ad hoc committee consisting of three LC members not involved in the complaint, or three other members if an insufficient number of LC members are eligible to consider the appeal. In the event that the President is involved, this duty passes to the Vice-President, and then to the Secretary and Treasurer in turn. In event that all of the officers are involved, the task of assigning an ad hoc committee would fall to a past President, starting with the most recent. The ad hoc committee shall notify the respondent of the deadline for the submission of any written material supporting the appeal. The ad hoc committee shall have the power to affirm the decision of the LC or to impose lesser, but not greater, discipline.

140.7 The decision of the ad hoc committee shall be delivered to the respondent. The decision of the ad hoc committee is final.

140.8 No individual shall participate in these grievance proceedings on behalf of MTAI if he or she is in direct economic competition with the respondent or otherwise has a conflict of interest in the matter, unless such conflict is disclosed to and waived in writing by the respondent.

140.9 All information obtained, reviewed, discussed and otherwise used or developed in a grievance proceeding that is not otherwise publicly known, publicly available, or part of the public domain is considered to be privileged and strictly confidential information of the LC and Ethics Committee, and is not to be disclosed to anyone outside of the grievance proceeding except as required for the investigation, as determined by the Ethics Committee and the LC or as required by law; provided, however, that an individual's membership status is not confidential and may be made available to the public upon request.

MTAI Ethics Actions
1. Determination that the grievance complaint is invalid.
2. Dismissal of the grievance complaint.
3. Consultation: an educational communication with the respondent.
4. Censure: a stern reprimand based on the outcome of the grievance procedure, which does not suspend or terminate membership.
5. Suspension of membership, which may be for a specified minimum period of time or may be contingent on specified criteria.
6. Expulsion.



Created: July 31, 2010     Last updated: October 16, 2014