Privacy Policy

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is committed to protecting the privacy of its members and customers. The AAFP maintains safeguards to store and secure information about its members and customers. The safeguards may be physical, electronic, or procedural. This Privacy Policy (“Policy”) describes: (i) how the AAFP collects information from its websites and through your other voluntary interactions with the AAFP (e.g., subscription to an AAFP publication, communication with the AAFP Contact Center, purchase of an AAFP product, application for AAFP membership, registration to an AAFP event, participation in a member survey); and (ii) how the AAFP uses this information. With respect to websites, please note that this Policy applies only to the AAFP’s websites and not to the websites of unrelated third-party companies or organizations to which the AAFP provides links, or to any software that may be downloaded from the AAFP’s websites.

By visiting the AAFP’s websites (i.e., www.aafp.org, familydoctor.org, www.graham-center.org), becoming a member or customer, or otherwise voluntarily submitting information to the AAFP, you agree to this Policy. The AAFP reserves the right to make changes to this Policy at any time; in such case, the AAFP will post a notice that this Policy has been modified by revising the “Last updated” date at the bottom of this page.

What information does the AAFP collect?

The AAFP collects two types of information: (1) non-personally identifiable information for everyone who visits its websites; and (2) personally identifiable information for members, registered website users, and anyone who purchases or requests products, services, or information.

Non-personally identifiable information

The AAFP employs cookies to collect information about all visitors to AAFP websites, including pages viewed and the order visited, terms used in searching AAFP websites, and products investigated or purchased. The AAFP uses cookies to offer greater functionality, and the information generated from these cookies is used to help determine which services are most important and to guide editorial and business decisions.

Users who do not desire the functionality offered by cookies may disable cookie functionality in their browsers or through settings on their mobile devices; however, users who do so may not be able to use some features of AAFP websites. For example, a registered user must have cookies enabled in order to access the registered-user sections of the AAFP websites.

For system administration and troubleshooting, the AAFP also logs the originating Internet Protocol (IP) address, the browser and operating system used, and information about your individual use, such as time and date of visits, duration of sessions, and other similar usage or system data.

The AAFP collects this non-personally identifiable information from users who are browsing the public areas of AAFP websites. Users of the public areas of AAFP websites browse anonymously; however, once a user registers and logs in as a member/customer, subsequent visits to public areas of AAFP websites are no longer anonymous. The AAFP does not review the use of publicly accessible areas of AAFP websites by individual users unless this information will assist in troubleshooting individual problems or in certain cases in conjunction with personally identifiable information (as set forth below under “How does the AAFP use information collected?”). The AAFP will also review this information if a user's account is associated with: (i) attempts to violate the security of AAFP computer networks; (ii) activity that degrades the performance of AAFP websites; or (iii) activity that might be related to copyright or other violations.

Personally identifiable information

In addition to the non-personally identifiable items listed above, the AAFP records the user’s name and member/customer ID number for all registered users (i.e., users who have logged into a password-protected area of an AAFP website). In the course of using AAFP websites, a user may be asked to provide personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address, zip code, email address, telephone number, fax number, credit card payment information) in order to purchase a product, participate in an AAFP activity, subscribe to a journal, request information, or otherwise interact with the AAFP. In addition, users may be asked to update their contact information.

The AAFP also collects email addresses voluntarily provided via membership applications and renewals, website registrations, product purchases, member surveys, downloads of certain materials, email communication sign-ups, and comments made in discussion threads on AAFP websites.

Important note for AAFP members: The AAFP also maintains a membership database. The information in this database (e.g., National Provider Identifier [NPI] numbers; demographic information, such as education and specialty) is drawn from membership applications, dues payment forms, subscriptions, product orders, continuing medical education (CME) reporting, public databases, member surveys, and other correspondence between the AAFP and its members or chapters.

Credit card information: The AAFP does not disclose the credit card account information or activity of its customers. When members and customers pay using their credit cards, the AAFP submits this information encrypted to obtain payment from the appropriate clearing house. If credit card numbers are stored in AAFP databases, they are encrypted.

How does the AAFP use information collected?

The AAFP uses the information it collects to better serve members, customers, and visitors to the AAFP websites in the following ways:

AAFP services and products

The AAFP uses information collected to improve its web content, to respond to visitor needs and preferences, and to develop new products and services. For example, the AAFP will combine non-personally identifiable information (e.g., data stored in cookies, user’s IP address) with personally identifiable information (e.g., user’s name, member/customer ID, email address) to offer products and services that may be of specific interest to the user.

Disclosure to third parties

The AAFP makes member contact information available in its online membership directory only to other members of the AAFP who have verified their membership status before entering the online membership directory. The AAFP may also make your contact information and/or other personally identifiable information publicly available in connection with AAFP programs and events or for other purposes, as permitted by you. The AAFP also shares membership, demographic, CME, and/or contact information with organizations such as the following: AAFP chapters; the AAFP Foundation; FamMedPAC; TransforMED, LLC; AAFP Insurance Services, Inc.; and the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).

The AAFP also may share CME activity participation records with medical licensing boards (which may include CME reporting agents and/or contractors of those boards). Such records may include, but not be limited to: the member’s name and license number; the name and date of the CME activity; and the number of credits received for participation in the CME activity. In connection with the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, CME attendees’ names, addresses, license numbers, states of licensure, and any transfers of value may be shared with the CME activities’ funders.

The AAFP also may disclose limited personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address, email address, NPI number, purchase information) to outside service providers that help the AAFP offer products, services, and information. For example, the AAFP may work with outside service providers to: (i) distribute emails or make telephone solicitations; (ii) assist with direct marketing, customize journal advertisements, and collect data; (iii) help detect and prevent fraud; and (iv) otherwise assist the AAFP in enhancing its products, services, and other offerings, and serving its members and customers. The AAFP requires that these outside service providers agree to keep confidential all such information and to use it for the purposes designated by the AAFP.

Like many other organizations, the AAFP may use outside marketing companies to place and monitor advertisements or links on AAFP websites and on other websites. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g., links clicked on during a visit, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked on or scrolled over) and personally identifiable information (e.g., NPI number) during your visits to AAFP websites and other websites in order to provide advertisements about products and services more likely to be of interest to you. These companies typically use a cookie or a third-party web beacon to collect this information. The AAFP is not responsible for the collection or use of information by such marketing companies or third-party websites.

On occasion, the AAFP also may provide personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address, demographic information) to an outside service provider in order to rent mailing lists of the AAFP’s members to third parties that offer their own CME, products, or services deemed of interest to the clinical or socioeconomic practice of medicine. These third parties only receive names and addresses; they do not receive phone numbers, fax numbers, demographic information, or email addresses.

Emails

Once someone voluntarily provides an email address, the AAFP assumes it has permission to email that person with questions, transaction follow-up, and advertisements, and to send bulk email messages. The AAFP collects data to track the effectiveness of emails, which enables the AAFP to better serve its audiences.

As noted earlier, there are instances in which the AAFP will share email addresses of its members and customers with outside service providers who are under an obligation of confidentiality; however, the AAFP does not sell the email addresses of its members and customers.

Disclosure required by law or emergency circumstances

The AAFP may release personal information to third parties in order to comply with legal requirements.

External relationships

The AAFP has agreements with other organizations that offer products and services through AAFP websites or affiliate agreements. When the user interacts with these organizations on the organizations’ websites, whether as a result of following links from an AAFP website, within an AAFP email, or otherwise, different rules and privacy policies may apply. Since the AAFP does not control the collection of information or the use of information collected via these other organizations’ websites, the AAFP is not responsible for their privacy practices, security, or content.

Opting out

While the AAFP hopes that the information in this Policy helps you understand how the AAFP uses and protects your information to provide you with better service, you may still choose not to receive information from the AAFP.

Email opt-out

All of the AAFP’s marketing emails and some of its informational emails include a link for unsubscribing. Registered users on the AAFP’s websites also can log in to the “My Account” section to change their email preferences. The AAFP will apply your unsubscribe request as quickly as possible. However, because there may be email campaigns already in progress, you may continue to receive emails from the AAFP for a few days. The AAFP requires up to 10 days to apply your unsubscribe request. After this time, you should no longer receive marketing or informational emails from the AAFP. You may still receive emails regarding your transactions (e.g., confirmation that you have placed an order)

Direct email opt-out

To discontinue receipt of the AAFP’s catalogs and direct mail promotions, please call the AAFP Contact Center at (800) 274-2237. Your request will be processed as quickly as possible. However, due to mailing lead times, it is possible that you may receive a few more mailings from the AAFP. After six to eight weeks, you should no longer receive mailings from the AAFP.

For questions or concerns about this Policy, please contact privacy@aafp.org.

Last updated: January 23, 2014