Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee

Staff John Harmon New York, NY

The Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee recommends to the Board policies for addressing biomedical ethical issues as well as organizational ethical issues, including mitigation of member and organizational conflicts of interest and ATS activities affected by public policies perceived to cause ethical harm to members, their patients, and the communities they serve. The goal is to ensure that the ATS is ethical in conduct and effective in advocacy on ethical issues affecting members and the patients we serve. The Committee monitors relevant policies of other societies and reviews recommendations from healthcare experts, ethicists, and other resources to maintain the professional standing and integrity of the Society in all affairs. In addition, it serves as a resource to review issues of ethics and conflict of interest for the ATS and advises the ATS President, Executive Committee, assemblies and other relevant committees on rapidly emerging issues related to biomedical and organizational ethics, including conflict of interest.

Benchmarks, 2023-2024:

1. Advise and assist the Executive Committee and other ATS stakeholders, such as the Board of Directors, other president-appointed committees, chapters, individual members, and staff in responding to matters of bioethics (i.e., clinical or research related) and organizational ethics (such as the mitigation of member and organizational conflicts of interest, compliance with the policy on professionalism and ethical conduct, and ATS activities affected by public policies perceived to cause ethical harm to members, their patients, and the communities they serve).

2. Improve ATS resources for members on issues of ethical concern in pulmonary medicine, critical care, and sleep medicine, by:
A. Identifying and promoting important resources of the ATS and other sources, such as articles and other online information, available to assist members in addressing bioethical issues.
B. Contributing to the development and review of new ATS resources relevant to bioethical ethics issues. On an ongoing basis, recommend to the Learning Council and its staff topics on bioethical issues that are, or are expected to be, of particular concern to members, and worthy of consideration for use in ATS educational initiatives and resources.
C. Contributing to the inclusion of topics related to bioethics, professionalism and ethical conduct, and conflict of interest within International Conference sessions and other ATS educational programs, by proposing or participating in the development of sessions and conducting outreach to Assembly program committees, the International Conference Committee, chapters, and staff, to suggest member needs and promote the availability of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee members as a resource.
D. Advising and assisting the Documents Development and Implementation Committee, Documents Editor, and their staff, in the promotion and development of clinical practice guidelines and other official documents of importance to biomedical ethics matters.
E. Advising and assisting the Journals editors and staff in addressing matters of importance to readers on biomedical ethics matters, such as by participation in a clinical ethics series or other initiatives.

3. Oversee and improve the implementation and adjudication of ATS policies and procedures for managing conflicts of interest (COI), by:
A. Assessing and contributing to the implementation and use of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) Convey COI system as the means of online COI disclosure, review, and data management for official ATS roles and activities, with particular attention to compliance with requirements of the Accreditation Council for Medical Education (ACCME) and maintenance of certification.
B. Improving procedures and resources used for ATS review of identified COI of members and others, and for informing ATS CME audiences, the readers of ATS documents and journals, and the public of the disclosures of presenters, authors, and ATS leaders, respectively.
C. Advising staff and other key stakeholders in the application and adjudication of ATS COI policies.

4. Implement and assess the Committee's role in the investigation and adjudication of matters of professionalism and ethical conduct in ATS activities, including sexual harassment, as assigned to the Committee by ATS policies and charges.

5. Advise and assist the ATS Awards Committee in the review of candidates for ATS Respiratory Health Awards for compliance with ATS policies on professionalism and ethical conduct and conflicts of interest.

6. Nominate a diverse slate of candidates for ATS Respiratory Health Awards.

7. The committee will be responsible for reviewing content it has previously posted to the ATS website to determine if it should be updated and moved to the new site or archived/deleted. Using parameters established by the ATS Digital Content Committee as a guideline, committee members will make necessary modifications to ensure the content is accurate and conforms with established ATS standards. Reviews are to be completed by December 1, 2023.