In accordance with the ideals and principles of the Physician Assistant profession, applicants to Physician Assistant programs are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner that demonstrates responsibility, integrity, honesty, respect, and good judgment. The Professional Code of Conduct provides a defined set of guidelines for applicant responsibilities and expected standards of performance and behavior.
Professional Code Of Conduct
- Act with honesty and integrity throughout the admissions process when interacting with school admissions officers, admissions committees, and CASPA staff. Each applicant is obligated to accurately represent themselves during the admissions process and to provide CASPA and the physician assistant programs with accurate, honest, and complete information. Applicants must not falsify information, including but not limited to falsifying transcripts or letters of recommendation, plagiarizing personal statements, and misrepresenting academic and professional achievement. Applicants must identify themselves correctly to all admissions and CASPA staff and should not inquire about an application claiming to be someone else. In addition, applicants must reveal information about any previous legal offenses.
- Communicate in a professional manner throughout the admissions process when interacting with CASPA staff and the admissions staff at designated physician assistant programs.
The applicant should use the highest professional courtesy when interacting with CASPA and PA admissions staff. It is unacceptable for an applicant to disparage the competence, knowledge, qualifications, or services of faculty and staff involved in the admissions process. It is inappropriate to imply in word, gesture, or deed that an application has been poorly managed or the applicant was mistreated by a staff member without tangible evidence. Offensive or threatening comments via e-mail or voice mail messages or any other form of verbal or nonverbal communication will not be tolerated. CASPA and PA admissions staff reserve the right to terminate any conversation should the staff member feel threatened. The use of foul language will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
- Be responsible and accountable for my actions and personally manage and respond to all matters related to my application.
Applicants to the physician assistant profession must demonstrate responsibility by taking ownership of all aspects related to the application process. Applicants are expected to review the application requirements of CASPA and the requirements of the physician assistant programs to which they apply. It is the applicant's responsibility to meet deadlines, provide information as requested, and follow the admissions process for each physician assistant program to which they apply. Applicants are also responsible for promptly correcting any errors or omissions identified in their file and for responding to all notifications in a timely manner. If an applicant has a question about the admissions process after exhausting all available online and printed resources, the applicant should contact CASPA or the appropriate physician assistant program's admissions office directly for clarification. CASPA and admissions staff will NOT discuss an application with an applicant's parent, spouse, relative, friend, or employer regardless of who submits the fee payment. The CASPA fee payment does not relieve applicants of the obligation to properly submit all requested data and application materials by the deadline. Applicants who have not been accepted may consult PA program admissions staff to learn how they may correct deficiencies in their application or academic performance or seek to learn more about admissions criteria for schools to which they may apply, but should remain respectful of decisions made by those involved in the admissions process.
Misconduct, as defined in the Professional Code of Conduct, and all forms of dishonesty, will not be tolerated during the application process. The CASPA Admissions Committee will determine whether an applicant has violated the Professional Code of Conduct and will report this to the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), who will confirm if a violation has occurred and whether sanctions should be imposed. Sanctions imposed by the physician assistant programs, PAEA, and the CASPA Admissions Committee can include, but are not limited to:
- Revocation of application
- Sharing documented conduct violations with the CASPA participating program(s) to which the applicant has applied to
- Sharing documented conduct violations with all CASPA participating programs
- Sharing documented conduct violations with other PA admissions committees whose programs are not members of CASPA
- Sharing documented conduct violations with other health professions
- Loss of privilege of applying to or entering the physician assistant profession
Any applicant found to have violated the Code of Conduct risks losing the privilege of applying to or entering the physician assistant profession. Documented conduct violations may be communicated to all CASPA participating programs as well as other health profession education associations and admissions committees. Once an applicant receives written notification they have violated the Professional Code of Conduct and sanctions have been imposed, PAEA will provide an opportunity to appeal the decision. Such appeal must be submitted in writing to PAEA within 10 business days of the notification to the applicant of the determined violation and sanctions. The appeal will be reviewed by a panel comprised of the PAEA Manager of Professional Affairs and Education, the CASPA Admissions Committee Chairperson, and the Liaison International CASPA Application Manager. Once the appeal is reviewed by the panel, one of the following decisions will be made:
- Uphold the original sanctions
- Revise the sanctions
- Repeal some or all sanctions
Upon reaching the decision, the appeal panel will send its decision to the applicant by email and certified US mail. In the event the applicant wants to pursue a secondary appeal, they may resubmit their appeal with any additional supporting documentation. The secondary appeal will be reviewed by PAEA's Associate Executive Director, Director of Professional Affairs and Education, and the Director of Application Services at Liaison International. This panel may either uphold or reverse the original decision regarding the sanctions to be imposed. The decision of the second review panel will be final. Any reversal of the violation will be communicated to all parties that may have been previously notified.