The USCAP’s mission is to provide pathologists with high quality continuing medical education (CME) at all levels of pathology practice, reinforce and update participants’ knowledge of pathology and pathologic mechanisms across the spectrum of human disease, and promote the translation of participants’ newly acquired knowledge into their practices. This mission is accomplished by a broad CME program that includes lectures, seminars, symposia, interactive courses, question and answer sessions, online courses and teaching modules on various topics, and other forums of intellectual and professional interest. Our CME participants engage in presentation, discussion, and critical evaluation of the scientific, technological, and methodological advances in human health and disease.
The USCAP’s zero-tolerance policy for any real or perceived commercial bias in educational or scientific programs is a fundamental principle that guides our interaction with industry. It is our goal to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest between the USCAP and industry.
USCAP policies are based upon guidelines established by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). CME Programs at the USCAP meetings are developed and implemented primarily by the USCAP’s Education Committee. Industry has no role in selecting program topics, faculty, or course directors, or influencing CME content. Industry influence or promotion of online CME activities also is prohibited. All speakers must disclose, prior to their presentation, if they or their spouse/partner have any significant financial or other relationship with any commercial entity, irrespective of their presentation topic. This applies to current relationships as well as those occurring in the previous twelve months. These disclosures are published in our meeting materials before the presentations. In addition, the CME Subcommittee reviews these disclosures and, if appropriate, works with presenter authors to resolve actual or potential conflict(s) of interest. Members of the USCAP Committees also must disclose such relationships prior to their participation in committee meetings where decisions regarding the USCAP educational programs are made.
The USCAP does not accept commercial support for any CME activity. However, the USCAP benefits from its partnership with corporate sponsors who provide financial support for a variety of non-CME activities and programs. The USCAP recognizes the concerns of our members and the public regarding industry involvement and the potential for commercial bias, overt or otherwise. The USCAP regularly reviews and revises its guidelines that govern industry participation to ensure that they are appropriate, comprehensive, and unambiguous. Commercial Exhibitors are required to sign letters of agreement explicitly stating that they have had no input into decision making regarding selection of educational programs, content, or faculty and that they understand and will adhere to USCAP guidelines.
The USCAP has revised its online evaluation forms to provide attendees with the opportunity to report any perceived commercial bias. The USCAP Education Committee and CME Subcommittee, together with the USCAP staff, investigate and act on any infractions or perceptions of bias in a rigorous and impartial manner. They may also seek further input on these or other ethical issues from the USCAP ad hoc Ethics Committee.
The USCAP values its partnership with industry; however, the USCAP will not compromise the independence and credibility of its scientific and CME programs through its relationships with corporate sponsors. Appropriate guidelines, as well as input from attendees, are essential to maintain our integrity as an organization and the confidence that pathology professionals have placed in the USCAP.
Questions related to these issues may be addressed to Dr. Bruce Smoller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Vice President of the USCAP
August 30, 2013
Approved by the USCAP CME Subcommittee
Brad Quade, Chair