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Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee

Chair Kathleen M. Akgun, MD, MS, ATSF West Haven, CT
Vice Chair Leonard Sicilian, MD Boston, MA
Vice Chair Sarah Beesley, MD, MSc Salt Lake City, UT
Committee Member Alison E. Turnbull, DVM, MPH, PhD Baltimore, MD
Committee Member - Ad-hoc Expert Andrej Michalsen, MD, MPH Ueberlingen, Germany, Germany
Committee Member Anne E. Holland, PT, PhD Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Committee Member Breanna D. Hetland, PhD, RN Omaha, NE
Committee Member Elizabeth Sonntag, MD Richmond, VA
Committee Member Erin S. DeMartino, MD Rochester, MN
Committee Member James K. O'Brien, MD Denver, CO
Committee Member - Ad-hoc Expert Margaret A. Carno, PhD, MBA, RN, CPNP, ATSF Rochester, NY
Committee Member Matthew F. Griffith, MD, MPH Aurora, CO
Committee Member Rohan A. Thompson, MD Columbus, OH
Committee Member William J. Ehlenbach, MSc, MD Madison, WI
Staff Shane McDermott New York, NY
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 conflicts of interest. Its goal is to ensure that the ATS is ethical in conduct and effective in advocacy on ethical issues important to 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 of its 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, 2021-2022:
1. Improve ATS resources for members on issues of ethical interest in pulmonary medicine, critical care, and sleep medicine, by:
A. Expanding online offerings that include a series of podcasts and webinars and development of an online curriculum. Collaborate with relevant committees and staff such as Communications and Education.
B. Increasing the inclusion of clinical ethics and conflict of interest topics within International Conference sessions and other ATS educational activities.
C. Recommending and contributing to a clinical ethics series in ATS journals such as ATS Scholar. Integrate with Committee podcasts and/or present monthly case studies.
D. Serving as a resource to the Executive Committee, Board, assemblies, committees, chapters, individual members, and staff on matters of clinical and organizational ethics.

2. Improve the utilization and availability of ATS guidelines and statements that address biomedical ethics issues, by:
A. Encouraging and assisting developers of ATS guidelines and other documents to address relevant clinical ethics issues.
B. Identifying on an ongoing basis any ATS documents that need updating to address relevant ethical issues. Provide suggestions and assistance to developers, Document Development Committee and Documents Editor.

3. Oversee and improve implementation of ATS policies and procedures for managing conflicts of interest (COI), by:
A. Assessing and improving on an ongoing basis the systems used for online COI disclosure, review and data management. Assist the Education Committee in maintaining compliance with requirements for ACCME accreditation and maintenance of certification.
B. Assessing and improving on an ongoing basis the procedures used to inform ATS CME audiences, the readers of ATS documents and journals, and the public of the disclosures of presenters, authors, and ATS leaders respectively. Provide recommendations and assistance to the Education Committee, Documents Development Committee, Publication Policy Committee and Journal Editors, and other stakeholders.
C. Developing on an ongoing basis "case law" and case studies to assist members in applying COI policies to specific situations. Adjudicate the application of ATS COI policies when necessary.
D. Implementing and assessing on an ongoing basis 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.