Policies and Disclosures

Below are CME and disclosure policies related to the American College of Rheumatology's educational activities.

ACR Educational Meeting Code of Conduct

Purpose
ACR educational activities provide a collaborative and constructive learning environment for clinicians, researchers and members of industry to learn, discuss and develop the latest advancements in the field of rheumatology. Such an environment cannot be created without open-mindedness and respect. ACR is committed, and expects its staff, guests and participants to be committed, to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status. ACR attendees, media, speakers, volunteers, venue staff, sponsors or exhibitor, or the employees, subcontractors or agents are expected to further this goal and ensure a safe and positive conference experience for everyone. This Code of Conduct outlines ACR’s expectations for anyone in attendance or contributing to an ACR meeting or educational activity, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior.

Principles

  • Be professional, considerate, respectful of and collaborative with everyone;
  • Respect individuals’ personal space and expectation of privacy;
  • Refrain from demeaning, disruptive or discriminatory behavior and speech;
  • Support, and do not act in contravention of, others’ right to participate, as a teacher or a learner;
  • Honor and abide by confidentiality requests by speakers and other participants; and
  • Be mindful of events around you, and alert ACR staff of any situation which may be dangerous or likely to cause someone distress.

Unacceptable Conduct
Unacceptable behavior includes conduct or language that is intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogative or demeaning towards another individual or a group of individuals. Discussion of opposing or different points of view (including political views, where appropriate) is encouraged, but should be done in a manner that is respectful and avoids personal attacks.  ACR considers unacceptable conduct to include:

  • Gestures, comments (whether verbal, written or otherwise), or other conduct intended to target someone or a group of people’s race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in a negative or demeaning manner;
  • Inappropriate, unwelcome or unwanted physical contact;
  • Comments, actions or gestures of a sexual nature, including the inappropriate (e.g., non-clinical) use of nudity or sexual images;
  • Stalking;
  • Conduct intended to intimidate or has the effect of being intimidating;
  • Physical or verbal abuse, including without limitation, threats, pushing, shoving, or the use of any physical force against another person;
  • Conduct which is abusive, hostile or demeaning to other speakers or participants;
  • Any conduct which creates a disturbance, and which may be considered dangerous, or creates the reasonable apprehension of danger, in ACR’s sole discretion;
  • Public intoxication; or
  • Taking or distribution of (including posting to online media sources) any photographs or videos without the consent of every person who can be seen (including in the background) or heard audibly in such recordings, or the failure to honor a good faith request from ACR staff to remove an offending image or video taken in violation of this Code of Conduct.

Reporting Violations
All actual or suspected violations of the ACR Code of Conduct should be reported to ACR promptly using our name-optional reporting form or to the attention of any ACR staff member at the event. You are encouraged to share as much information as you can to help us conduct a thorough investigation of the onsite incident.

Report a Violation

Enforcement Action
Unacceptable conduct will not be tolerated at any ACR meeting or educational event, whether by ACR attendees, media, speakers, volunteers, venue staff, sponsors or exhibitors, or the employees, subcontractors or agents of any of the foregoing.

Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediate.

ACR reserves the right to remove, or prohibit entry or re-entry to anyone who violates this Code of Conduct for all or part of the event.  Violators of this Code of Conduct may also be prohibited from attending or participating in future ACR events. Speakers who are found to be in violation of this Code of Conduct may be prohibited from providing a planned presentation, and/or precluded from future opportunities to speak at ACR events. In the event of exclusion due to a violation of this Code of Conduct, ACR may deny a refund of any registration fees paid by such offender for the subject event in its sole discretion.

ACR Code of Conduct: COVID-19 Addendum

In addition, with respect to in-person meetings during such time as the COVID-19 pandemic (as declared by the World Health Organization) continues, ACR expects that anyone in attendance or contributing to an ACR meeting or educational activity (the “Event”):

  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving at the Event. ACR considers an individual as fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose in a 2-dose vaccine series (e.g. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Oxford/AstraZeneca) or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine (e.g. Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine). ACR reserves the right to request verification of compliance with its vaccine requirement from all participants.
  • Not attend the Event if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including without limitation, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, dry cough, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival or at any point during the Event.
  • Isolate or quarantine while waiting for diagnostic test results or if diagnosed with or exposed to a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 while in attendance at the Event.
  • Promptly report a positive COVID-19 test result to ACR representatives. ACR, in its sole discretion, will notify participants of the positive test result but will not disclose your identity without your prior written consent.
  • Follow all health and safety protocols as required by the facility and ACR. These precautions may include, but are not limited to, engaging in appropriate social distancing, minimizing face touching, frequently washing my hands and avoiding high-risk environments such as overcrowded bars or restaurants.
  • Wear appropriate mask or facial covering, as recommend (or if required) by ACR, the Center for Disease Control and local and state public health departments, including while indoors regardless of vaccination status. Your mask or facial covering must cover your nose and mouth at all times, and may be surgical or medical grade (e.g. N95, KN95).

2022 COVID-19 Compliance Attestation, Waiver and Release

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. As a result, federal, state, and local governments and federal and state health agencies recommend social distancing and increased personal protection efforts, including frequent hand washing and wearing face coverings at all times outside the home.

The American College of Rheumatology (“ACR”) has put in place reasonable precautionary measures aimed at preventing or reducing the spread of COVID-19 among participants of the Winter Rheumatology Symposium (the “Event”), including requiring that all participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, given the nature of the virus, the ACR cannot guarantee that you (or those with whom you come into close contact) will not become infected with COVID-19. Further, attending the Event (including your travel to and from such Event) could increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.

By registering for and attending the Event:
You certify, represent and warrant that you are or will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving at the Event. ACR considers an individual as fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose in a 2-dose vaccine series (e.g. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Oxford/AstraZeneca) or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine (e.g. Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine). You acknowledge that ACR reserves the right to request verification of your compliance with its vaccine requirement.

You agree to comply with the ACR Code of Conduct including the COVID-19 Addendum.

You acknowledge the contagious nature of COVID-19 and voluntarily assume all risk that you may be exposed to or infected by COVID-19 and that such exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, permanent disability, and death to you or to those with whom you come into close contact.

You further acknowledge and agree to accept sole responsibility for any injuries (including, but not limited to, personal injury, disability, and death, illnesses, damages, losses, claims, causes of action, liabilities, judgments, costs and expense, of any sort or kind, including all costs related to COVID-19 virus prevention and mitigation, including testing, medical care, extended hotel stays, or changes in travel arrangements), that may arise for or to you or to those with whom you come into close contact (including your household members) (“Claims”).

You hereby release, covenant not to sue, discharge, and hold harmless the ACR, its employees, agents, and representatives, of and from any Claims, including all liabilities, claims, actions, damages, costs or expenses of any kind arising out of or relating thereto.

You further understand and agree that this release includes any Claims based on the actions, omissions, or negligence of the ACR, its employees, agents, and representatives, whether a COVID-19 infection occurs before, during, or after participation in the Event.

If you cannot agree to or accept the foregoing, DO NOT ATTEND THE EVENT. Failure to agree to or abide by any of the foregoing may result in denial of entry or immediate expulsion from the Event, in ACR’s sole discretion, in addition to any and all remedies which may be available to the ACR, in equity or at law.

BY ATTENDING THE EVENT, YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE GIVING UP SUBSTANTIAL RIGHTS ON BEHALF OF YOURSELF, AND YOU HAVE SIGNED THIS AGREEMENT FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY WITHOUT INDUCEMENT, ASSURANCE OR GUARANTEE BEING MADE TO YOU.

Learner Bill of Rights

The ACR recognizes that as a lifelong learner who has chosen to engage in CME to identify or fill a gap in knowledge or skill; and to attain or enhance a desired competency you expect and deserve quality educational content. Therefore, the CME opportunities available through the ACR have and will continue to be developed to include:

Rigorously developed content that:

  • Responds to the needs of learners based on independent survey or other analyses;
  • Promotes improvements and/or quality in the delivery of healthcare;
  • Is scientifically rigorous, accurate and evidence-based;
  • Has been designed to meet the stated learning objectives;
  • Includes balanced and objective presentations free from commercial bias;
  • Is evaluated and assessed for its effectiveness in meeting the identified educational need.

Disclosure of:

  • All financial relationships with ineligible companies (within the prior 24 months) of all individuals involved in the development or presentation of activity content
  • Commercial support of the activity

A learning environment that:

  • Is based on adult learning principles that encourage the use of various modalities of knowledge transfer;
  • Supports learners’ abilities to meet their individual needs and respects their privacy in doing so;
  • Respects and attends to any special needs of our learners;
  • Is free of promotional, commercial and/or sales activities.

Accessibility

The ACR fully complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). If an ADA accommodation is required for participation in any ACR meeting or event, notify us using the event registration form and please provide a reliable method of contact for questions and/or follow-up.

For more on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, visit ADA.gov.

Needs Assessment

The educational needs of rheumatologists span the breadth and depth of the medical knowledge base of the specialty. For purposes of certification and maintenance of certification, the American Board of Internal Medicine Subspecialty Board on Rheumatology has defined several broad categories, with associated subtopics, in its examination blueprint.

Clinical content presented at ACR activities falling under the categories in the Blueprint and their subtopics are critical to the certification, ongoing competency and quality of care provided by physicians and health professionals to those with or at risk for arthritis and other rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

ACR’s CME Mission Statement >

Copyright and Intellectual Property

ACR educational activities are not public events. Information presented at these activities is for the education of attendees and/or purchasers as authorized by the ACR. Any materials or information displayed during these activities are the property of the ACR and the presenter and should not be photographed, copied, photocopied, transferred to electronic formats, reproduced or distributed without written permission of the ACR and the presenter.

Any use of ACR educational content for commercial purposes, which includes but is not limited to oral presentations, audiovisual materials used by speakers and/or program handouts without written consent from the ACR is prohibited. This policy applies before, during and after each activity. The ACR will enforce its intellectual property rights and penalize those who infringe upon it.

The names, insignias, logos and acronyms of the ACR, the ARP and the Foundation are proprietary marks. Use of these in any fashion, by any entity, for any purpose, is prohibited without the express written permission of the ACR.

Disclosure and Mitigation of Relevant Financial Relationships

It is the policy of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) to ensure that Accredited Continuing Education (ACE) activities are independent and free of commercial bias. To ensure educational content is objective, balanced, and guarantee content presented is in the best interest of its learners' and the public, the ACR requires that everyone in a position to control educational content disclose all financial relationships with ineligible companies within the prior 24 months. An ineligible company is one whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. Examples can be found at accme.org.

If there are identified relevant financial relationships, these must be mitigated, in accordance with the ACR’s policies regarding mitigation of relevant financial relationships, prior to the individual’s participation in the development or presentation of ACE content. Any individual who refuses to disclose all financial relationships will be disqualified from involvement in the development, management, presentation, or evaluation of the ACE activity. Disclosure information is made available to learners prior to the start of activity.

Faculty participating in an ACR-sponsored activity must disclose to the planning committee and audience all financial relationships with ineligible companies and the nature of financial or other relationship(s) with an ineligible company including, but not limited to:

  1. Advisor or review panel member
  2. Consultant
  3. Employee
  4. Officer or Board Member
  5. Grant/research support
  6. Speaker/honoraria, includes speakers' bureau, symposia, and expert witness
  7. Independent contractor
  8. Ownership interest
  9. Royalties
  10. Intellectual property/patents
  11. Stock options or bond holdings in a for-profit corporation or self-directed pension plan
  12. Other financial or material support

None: Has no relevant financial relationship(s) with ineligible companies to disclose.

See information about commercial support.

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