AACAP's Operating Principles for Extramural Support of AACAP Meetings and Related Activities
Bennett L. Leventhal, M.D., AACAP Member Meeting Manager and Deputy Program Chair
AACAP has been a leader in managing disclosures and potential conflicts of interest that can and do interfere with objective conduct of science and clinical practice. By affirmatively developing and using guidelines to govern extramural support for AACAP meetings and the presentations of meeting participants, we are giving meeting attendees the information necessary to make decisions about the nature of scientific and clinical material available at the AACAP meetings. For more than six years, the AACAP has managed its meetings under the Operating Principles for Extramural Support. The Principles represent a dynamic process designed to serve our patients and profession, and maintain our scientific and clinical integrity. As a result, your awareness and participation are essential to their success. We hope you will take pride in our Principles and your participation in the process.
It has long been important to the AACAP and the Program Committee, as we develop and present our meetings, to keep content and presentations independent from sources of funding or other support. In so doing, we have been able to maintain the integrity of the meetings. In order to codify its intentions and processes for separating content from financial support and to facilitate the fullest transparency and disclosure, in 2003, the AACAP developed the Operating Principles for Extramural Support of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Meetings and Related Activities. These operating principles provide the framework through which members of AACAP, AACAP meeting attendees, and AACAP meeting supporters can preserve the form and substance of AACAP high quality scientific and educational programming in the context of full financial disclosure. As part of the submission process and registration for the meeting, each presenter and other attendees must agree to read and abide by these principles.
However, the Principles are only as good as those of us who adhere to them and assure that their colleagues do the same. This must begin with the AACAP membership as it is our profession and professional association that are truly at risk if we fail to meet our stated responsibilities. AACAP membership can assist us in our collective to assure honesty and integrity in our meetings as well as related scientific and clinical activities by becoming familiar with the Operating Principles and monitoring adherence to them.
While the Principles is an extensive document that covers many details related to the Annual Meeting, some of the most critical points are:
- Commercial enterprises (including pharmaceutical companies) and other entities related to the AACAP Annual Meeting, agree to not have independent presentations during the week of the Annual Meeting at the host hotel or elsewhere in the meeting city.
- No corporate logos may be displayed outside the exhibit hall.
- No filming or photography of meeting attendees is permitted without prior written approval by AACAP.
- No press conferences or briefings may be held prior to presentations at AACAP meetings nor can sponsors represent AACAP meeting content without specific written permission from AACAP.
- Companies may not send out any pre-meeting mailings or use hotel door drops.
- Companies may not contact meeting attendees before the meeting to promote attendance at sponsored events.
We strongly encourage you to review the Principles. When you register for the AACAP meetings, you agree to abide by these principles and not participate in forbidden activities. The Principles apply to all of AACAP members and meeting attendees. If you learn about an activity that you think might be in conflict with AACAP's Operating Principles, please contact Heidi Fordi, at 202.966.7300, ext. 102 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Each potential violation of the Operating Principles has been and will be carefully investigated. And, disciplinary actions, including banning from participation in the Annual Meeting has occurred. After all, the Operating Principles are only as good as the level to which we adhere to them.
In addition to the Operating Principles, AACAP's transparency portal on our Web site (www.aacap.org/cs/root/AACAP.Transparency) provides expanded information on our commitment to transparency issues. We encourage you to visit the portal and learn more about our rigorous and comprehensive actions on these topics.
In this time of our own careful attention to transparency, disclosure, and integrity, you should be proud to have been at the vanguard of setting and maintaining principles and guidelines for behavior. We hope that you will continue to support our collective effort. Thank you for taking this matter seriously. It is your attention to these details that make us stronger and leaders in the ethical practice of medicine.