Committee spotlight

The Committee Spotlight was created to share the important work of our many volunteers whose time, effort, talent, and experience help the ACR/ARHP committees continue to have great impact and effect change in the field of rheumatology. Throughout the year, committees and their current priorities will be highlighted.

Learn more about all of the committees and see how you can get involved.

Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest Update

October 2017
Jane S. Kang, MD, MS, Chair

The Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee addresses and responds to ethical matters pertaining to the College and its officers, directors, and members. The committee is also responsible for periodically reviewing the ACR Code of Ethics and other relevant policies, and increasing ethics education for our fellow members.

Review and Update ACR Code of Ethics

In order to meet the changing needs of the ACR membership and the healthcare environment, the Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest regularly reviews the ACR’s policies regarding ethics and conflict of interest and makes recommendations for modification as needed. In 2016, the American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Ethics was updated, a result of the first comprehensive review of the code in more than half a century, making this year the perfect time to review the ACR Code of Ethics. As a result of this review, the ACR Code was updated to include more specificity for ethical concepts pertinent to the principles of professional conduct, such as more detailed, aspirational guidelines for research ethics.

Review  ACR Disciplinary Procedures

The committee reviewed and made recommendations for modifications to the ACR Disciplinary Procedures to provide more clarity and transparency to the disciplinary procedures process.

Ethics Forum in The Rheumatologist

Every January, April, July, and October, one of our committee members, and occasionally a special projects volunteer, presents a case and gives a balanced discussion of the ethical considerations.

Our next Ethics Forum article will be published in late October, “A Physician’s Medical Error and the Patient’s Right to Know,” written by Sian Yik Lim, MD, and Marcy B. Bolster, MD. Prior Ethics Forums from this year have addressed other thought-provoking ethical issues:

  • January 2017: “Ethical Challenges Arise for Rheumatologists Pressed to See Patients of High Social, Professional Standing Before Others,” by Karen Stellpflug, MD
  • April 2017: “Teach Rheumatology Fellows to Use Good Judgment in Pharmaceutical Company Interactions,” by Arundathi Jayatilleke, MD, MS
  • July 2017: “Facebook Friend Request from Patient Raises Concern for Rheumatologist,” by Isabelle Amigues, MD and Paul Sufka, MD

Ethics Session at 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting

The committee will submit a proposal for an ethics session at the 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Chicago. Recently, our committee members and special projects volunteers discussed important and compelling ethical considerations that rheumatologists face in practice, which will be addressed in our proposed ethics session. We are hoping to have an interactive, engaging ethics session that will be of interest for everyone.