In their capacity as leaders of AMIA, all individuals have an obligation to make decisions and conduct affairs of the organization based upon the desire to promote AMIA and its mission. The term “leaders” is used to refer to three groups; (1) AMIA employees (2) members of the board of directors, committee chairs, task force chairs, and general committee members when those particular committees are empowered or charged with making policy or ethics recommendations (also referred to as agents), and (3) committee members (excluding the policy and ethics committees covered above as agents) and elected working group leaders.
AMIA employees are expected to devote their primary professional loyalty, time, and energy to AMIA's goals and objectives. External activities conducted by AMIA employees should be of such nature as to improve the goals and objectives of AMIA and to avoid any activity that might harm those goals.
Board members, committee chairs, task force chairs, and members of policy-setting groups (also known as agents) must live up to their public trust, which they do so by exercising reasonable care in their oversight of the organization. The board's legal obligations depend on the actions of its individual members to meet standards of personal conduct on behalf of their organization known as the duty of care, the duty of obedience, and the duty of loyalty. The board and agents have an obligation to understand and implement this conflict of interest policy and adopt procedures in accordance with it.
AMIA Committee Members and Elected Leaders
AMIA's other leaders are expected to serve their leadership term for the benefit of AMIA which can only be achieved by assuring that decisions are made in an environment where conflicts are managed appropriately.
Conflicts of Interest
A real or apparent conflict of interest may arise when a leader has some other interest that might suggest divided loyalty on the part of the leader between obligations to AMIA, on one hand, and to some other organization or cause, on the other. There is no monetary threshold for a COI. The AMIA COI policies extend to relationship that a spouse, domestic partner, parent or child of an affected individual.
Conflicts of Commitment
While financial conflicts of interest often receive the greatest attention, other kinds of conflicts pose equally serious risks to objectivity. Conflicts of commitment are usually not financial and do not generally involve gifts or other tangible benefits. A leader has a conflict of commitment if s/he has or believes one has duties or obligations to more than one entity, goal, or outcome; or has personal, social, political, or professional hopes for a particular outcome or result. The proper response to conflicts of commitment is similar to or the same as that for conflicts of interest--management of the conflict by disclosure, recusal, or elimination of the conflict.
Conflicts of Conscience
A conflict of conscience might arise when an AMIA leader has personal, social, moral or political beliefs, or professional hopes for a particular outcome or result, that diverge from official AMIA positions or positions under consideration. Conflicts of conscience can arise when one’s relationships, social, moral or political views are related to one’s AMIA duties. The proper response to conflicts of conscience is similar to or the same as that for conflicts of interest and commitment – management of the conflict by disclosure, recusal, or elimination of the conflict.
While we have defined three sub-types of conflicts, for the ease of discussion in this document, “Conflict of Interest” (or “COI” or “Conflicts”) will often be used to reference all types of conflict (e.g. Conflict of Interest Disclosure form will be used to report all types of conflict; COI Panel reviews all Conflicts, etc.).
Self-Disclosure Expectations and Process
In order to proactively address any potential conflicts of interest, each leader is required to annually complete and submit a disclosure form. The leader also must update the disclosure form if any material changes or additions to the submitted information arise during the course of the year. The leader is encouraged to disclose a relationship if there is any uncertainty as to whether the relationship should be disclosed.
Leaders must indicate how disclosed conflicts will be managed. Disclosures are published in the members only section of the AMIA website allowing all AMIA members to review the COI disclosures of all leaders.